Eminem Essay, Research Paper
Controversy of the lyrics of Rapper Eminem In a few short months, Eminem has gone from being one of the most liked emcees in independent hip-hop to one of the most provocative, controversial rappers in contemporary pop music. The overnight success of his debut album, The Slim Shady LP, topped the rap charts, making him one of the biggest music success stories of 1999. But Eminem is more than the latest rap artist to blow up. He’s spent the last several years paying his dues, and his lyrics, which cover topics such as poverty and single parenthood, reflect a rough upbringing. His unlikely acceptance by the pop mainstream has made some wonder how his popularity will affect the future of hip-hop music. Before he had the world singing along to “My Name Is ,” he was Marshall Mathers, a poor kid growing up in Warren, Mich. “It’s like the real, stereotypical, trailer park, white trash,” Eminem told Rap Pages earlier this year. As a child, he and his mother moved constantly, staying at relatives’ homes in places such as Warren and Kansas City, Mo. As a result, Marshall found it difficult to make friends, and he retreated into his comic books and television. “I didn’t really start opening up until eighth grade, going into ninth,” he said. When Mathers was 12, his mother finally settled down on the east side of Detroit. There, he attended Lincoln Junior High School and Osbourne High School, hanging out with friends and listening to artists like LL Cool J and the 2 Live Crew. He battled against other rappers at his high school, and quickly gained a reputation as a nimble rhymer. But his liking for skipping school led him to fail the ninth grade. After dropping out of high school, he held down several odd jobs, while continuing to work on his rap. “I tried to go back to school five years ago,” he said, “but I couldn’t do it. I just wanted to rap and be a star one day.” Mathers rapped in several groups such as Basement Productions, the New Jacks, and Sole Intent, before deciding to go solo. In 1997, he released an album, Infinite, through a local company called FBT Productions; it was met with derision from the local hip-hop community. “I was getting a lot of feedback saying I sounded like Nas or Jay-Z,” he admitted. Despite the criticism, Eminem continued to promote himself through shows and appearances at radio stations and freestyle competitions across the nation. His perseverance garnered him a notice in the Source’s influential “Unsigned Hype” column. Later that year, he won the 1997 Wake Up Show Freestyle Performer of the Year from L.A. DJs Sway and Tech, and earned second place in Rap Sheet magazine’s “Rap Olympics,” an annual freestyle rap competition. In 1998, Eminem put out The Slim Shady EP, “Slim Shady is the evil side of me, the sarcastic, foul-mouthed side of me,” he said during an interview with the Source. The EP made him an underground star. Meanwhile, a copy of The Slim Shady EP made its way into the hands of Dr. Dre, the legendary creator of The Chronic and N.W.A., and current president of Aftermath Entertainment. Dr. Dre quickly signed Eminem to his label, and the two began preparing The Slim Shady EP for a full-fledged release, adding songs like “My Name Is ” and “Guilty Conscience.” Early in 1999, Eminem made the world take notice with his hysterical video for “My Name Is ” making fun of everyone from Marilyn Manson to the President of the United States. Shortly afterward, The Slim Shady LP debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Album Chart. Its sensationalistic depiction of drug use, rape, sex, and violence horrified many people; equally disturbing was Eminem’s various four-letter-word insults directed at his mother and songs like “‘97 Bonnie and Clyde,” where Eminem fantasized about killing the mother of his child. In defense, Eminem claimed that he was just speaking his mind. “I do feel like I’m coming from a standpoint where people don’t realize there are a lot of poor white people,” he explained in the Source. “Rap music kept my mind off all the bulls–t I had to go through.” His take on life struck a chord with millions of rap fans, and drove The Slim Shady LP to double-platinum-plus sales. While most in the hip-hop community greeted Eminem with open arms, others took a more cautious approach, wondering why rock stations across the country who never played rap music added “My Name Is ” to their play lists. Was it because Eminem was the first white rapper to gain widespread popularity? “I’m white in a music started by black people. I’m not ignorant to the culture and I’m not trying to take anything away from the culture,” he said in his defense. “But no one has a choice where they grew up or what color they are. If you’re a rich kid or a ghetto kid you have no control over your circumstance. The only control you have is to get out of your situation or stay in it.” “I’m not alone in feeling the way I feel,” he says. “I believe that a lot of people can relate to my shit–whether white, black, it doesn’t matter. Everybody has been through some shit, whether it’s drastic or not so drastic. Everybody gets to the point of ‘I don’t give a fuck. ” I do say things that I think will shock people,” he says. “But I don’t do