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OCTOBER OBSERVATIONS
10-30-2002An Education on Eminem
EMINEM
Eminem


Who is Eminem?

My feeling is that the majority of the readers of this site have very little idea of who he is, but there is a reason that you should be interested in him. Eminem is a rapper who appeals to the youth of this country, and who has the top selling CD in the nation this year, and he is very, very angry.

The songs he sings and the message he brings are expressions of extreme pain and negativity - he tells the story of growing up poor, ignored, the abused child of a single mother and his view of America. Born in 1972, his view of the country is shared by millions of his generation - the so called "Generation Y" - the second largest cohort after the Baby Boomers. Eminem thus gives voice to the feelings of millions of youth who were brought up under conditions similar to his own.

I ask you to read the lyrics to his song, "White America." Especially if you have kids - adolescents, teenagers - try to get an idea of why this poem has such appeal. Don't dismiss it as ridiculous, or stupid. These are words from the most popular CD in the country, and the demographic it is selling to is absolutely huge. These are the words your kids are likely listening to, or at least are exposed to in some manner through their friends & classmates. This artist has power, and a new movie coming out on November 8 will give him even more exposure.

WHITE AMERICA

America! We love you! How many people are proud to be citizens of this beautiful country of ours? The stripes and the stars for the rights that men have died for to protect / The women and men who have broke their necks for the freedom of speech the United States government has sworn to uphold. (Yo I want everybody to listen to the words of this song) or so we're told...

Verse 1 I never would've dreamed in a million years I'd see, so many motherfuckin' people who feel like me/who share the same views and the same exact beliefs, it's like a fuckin' army marchin' in back of me/So many lives I touch, so much anger aimed in no particular direction, just sprays and sprays and straight through your radio waves it plays and plays, till it stays stuck in your head for days and days/who woulda thought, standing in this mirror bleachin' my hair, with some peroxide, reachin for a t-shirt to wear/that I would catapult to the forefront of rap like this? How could I predict my words would have an impact like this/I must've struck a chord, with somebody up in the office, cuz Congress keeps telling me I ain't causin' nuthin' but problems/and now they're sayin' I'm in trouble with the government, I'm lovin' it, I shoveled shit all my life/and now I'm dumping it on...

Chorus X2 White America! I could be one of your kids White America! Little Eric looks just like this White America! Erica loves my shit I go to TRL, look how many hugs I get

Verse 2 Look at these eyes, baby blue, baby just like yourself, if they were brown Shady lose, Shady sits on the shelf/but Shady's cute, Shady knew Shady's dimples would help, make ladies swoon baby, ooh baby! Look at my sales/Lets do the math, If I was black I would've sold half, I ain't have to graduate from Lincoln High School to know that/but I could rap, so fuck school, I'm too cool to go back, gimme the mic, show me where the fuckin' studio's at/When I was underground, no one gave a fuck I was white, no labels wanted to sign me almost gave up, I was like/Fuck it, until I met Dre, the only one to look past, gave me a chance, and I lit a fire up under his ass/helped him get back to the top, every fan black that I got was probably his in exchange for every white fan that he's got/Like damn, we just swapped. Sittin' back lookin' at shit, wow, I'm like my skin is it starting to work to my benefit now? Chorus X2

Verse 3 See the problem is I speak to suburban kids who otherwise would of never knew these words exist/whose moms probably woulda never gave two squirts of piss, till I created so much motherfuckin' turbulence/straight out the tube, right into your living room I came, and kids flipped when they knew I was produced by Dre/That's all it took, and they were instantly hooked right in, and they connected with me too because I looked like them/that's why they put my lyrics up under this microscope, searchin' with a fine tooth comb, its like this rope/waitin' to choke, tightening around my throat, watching me while I write this, like I don't like this (Nope)/All I hear is: lyrics, lyrics, constant controversy, sponsors working round the clock, to try to stop my concerts early/surely hip hop was never a problem in Harlem only in Boston, after it bothered the fathers of daughters starting to blossom/so now I'm catchin' the flack from these activists when they raggin', actin' like I'm the first rapper to smack a bitch, or say faggot/shit, just look at me like I'm your closest pal, the posterchild, the mother fuckin' spokesman now for...

Verse 4 So to the parents of America / I am the derringer aimed at little Erica, to attack her character / The ringleader of this circus of worthless pawns / Sent to lead the march right up to the steps of Congress / And piss on the lawns of the White House and replace it with a Parental Advisory sticker / To spit liquor in the faces of in this democracy of hypocrisy / Fuck you Ms. Cheney! Fuck you Tipper Gore! Fuck you with the freest of speech this divided states of embarassment will allow me to have, Fuck you! I'm just kiddin' America, you know I love you...

*****

It is angry. It is insightful. It is scary. Now, if you want to see something really scary, check out the video to the song. Click on the link below (Rolling Stone), then click on the link for the video. It will take you to another site which will require a quick signup, but it is well worth it! Play the video full screen, and imagine that you're a disillusioned kid (maybe your own) watching it.


White America Video

The theme is one of pure cynicism - commercialism, crime, the sad, hollow blank and empty faces of the youth, a nation at war, cities burning, an image of Uncle Sam saying, "I'll Kill You," the Declaration of Independence of the United States being torn apart, the ever present theme of machines of war..

In another of his songs, "Square Dance" he speaks frankly of the war:

...The boogie monster of rap, yeah the man's back/with a plan to am