Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Eminem: The Greatest or Overrated?

Got my ears on the new Eminem album. Don't ask, I know it's supposed to be out May 19th. I'm broke! OK? LOL Anyway, it's not bad at all. It's pretty good. Not his best, but definitely better than a lot of crap on the radio now & actually like it over his past 2 albums, even though I hate his first single, but that's typical Eminem.

Now saying that... as I read all these comments on AHH about him being the Greatest Rapper Alive or he talks about real issues that other rappers don't discuss, I get a little aggravated. Not to discredit Em, b/c truthfully, I am a fan. I have all of his albums, including the D-12 joints. But calling him the G.O.A.T. is reaching. Best in this decade? Definitely in my top 10. But of all times? I'm too old with too much love expanding 30 years to agree with the average fan that was guzzling their mama's breast through the golden years of the music or swimming in their daddy's sack. So I can't hate. Music's supposed to expand. And it can't grow if new patrons don't carry the torch even further. Although lately, it seems the torch has been getting dimmer & taken to CEO's in corporate America to water it down, instead of the streets to bring more heat to the flame.

Well, I'm getting off track now. The bottom line, I think Eminem is a dope emcee & actually a breath of fresh air, b/c it's nice to hear someone NOT flossing. Violent, yeah... but from a more sometimes comedic place or more introspective, instead of crime boss imageries or thug mentality. It's more of that kid sick of being bullied & ready to Columbine a school. His violence comes more from someone scorn & just spitting his evil thoughts out of anger... verses spitting... a false realism of what hip hop is supposed to be now according to a new generation of fans.

Honestly, I relate more to Eminem than any mainstream rapper in the game. Who hasn't had a boss, bully, school teacher or family member you hated so much you wanted to cause them pain in your head? Who hasn't dealt with personal demons still faced & hard to get rid of. I relate more to that than riding around in chrome wheels, banging the hottest chicks, sipping the finest wines & my Timex digital is nowhere near the platinum/gold watches they sport. The only ice I got is in my freezer.

So, no, I can't relate to these Black rappers. And it's pathetic that in the very music we created, I relate more to a white guy in a trailer park than the millions of Black rappers who grew up in areas similar to mine or worse. And honestly, I don't know any Black folks who does. The few I do know are young cats poorer than dirt mimmicking the videos.. selling drugs to the side with rims more expensive than their car while still in their momma's crib in an apartment house or project. But even the Blacks I know that have money, they might have a nice ride, but I don't know them to have gold fronts, in goudy clothes, got 5 or 6 chicks riding. Might have a wife, but if there are others... they're kept on the low. But they're not sporting them like blue ribbons.

Either way, with so much going on in the world & with the problems that still exist in the Black community... why aren't there any mainstream Black rappers like me or coming as real as Eminem? Becuz of Black People!!!! We can blame the industry to a certain degree. BUt a lot of times, we put ourselves in that box.

Let a brotha talk about being picked on in school or being a nerd. No matter how nice he is on the mic... we're gonna call him soft. Let a black rapper talk about any thing Eminem discuss... like sodomy (like his Ken Kaniff skits) or one of his joints where his step father molesting him (Insane). We'd be questioning his preference making butt pirate jokes & all. If that's not true, look how many turned on Kanye when he admitted he grew up without a pops & developed some feminine traits from his mom & used to get called a fag. And it made him more conscious, but also turned him homophobe as a kid, until he grew out of it & began to support them. Cats quickly started questioning his sexuality after that.

And this is worst. Bizzy Bone was actually molested by his step father as a kid. He never spoke on it, but it came up when his step pop was arrested. Instead of ppl feeling some sort of compassion for the man (b/c that's a hard thing to deal with... especially for a male)... folks start questioning his sexuality. We box ourselves in, which is why every rapper either sounds like the tough guy that never had an ass whipping, overly macho to the point they're Superman with pussy their only Kryptonite. But look at rappers in history that brought about the other side & see where they are. The Kwame's, The Kid'n Play's, The Dana Dane's. ANd although some mainstream rappers have spit about real hardships or personal endeavors, they either go unnoticed (or hardly noticed) as their club joints dictates their sales. And then we wonder why they don't do more deep songs?

