Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Culture and Arts - Eminem

I usually enjoy Sciabarras columns and takes on objectivism in pop-culture, but I have some problems with his analysis of Eminem. I can understand much of his criticism concerning Eminem's hateful remarks against his mother, gays in general and other groups. Also, his lax use of fagg** and other obscene and hurting words is not taken lightly. On the other side, he is one of the most politically incorrect rappers out there, who doesn't preach hatred all the time (especially seen in his song "Mosh"). As he also tried, we must discern the different personalities of Mr. Slim Shady aka. Eminem aka. Marshall Mathers. It is hard to tell what is marketing-fiction and reality-truth, but you can tell it once in a while, not only be the explicity of his lyrics, but also by his appearances in the media.

I want to take on one of his older songs now: Eminem - Sing for the Moment

The lyrics are extraordinarily long for his rap songs and the contents is almost devoid of "racism". You can find the whole lyrics for free, here. It is not only a pamphlet to the differences between teenagers and parents (in the first part of the song). In this first paragrah, Eminem not only shows the problems of teenagers, but also the problem of political correctness and fear of individualism, when he raps:

These ideas are nightmares to white parents
Whose worst fear is a child with dyed hair and who likes earrings
Like whatever they say has no bearing, it's so scary in a house that allows
no swearing
To see him walking around with his headphones blaring
Alone in his own zone[...]

Of course, the song also shows parts (inter-mixed) from his own past and his problems with his father. He tells us from his fist-battles with his own father and then the chorus sets in:

{C'mon}, sing with me, {sing}, sing for the years
{Sing it}, sing for the laughter, sing for the tears, {c'mon)
Sing it with me, just for today, maybe tomorrow the good
Lord will take you

It's cut together from samples of other songs, but still conveys a sense of life with all its depth and heights. The only drawback is the hopeless ending with a reference to god. However, this can also be interpreted as a reference to a better life, which comes after the problem-solving.
After that Marshall Mathers shows his personal take on what the black rap music is about:

Entertainment is changin', intertwinin' with gangsta's
In the land of the killers, a sinner's mind is a sanctum
Holy or unholy, only have one homie
Only this gun, lonely cause don't anyone know me
Yet everybody just feels like they can relate, I guess words are a
mothafucka they can be great
Or they can degrade, or even worse they can teach hate

This is one of the better passages in the song. He clearly loves language and what it does to people, but he also shows that there are dangers (it can degrade or even teach hate -> Koran or senseless Rap Music). It also shows that he feels lonely in a country, where killers are held high (perhaps linked to the gangstas). But it even grows better, when he shows how his music is turned into something entirely different by the media and the kids. He has understood that gangsta rap produces fundamentalists who can't distinguish the songs from reality.
Later, Eminem, again, shows us what he really thinks and feels:

If i'm such a fuckin' menace, this shit doesn't make sense Pete
It's all political, if my music is literal, and i'm a criminal how the fuck
can I raise a little girl
I couldn't, I wouldn't be fit to, you're full of shit too, Guerrera, that
was a fist that hit you...

And he is dead right about it, because he stands for freedom of speech with every word. Perhaps his conclusion to hit "Guerrera" isn't perfect, but who has never dreamed of hitting a stupid opponent right in the face?

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