Updated: Feb 4, 2021
For years people have complained that Eminem is not relatable, especially to a black audience. As a black fan of Eminem, I have always taken exception to this narrative. Firstly because you do not need to relate to music to enjoy it, I do not relate to Jay Z selling drugs or being a billionaire, but I have consistently enjoyed his music because of his skills as an artist, same with Eminem.
However, even if you accept the premise that you need to relate to music to enjoy it, you must admit Eminem is pretty relatable. On the Slim Shady Lp, Eminem rapped about being fed up with life and the way things were going. If you have ever been poor, you should relate to Eminem in his songs Rock bottom and if I had. If you have ever been bullied, you should relate to Eminem's brain damage.
"I feel like i'm walking a tight rope without a circus net
Poppin percocet, I'm a nervous wreck
I deserve respect but i work a sweat for this worthless check"-Eminem: Rock bottom
"Way before my baby daughter Hallie I was harassed daily by this fat kid named DeAngelo Bailey"-Eminem: Brain Damage
Eminem rapped about dealing with the pressures of fame and dealing with a label on Marshal Mathers lp. T.i said that he does not relate to Eminem's music. However, he has had to deal with being in the public eye and label pressure. T.i knows whats it is like to go from nothing to being a wealthy celebrity. It goes even deeper than that both Em and T.i have had gun cases in their career, and Em rapped about it on the Eminem show, and that is something T.i should be able to relate to.
"When you're me, people just wanna see if it's true
If it's you—what you say in your raps, what you do
So they feel it's part of your obligation to fulfill
When they see you on the streets, face to face, are you for real?
In confrontation, ain't no conversation, if you feel
You're in violation, any hesitation'll get you killed
"I love my fans, but no one ever puts a grasp
On the fact I've sacrificed everything I have
I never dreamt I'd get to the level that I'm at
This is wack, this is more than I ever coulda asked
Everywhere I go, a hat, a sweater hood or mask
What about math, how come I wasn't ever good at that?"
-Eminem: Say goodbye to Hollywood
The biggest knocks on Eminem's discography is Eminem's beef with his mother and his song Kim. However, have you ever been angry with your family odds are that most people do not have a perfect family, and there is a family feud of some sort. Family issues are among the most relatable subjects. Plenty of rappers, including Tupac, have dissed their parents. Also, Kim, the song is very violent, but Kim, the person, is also very much alive. He was very angry with her for cheating on him. If your relationships have all been perfect and you have never been angry or deeply hurt by your partner, then I guess you cannot relate, but my guess is that is not most people. Eminem expresses the complex and sometimes ugly emotions, but just because most of us would not display these feelings to the world does not mean these emotions of anger and hurt are not relatable.
Also, dishonestly the detractors would have you believe that every song Eminem makes is about killing his ex-wife and dissing his mother. However, this is simply not true. Eminem has a heartfelt song called Headlights apologizing to his mom and talking about how much he loves and respects her, but that does not get brought up because that does not fit the narrative. Neither does his song Bad husband or need me, where he apologizes to Kim and talks about the dynamic of their unhealthy relationship.
"'Cause I loved you, but I hated that me
And I don't wanna see that side again
But I'm sorry, Kim
More than you could ever comprehend
Leavin' you was fuckin' harder than
Sawing off a fuckin' body limb"-Eminem:Bad husband
"All you did, all you said, you did your best to raise us both
Foster care, that cross you bear, few may be as heavy as yours
But I love you, Debbie Mathers
Oh, what a tangled web we have ‘cause"-Eminem: Headlights
If you have ever struggled with addiction or know somebody who has, you should relate to Em songs about addiction like Deja Vu Never Love again and Going Through Changes Castle Arose. to partnership to end addiction 240 million people around the world are dependent on alcohol, more than a billion people smoke, and about 15 million people use injection drugs, such as heroin. So There are lot of people who can relate to Eminem's struggles with addiction.
"Some days it feels like you're all that I have
That's why I'm tryna hold onto you for as long as I can
And you just want me for my money so I got you wrapped all in saran
Damn, talk about eatin' out the palm of my hand"-Eminem: Never love again
"I'm hanging it up, fuck it!
