Like Toy Soldiers

Like Toy Soldiers is one of Encore’s masterpieces of work.. The chorus is a sample of Martika, a Cuban American artist and actress. You will learn more about Martika on the following website.

Like Toy Soldiers fully exposes us the dangerous character of hip hop beefs and how easy it is to get involved in a war most of the rappers would prefer to avoid if they could.
Hip hop wars made us lose Tupac and Biggie in 1996 and 1997. Many beefs can end in bloody wars and that’s exactly what Eminem would like to avoid:

« I’m supposed to be the soldier who never blows his composure
Even though I hold the weight of the whole world on my shoulders
I am never supposed to show it, my crew ain’t supposed to know it
Even if it means goin’ toe to toe with a Benzino it don’t matter
I’d never drag them in battles that I can handle unless I absolutely have to
I’m supposed to set an example
I need to be the leader, my crew looks for me to guide ’em
If some shit ever just pop off, I’m supposed to be beside ’em… »

Eminem is a like a courageous soldier and he is never afraid of his enemies. People who have followed the great emcee’s battles with Benzino had the pleasure to listen to Benzino’s lyrical murder.
Marshall is also supposed to set an example for his crew and to show loyalty to them by sticking up for them in case of trouble.

Because he signed 50 Cent to Shady Records, Eminem got involved in a huge beef with Ja Rule, Irv Gotti and the whole Murder Inc crew.

Attentive spectators of the Eminem/ Ja Rule have noticed how personal this beef became in no time.
Ja Rule dared attacking Hailie in his song, which is certainly the attitude of a coward. I will never understand why people dare going that far. In Eminem’s case, most of his enemies are not that well weaponed lyrically to drop their bomb against him. Attacking an innocent child is easier. It is also a sure way to get a reaction from Eminem- and some more publicity:

« ow Ja said ‘I tried to squash it, it was too late to stop it’
There’s a certain line you just don’t cross and he crossed it
I heard him say Hailie’s name on a song and I just lost it
It was crazy, this shit be way beyond some Jay-z and Nas shit
And even though the battle was won, I feel like we lost it… »

Marshall has put so much energy in a lyrical beef that the Shady camp has eventually won. But this hard war has left him exhausted. Now Marshall is tired of those beefs. He clearly addresses to his enemies and shows his determination to squash them.

He makes you understand how much he is fed up with those useless beefs. Eminem also reminds us that he never got involved in the beef opposing Dr Dre to Suge Knight.
Eminem is a huge contributor to hip hop culture, he doesn’t want to be an annihilator of what he helped build :

« spent too much energy on it, honestly I’m exhausted
And I’m so caught in it I almost feel I’m the one who caused it
This ain’t what I’m in hip-hop for, it’s not why I got in it
That was never my object for someone to get killed
Why would I wanna destroy something I help build
It wasn’t my intentions, my intentions was good
I went through my whole career without ever mentionin’ Suge
Now it’s just out of respect for not runnin’ my mouth
And talkin’ about something that I knew nothing about
Plus Dre told me stay out, this just wasn’t my beef
So I did, I just fell back, watched and gritted my teeth
While he’s all over t.v. down talkin’ a man who literally saved my life
Like fuck it i understand this is business
And this shit just isn’t none of my business
But still knowin’ this shit could pop off at any minute cuz … »

Marshall is conscious to have a lot of true and loyal soldiers within his Shady camp, but also among the numerous persons who support him:

“We still have soldiers that’s on the front line
That’s willing to die for us as soon as we give the orders
Never to extort us, strictly to show they support us
We’ll maybe shout ’em out in a rap or up in a chorus
To show them we love ’em back and let ’em know how important it is
To have run ya nav and who sulked us up in our corners
Their loyalty to us is worth more than any award is
But I ain’t tryna have none of my people hurt and murdered …”

He’s so right about it: this kind of loyalty is worth more than an award. But Eminem doesn’t want anybody to get killed because of worthless bloody wars.
He also recalls a time the emcees only role were to spit some hot rhymes in a battle.
The message towards his enemies is clear: «’ let’s end a war in which we are acting like little toy soldiers.’ »

No more blood for hip hop rivalries. Eminem’s sincerity is touching. No contest Like Toy Soldiers is one of the best songs of the album.

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