“F*** walking on eggshells, I came to stomp,” – Eminem
Tuesday night – Eminem shook up America as he made his return to the BET Hip-Hop Awards and did so in grand fashion. Never one to shy away from uncomfortable conversations, controversy, dialogue or dialect, Eminem unleashed a near five minute freestyle in which the Detroit emcee took aim at President Donald Trump. Dropping barrage after barrage Eminem touches on a number of aspects and key themes that has surrounded Trump during his now near nine month presidency.
From a lyrical standpoint, it is vastly far from your fun loving Eminem with his hair dyed blonde and his Slim Shady alter-ego. Or even far from your Eminem who is not afraid to let his listeners peek behind the veil of his life and upbringing or even to address a situation that faces society. What we have here is an Eminem who continues to show social consciousnesses to the world around him who delivers his perspective on the President through vehement rhetoric. A tone in which we have yet to hear on wax by someone of his stature in his position – not to say that the tone has not been spoken at all. But for this to be a platform in which he chooses to address; racial tension, racial divide, the conflict involving the National Football League, the lack of response to the events of Charlottesville and verbal jousting with the looming of war with North Korea.
“Tiki torches in hand for the soldier that’s black and comes home from Iraq and is still told to go back to Africa”
From a pure musical perspective it is far from Eminem’s best work, however this is his most important to date. It is his tone, the inflections in his voice, the bating breath between stanzas that speaks to a man who is using his platform; his artistry to shed light to an issue that quite frankly is seldom elaborated on in hip-hop. The world has the words and message of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly or the lyrical styling of Nas who has spoken on wax about the outlook of the African-American in modern day America.
“And any fan of mine, who’s a supporter of his. I’m drawing in the sand a line. You’re either for or against”
For Eminem to be mouthpiece that in ways unites hip-hop on both ends of the spectrum racially, black and white…his wording is that of conviction, his tone is that of pain, his position is one of awareness. So much so, that he is not afraid to rattle cages or even lose fans in droves for his political stance. But it is so much deeper than left versus right, red states and blue states, liberal and conservative. There are only two sides in the grand scheme of what we are seeing from the White House. Where there is divide, there are only two sides; anything else is fracturing.
Marshall Mathers essentially is the American Dream. Here is a 44-year old who was born in St. Joseph, Missouri and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Known to be a city that is built on blue collar work ethic, grit, grind…the emcee takes after the city. He is from a working class home, and all the while divulging on his upbringing through song…he himself is no stranger to the cruelty of the world or even the abuse of those empowered or the elitists Donald Trump represents or the ideology that has divided the nation.
Profanity laced, sure…racy, yes. Important and prolific, yes.
— BET (@BET) October 11, 2017