Excuse the cursing, baby, but just know
That I'm a good person, though they portray me as cold
And if things should worsen, but I bet you they won't
I'm pledging to throw this methadone in the toilet
Shred these old letters I wrote
All that old pathetic loathing, closing credits can roll
I'm proud to be back"-Eminem:Arose
Have you ever lost a friend? Have you ever been depressed? Have you ever lost someone with whom you were angry? Have you ever doubted yourself? Then you should be able to relate to songs like You're Never Over, where Em celebrates his late friend Proof's life. Alternatively, Beautiful where Em raps about depression—also Leaving Heaven, where Eminem discusses being angry with his father even after he died and the complex emotions that come with that. You should be able to relate to Walk On Water, where em doubts himself and raps about overcoming self-doubt. Also, Em's fellow artists and people who have achieved great successes should especially relate to Walk on Water, where Em talks about impossible standards set by previous accomplishments and nostalgia. "Who can relate woo"-Logic
"But the only one who's looking down on
Me that matters now's DeShaun"-Eminem:Walk on Water
"And everyone who has doubt, remind
Now take your best rhyme, outdo it, now do it a thousand times
Now let 'em tell ya the world no longer cares
Or gives a fuck about your rhymes"-Eminem:Walk on Water
Even the haters can relate to Eminem. Lord Jamar would often say Eminem's music is not relatable. However, as a conscience rapper, it is hard to believe that when Em dissed Bush or talks about white privilege and the double standards put on hip hop as well as police brutality and the victims of racist cops that Lord Jamar does not relate. I would imagine these are issues he cares about. Also, when Eminem Raps about his love of hip hop in songs like Yah Yah as a fan of Hip Hop, he should be able to relate. "Wait, why are there black neighborhoods?
"Cause America segregated us, designated us to an area
Separated us, Section-Eight'd us
When we tear it up’s the only time attention’s paid to us
And education sucks, and every day's another
Freddie Gray for us, a levy breaks or fuzz
Why is it they treat us like dryer lint?
We just want a safe environment for our kids
But can’t escape the sirens"-Eminem: Untouchable
"YZ and Chi-Ali, Rakim and Eric B., they were like my therapy
From B.I.G. and Paris, Three Times Dope, and some we'll never see, and PRT
N.W.A and Eazy-E, and D-R-E was like my GPS
Without him, I don't know where I'd be"-Eminem
If you have ever had a big moment in your life, if you have ever aspired to be anything, you should relate songs like loose yourself believe phenomenal legacy. If you have kids, you should be able to relate to songs like Mockingbird, When I'm gone, and Hailie song. Once again, this encompasses pretty much everyone. Many people have children, and even more, people have aspirations and even more than that have ever been doubted in their life.
"Look, if you had one shot or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment
Would you capture it, or just let it slip?"-Eminem: Lose yourself
"Daddy's with you in your prayers
No more cryin', wipe them tears
Daddy's here, no more nightmares
We gon' pull together through it
We gon' do it, Lainie—Uncle's crazy, ain't he?
Yeah, but he loves you, girl, and you better know it"-Eminem: Mockingbird
The notion that these are concepts that nonwhite people could not possibly understand is ridiculous. The attempt to erase Eminem's legacy by making him seem unrelatable to hip hop's core demographic also erases his black fans. It also puts black people in a box as only being able to understand certain experiences. However, Em's group d12 also did shock rap, and they were all black. There is plenty of black artist into horror core and darker themes in their music like tech nine and Hopsin. So even if that was all em did, it still be relatable. Eminem has inspired some greats, such as Cole Kendrick Logic 50 cent Cordae Juice World. They were able to enjoy and even advance their artistry through Em.
"I belong here, clown! Don't tell me 'bout the culture!
I inspired the Hopsins, the Logics, the Coles, the
Seans, the K-Dots, the 5'9"s, and oh
Brought the world 50 Cent, you did squat, piss and moan
But I'm not gonna fall… bitch! (Yeah)"-Eminem
In conclusion to paraphrase Eminem
this article is dedicated
To all the happy people
All the happy people who have real nice lives
who have never been through anything
or known anyone who has
because those are the only people who just can't relate to Eminem.
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