Eminem makes black music. He’s been accused so many times of appropriating black music for its commercialization. Some publisher even told me: ‘Eminem himself admits stealing black music for his own benefit. In my opinion, he took Eminem a little bit too literally when he listened to ‘Without Me’:
‘I am the worst thing since Elvis Presley
do black music so selfishly
and used it to get myself wealthy…’
In fact, Eminem’s statements in ‘Without Me’ are nothing else but sarcasm. Eminem shows that he is sick to be compared with Elvis Presley who was actually using black music selfishly. People who know Eminem perfectly know that when he gets accused of something, he adds to it and exaggerates it. This is exactly how Eminem reacted in his song ‘Criminal’ against the accusations of homophobia.
Why do people always have to take the talented MC so literally? Probably because they lack a real sense of humor.
When Eminem goes on in ‘Without Me’, he points out that this concept of using black music works for a lot of white rappers. It’ s a matter of fact here are more and more Whites on the rap scene.But most of those many Whites probably lack talent and originality. Deep inside the listener understands that Eminem is different:
‘Here’s a concept that works
Twenty million other white rappers emerge
But no matter how many fish in the sea
It’ll be so empty, without me…’
As far as I am concerned, he is definitely not a culture stealer. Eminem reminds me of some young white boy I had seen on TV. This boy had grown up in Ivory Coast. His accent was the accent of a black man, and frankly, a blind man would not have been able to make any difference between him and one of his black fellows. His whole behavior and body language could be linked to black people.
The opinion I want to express about Eminem isn’t conditioned by the media’s praise nor negative comments. Being myself a white woman who has spent a lot of time with black people and who has been influenced a lot by black music and black culture, I have always been very critical towards white people and other ethnic groups trying to make black music. I have been a blues, soul, funky music lover long before being a rap lover. When my son tried to introduce me into Eminem, he had to insist for me to listen to him. Eminem totally convinced me as a rapper. His talent, his well written lyrics, his imagination are undeniable.
Eminem is a white man who stands closer to black culture and music than he will ever stand to white culture in America.
In ‘White America’, he claims: ‘White America, I could be one of your kids’.
Of course, he is addressing to white kids. But his voice comes from the black hood. Eminem isn’t a ‘black wannabe’, he doesn’t talk ‘ebonics’ to look good in front of his public. He’s a white man with ‘chocolate on the inside’. His skin may be white, but his heart is entirely dedicated to the black community. Eminem’s lyrics sound like a strong message for white kids to look up at black history and to become conscious of the problems the black community is experiencing.
When I recently had an occasion to teach about hip hop in 9th grade, I have explored ghetto life and hip hop culture with my pupils. My pupils had a lot to learn about black culture. But one of them really surprised me when I have asked about Eminem: ‘Rap is supposed to be black music. How do you explain Eminem’s acceptance in the black community?’
He answered: ‘This man respects Blacks. He also speaks like them.’
Both elements are right. Eminem has always shown respect and love towards black people and black culture. A culture that is also his. He hasn’t stolen it. : he has grown up in hip hop culture.
His whole fight was about the recognition of a talented MC in a black man’s wor