So I like Eminem

I know. I know. His lyrics are violent, misogynistic, and homophobic. And yet there’s something about Eminem–the way he tells a vivid story, the anger and the rawness of his lyrics that I can’t run away from. He kills it on this song. And it’s not even his song! (I just finished listening to his music obsessively on YouTube to avoid doing actual work and in the process was moved enough to blog about it).

And have you ever listened to ‘Stan’? Masterful storytelling. Listen to ‘Kim.’ Do you hear the barely suppressed rage, the hysteria, the tears in his voice?  I can’t think of a rapper that is so consistently raw and vulnerable like that. (Granted, I am not a hiphophead. More of a dilettante, I would say.) But what makes Eminem unique, apart from his masterful lyricism, which alone is worthy to be praised, is that he needs rap. Do you know what I mean?

Rap is like therapy for him, it’s cathartic and necessary. Sometimes I think Jay-Z  doesn’t have to rap another day in his life. His constant ‘retirements’ from rap are testament to that. Kanye could make do without rap too. Lil’ Wayne could spend his days having another batch of children with a string of baby mamas. Drake, Drake–haha. He could go back to Degrassi.

But Eminem, even if his later stuff hasn’t been anywhere near as classic as his earlier stuff, he needs this music. He loves it. He’s so passionate about it–I transcribed an interview with him the other day and he has such an obvious affinity for the art.

And for the most part (though I’m sure someone can come up with a notable exception in which case I already humbly eat crow), his controversial lyrics never strike me as controversial for the sake of being controversial. Unlike a certain popular rap collective that will remain nameless, Eminem’s anger has always felt very real and uncontrived to me. And I’ve always find those twisted minds fascinating in a horrible ‘I-want-to-save-you’ kind of way. Which is no justification.

All this to say, I like Eminem and I know I probably shouldn’t but I do. So there.

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2 Comments on “So I like Eminem”

  1. Sara says:

    I agree 100%. My impression of his stuff is that he’s coming from such a deep personal raw place that I don’t feel comfortable applying my usual cultural criticisms. He’s doing something different.

    Also he kills it most of the time, his rhymes kill me and his flow is insaaaaaaaane,


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