There has always been many debates in the world of Hip-Hop and the one debate that has ceased to go away even with admission, is that Eminem is a guest in Hip-Hop. It’s almost like we’re getting to the point they really can’t have anything for themselves and someone else steals their thunder.
But this “menace,” was more than just the scapegoat to the neigh sayers decrying his violent misogynist lyrics and his overt use of faggot and other homophobic content.
The Marshall Mathers LP took Eminem to taller heights on both ends. The negatives derived from parents who saw him as the defining cultural icon that turned their kids into these assholes who wanted to be similar to him. He even put out a response in “White America,” detailing the inconsistencies and hypocrisies of it.
The content Eminem has been saying was always around, even before his rise to prominence. But it’s because he’s a zebra in a horde of white stallions that his cultural community noticed. It’s like how the shift in how the funding would be spread in government programs, like the ones tackling opioid addiction. Once the dynamic shifts in demographic the more likely they’d care.
It didn’t help them that the mainstream media was allowing him a big stage on all fronts. Back then making the stage for MTV’s Spring Break was a defining moment for him and that allowed there to be a bigger impression on them. And from viewing countless videos of his performances at MTV’s Spring Break, that sea of people was mostly one shade. Maybe the sun was strong enough for some red, but it proved a point for people who were decrying, albeit a bad one.
And as controversial as the album was there was no one like Eminem at the time. He stuck to his roots with radio play hits being a far cry from out radio hits of other rappers. He was bringing back the emcee approach back to the genre, like having no tracks with a popular pop artist doing a chorus for it.
The initial heights that “My Name Is,” brought him and the comfortability it brought about blind white eyes were the initial stepping stone in the toppling of the controversy dominos.
It made a big mark in the views of homophobia in Hip-Hop, which stems from cultural upbringings. But Eminem never intended for it to seem like that with his abundant use of the word faggot. “Stan” was one of the biggest irks of the outcries. And in contrast Eminem’s response to the outcries on “Marshall Mathers,” were straight to the point and logical. South Park did similarly with their episode about calling annoying hog riders that word and then the local gay community in that episode sided with the boys. Eminem was never directing it the community on most cases. That era of music would never strive today.
But that word has had its history and ironically cigarettes are called the shortened term in the UK. But there was always a double sided coin that made up the wall, and those coins resemble that owned by pre-burn victim Harvey Dent. There was no second opinion it was pure disappointment and resentment and backlash.
Eminem’s music wasn’t always that exciting for the mainstream. But that didn’t stop his ascend to a new level of celebrity where his personal privacy becomes non-existent. He reflects this heavily on “The Way I Am,” “Who Knew,” and “The Real Slim Shady.” The latter of which flipped the manic persona into an annoying jokester that tells you how it is through many logical counter points that sensible people would never use in debate.
Eminem’s initial trifecta of albums reflected different persona tackling ideological subjects, even if it doesn’t sound like Beethoven wrote it. But the way he weaves the lyrical content into these vigorous satirical tracks like “Criminal.” Though violent, it wasn’t like “Kim.”
After all these years, one thing always stood out. It was the choice of keeping “Kim,” on the explicit version as opposed to keeping “The Kids,” and dropping the former as a loosey. It wasn’t so much the quality, it was more about the world not being ready for something vile and full of raw emotions from a fractured man who caught his wife cheating. Though “The Kids,” isn’t something to marvel at. It’s another typical Eminem being Adam Sandler track with the many voices.
His whole world was a whirlwind of controversy after controversy and it only boasted his status. It brought in more fans and more sales.
And at 20 years the time capsule that is once again opened breathes fresh as Marshall Mathers LP cultural significance grows and grows as we grow as a society. In music it Eminem’s slick wordplay and rhyme schemes is only matched by his amazing flows.