Whether people like to admit it or not, Eminem has influenced hip hop history in a major way. Since the death of Tupac, he is the rapper who has influenced the hip hop scene most.
Unlike many people’s opinion, Eminem is not the first white rapper. The Beastie Boys and Vanilla Ice have preceded him. But Marshall Mathers is the first white rapper to rap so well, to handle wordplays the way he does.
Some would argue that Eminem gets a lot of attention because of his skin color, which is only partly true. I’d say he gets lots of attention mainly because of his huge talent and his amazing creativity.
Eminem has been particularly influential in rap music, he has started a revolution, because he has changed some rules in the rap game.
Many people were used to commercial rappers with big chains talking about big cars, money and girls. Eminem is one of the rare rappers to show up on stage with great simplicity in his clothing. No big chains, no big diamond rings. Nothing external to seduce his public, but himself. Eminem is certainly the first in the rap game to expose himself the way he does. His songs tell his story. Never has a rapper been that close to his fans. His songs are also an explosion of true feelings. His personality and his attitude are an inspiration to many people.
Because his intentions are so often misinterpreted and misunderstood, Eminem has also been reproached to expose his life in his lyrics by some negative critics.
The fact that Eminem is white shouldn’t only be interpreted as a disadvantage for rap music, but rather like a real enrichment. Being described as a ‘culture stealer’ by closed minded people like Benzino, Eminem has opened hip hop to a larger audience, which is something highly positive. Nobody will deny that rap music is a genre created by Blacks. But like any musical genre it has a universal vocation.
Eminem is not some white man who had no idea about rap music and hip hop culture and who suddenly decided to rap. Eminem grew up, has grown roots within hip hop culture. He cannot be compared with some white guy who suddenly decides to collaborate with Blacks just to add to his credibility as a white rapper. His D12 crew he sarcastically calls ‘My Band’ are long term friends who grew up in the same place as him.
Eminem is a living proof that hip hop can break intolerance, racism and that people from different ethnies can work together. Since the beginning of his career till now, Eminem has contributed to the enrichment of hip hop culture. His sophisticated rhyming style makes a brilliant form of art of his music.
Eminem’s determinant role in rap music and ‘by extension- in racial relations could hardly be ignored. His music is a bridge between Blacks and Whites.
His success may have encouraged other white rappers, but it has also made it harder for them at the same time, knowing it is rather difficult to reach his level.
Eminem has also opened people’s eyes about white people’s situation in the ghetto. Maybe it started breaking down the myth of the ‘American Dream’ in many suburban people’s mind.
It also helped white people focusing much more on rap music and thus, on black history.
No matter if they’re white or not, true hip hop lovers won’t ignore black people’s history.