things to shock people. I’m not trying to be the next Tupac, but I don’t know how long I’m going to be on this planet. So while I’m here, I might as well make the most of it.” A metro Detroit gay rights organization is claiming that the lyrics of Eminem promote violence against homosexuals, and his CD s should be pulled from the music store shelves, and radio station play lists. There is a very great potential that these lyrics will be takin by many of his fans as an endorsement of the acts he sings about, says Jeffrey Montgomery. Executive director of Triangle Foundation. Some of Eminems lyrics include derogatory terms for homosexuals and threats of using a knife on lesbians and gays. People buy Eminem s albums for his controversial lyrics. Eminems lyrics grab peoples attention and keeps it-that is why he stays so famous. His open criticism of people strikes our generation as amusing. How ever his influence is too great for him not to take responsibility for what he says. Lynne Cheney, the wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, called Eminems songs despicable while appearing before the Senate Commerce Committee. Distributing a lyric sheet for the tune I ll Kill You, from the Marshall Mathers LP. Lynne Cheney not only pointed a finger at the rappers label Interscope, but also at the popular music industry as a whole. This man just won three awards, Can you imagine that the entire industry honors this man who makes this despicable material,? says Lynne Cheney. Joseph Leiberman, political foe to Dick Cheney, also spoke before the committee. He condemned the industry for the troubling way that the entertainment media are promoting and selling adult-rated products to our children. Eminem has been facing lawsuits throughout his whole career. He has managed to anger so many people from gays and lesbians, to other stars, to even his family. On Sept. 17, Eminems mother filed for a $10 million lawsuit, claiming that her son portrayed her as an unstable drug user. Eminem clarified comments that he’d made to music magazines in the past concerning his mother’s alleged drug use. Although in one song the rapper claimed his mom used “more drugs than I did” in his youth, Wednesday he testified that “the drugs she abused were prescription drugs.” According to court documents, the rap star declined an out-of-court offer of $2 million. he made it clear that he’d rather pay his attorneys $100,000 and make sure she doesn’t get a dime. Eminems wife also tried suing him claiming that the rapper isn t fit for even partial custody of their daughter, considering Eminem is currently facing charges of assault with a deadly weapon. In addition to seeking custody, Eminems wife Kim is seeking $10 million for the abuse she s taken in his stage shows and on record. Eminem has two songs about killing his wife.(Show film) Eminem donated a large portion of the proceeds from this Pay Per View special, to the Boys and Girls Republic, a Detroit-based school for troubled youths. After I did my report, I went out interviewed two people on this topic.One a 28-year-old business owner, and the other an 18-year-old high school student. The First person I interviewed was Shawn Richelson, a 28 year old owner of a Kosher Deli, located in Freehold New Jersey. I asked Shawn if he feels that lyrics such as the one written by Eminem should be taken seriously. He responded No, it his way of reaching impressionable people to sell records and make money. I than spoke to him about the beliefs that these lyrics cause violence in our society, He agreed with me and felt that it absolutely did not cause violence, he said violence has more to do with social interaction with others rather than lyrics. Shawn doesn t believe that these lyrics should be toned down and I quote I don t agree with censorship. If you don t like his music, don t listen to it, if you don t want your kids listening to it, than. The next person I was able to talk with, was a Dave Lewis, an 18-year-old highschool student. He feels that Eminems lyrics ar strictly for entertainment, anyone who would infact listen to his music should be mature enough to realize that his intentions are to keep people entertained and satisified, because people are always curious on what he will say next. He also feels that violence today is caused by the assholes who don t care about life. His lyrics are what are on his mind, and everybody should be able to speak their mind. When I asked Dave how he felt on Eminems style he replied It is a different new way for people to keep entertained. Me personally, I enjoy Eminems music, I understand that theres a difference between what he says and what he would actually do. We all have anger, Eminem is a story teller, and just like Steven King isn t criticized for some of the sick things he comes up with why should Eminem. If the gays find it offensive than they should stop listening to it, than they wont have any reasons to protest, I do feel that some of the things he says are unfair to his wife and his mother, but that s life and there is no law that says he cant say the things he says. I think that Eminem is one of the best lyricists out there and its because of the unbelievable analogies he uses and the stories he tells.