The 313

The 313
‘Now everybody from the 313, put your motherfucking hands in the air and follow me!’.

Those are the well known words of Jimmy Smith’s third freeslyle in 8 Mile.
One of Marshall’s songs featuring Eye Kyu on the Infinite album is called ‘313’.
In this song Eminem claims:
‘Man what you know about a sweet MC in the 313
None of these skills you bout to see come free
So you wanna be a sweet MC you better become me
If you ever wanna be one see…’

Eminem made the Detroit underground popular. He made Detroit outsiders like many of his fans (including me) focus a real interest on the Detroit neighborhood. That’s also the reason why you could hardly focus an interest on Eminem and ignore black history in Detroit.
Eminem used to live in the 313. The references to the 313 are so numerous in this albums from Infinite to the 8 Mile soundtrack.
Eminem is proud of where he came from and to have made it.
What is exactly the 313 in Detroit? The 313 refers to the phone dialling code in Michigan. People from the 313 are viewed as cool in the ghetto while people from the former 810 call code would be described as rather uncool and as sellouts.
To be real and to keep it real, you gotta live in the 313.
It is also interesting to notice that the Detroit 313 has it own slang. Here are some examples of the 313 slang which I have found on this website:
scrimp scampy:as in gettin’ played.
u playin me scrimp scampi.
fenna/fixin/fensta:as in about to.
we fenna go to da store.
joed:hit in tha mouth.
dat bitch got joed!
hoed:as in cussed out.
you got hoed.
oh boy:as in for real or please believe it.
oh boy!
fo sho:keepin it real or please believe it or yeah.
fo sho, we goin’!
dance’s: jit, tic, hiproll, popin’.
As Proof points it out in a remix of 50 Cent’s ‘Many Men’, it is hard to survive in the 313 where violence , murder and poverty belong to the allday problems. Abandonned buildings in the Highland Park area also belong to the numerous problems the Detroit underground has to face, as 8 Mile illustrates it very well.
Turner Johnson the president and the co-founder of the Michigan neighborhood partnership points it out:
‘ It is devastating to see the tremendous neglect and abandonment in Detroit”
To non Detroiter Eminem fans like me, the Motor City is attractive, because many of them want to find out why the city has been inspirational to so many various and talented artists of so many different musical genres. Detroit is certainly one of Eminem’s biggest source of inspiration.
The Detroit history is also a city of racial segregation and the 8 Mile border constantly reminds of of the racial border between Blacks and Whites.
What makes Eminem’s story particularly interesting is also the fact that he experienced this racial segregation as white man in a black majority. A man who has fought for his acceptance in a black landscape. Eminem is remarquable, because despite the fact that he was constantly bullied by black kids and that he nearly lost his life as a teenager being theatened by Blacks holding a gun against him, he never retaliated, but he acknowledged black culture as his own culture.
Jimmy Smith’s power in the 8 Mile song is certainly the clear reference to the 313, because he is proud of the area he represents and he is no longer scared by the Free World leaders:
‘I got the urge, suddenly it’s a surge
Suddenly a new burst of energy has occured
Time to show these free world leaders a three and the third
I am no longer scared now, I’m free as a bird
Then I turn and cross over the median curve
Hit the burbs and run and see it’s a blur, an 8 mile road.’

4 thoughts on “The 313”

  1. My wife and I met in Baltimore in the fall 1981, she had moved from her hometown, Detroit, a few mhonts earlier and I was living in my group house on Todd Ave. in Cedonia.In the fall 1982 she took me back to see her home town.Driving out Jefferson Avenue from downtown east we stopped at a traffic light and the looks we got from the crowds on the corner scared me.I was a 26 year old white male, grew up in B’more, spent plenty of time in racially mixed areas of New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, during undergrad and grad school and I never felt like I did that afternoon in Detroit.It was a scary place 30 years ago.

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