Even today with the so-called hipsters in hip hop some labeled as alternative in contrast to the gangsta norm. But it's not their raps that make them hipsters. It's their throwback 80's clothes that sadly were wack back then & geared more towards the Madonnas & Culture Club than it did the Run DMC's or even Afrika Bambaataa. But their raps might not be as violent & sometimes clever, it lacks substance & character. Which.. to me... spells another gimmick. Becuz they talk more about their sneakers than they do life, which is the same as what Diddy did in the 90's under a different term: jiggy.

Over all, the ppl angry about the overratedness of the man called Slim Shady only need to angry at the whole spectrum rather than the man himself. That man's just doing him, & we embrace him. BUt a brutha do it, we want to measure his blackness, his hood credentials & so on. Until we stop putting ourselves in a "black" box, by the next decade, half of the top 10 rappers in the G.O.A.T. list will be white, with Eminem on top, along with Asher Roth as pioneers. While Diddy (or whatever his name will be in 2020) will still be doing Making The Band trying to create the next white rap group.

Say it ain't so? White consumers already control the flow of record sales, not to mention, they own all the major labels force feeding us the crap pushing real artists on independent labels closer to the Matrix or either killing each other off verbally in Fight Clubs & overwhelming the game with mixtapes instead of albums. Plus, they did it to Blacks before with rock music & every other music genre that Blacks originated. That's the reason why Eminem jokes about being the Elvis of Rap, b/c he knows the history & the truth.

Before I conclude, this blog was not written to discredit Eminem or white rappers in general, b/c I am an Eminem fan. I'm just not a Stan. Plus, I applaud & support any emcee perserving the music with lyricism, creativity & emotions. But this to acknowledge as Blacks, we need to stop boxing ourselves into our race allowing for others to step in & do what we should be doing. Being ourselves & not what a label or other Blacks tell us how we supposed to be, what we're supposed to sound like, telling us what's real, what's black, what's hood & so on & so on. Hello... suicide goes on in the hood. Every brutha in the hood is not a gangsta or thug. It's not about keeping it real. It's about keeping it honest. Becuz there are more Blacks out their lost, suicidal, dirt poor, dysfunctional, abandoned, alone & bitter than there are Blacks wealthy, dressed to kill in extravagant cars & jewelry, being escorted by groupies of all genders.

Keep It Honest.


Jay_fever said...

Phenomenal blog man. I thought it was gonna be just about Em's place in the emcees list...but you got a brotha thinking. You're right, if a black rapper spoke the type of stuff or decided to get on some "other" subject matter...even jokingly 9 times out of 10 they are cast in to the fire. It's sad...but hopefully the bravery of some of the mainstream cats (kanye, Wayne, Lupe, Mos, etc.)will help the playing field.

I didn't know that about bizzy...that's messed up.

Phellah G said...

What up Jay? Man, you first one to read this & get what I was saying. I posted this on myspace 5 days ago & most of the comments talked about how Eminem is the hottest rapper now & his contribution, but not the Greatest. But no mention about the advantage he had. Making me wonder did they actually read it.

Muhammad the Harlem Sk8rboi (MIAAR) said...

This was an amazing blog George, and I agree with 95% of it big brother. Eminem is a dope MC & probably one of the top ten from the time in which he was spawn. Unlike many of his competitors in Hip Hop his lyrics are a lot more honest while poking major fun at pop culture. I find him funny b/c in poking fun at popular culture he creates his own pop culture (like "The Real Slim Shady", "Without Me", "Just lose it").
The often unnoticed truth is that Eminem is ALLOWED to be more honest than almost all other rappers b/c of his skin color. It is kind of an inside joke many industry heads have on the rappers of color they manage. These guys had nothing to do with the creation of Hip Hop, but they can decide who can be true in their rhymes & who cannot. The fact that Eminem comes off as this rapper who tells the brutal truth is quite a gimmick, but he does it in such a skillful way one can't hate on him in truth.
Rappers of color don't help by buying into this false reality. However, with ALL of these screaming negatives we both have about these rappers Jay-Z is my favorite among living rappers. You see I can't relate to having the urge to murder my wife & I don't paticularly relate to suicide b/c it never crossed my mind. However I can relate to shootouts around the block b/c unfortunately I was a part of one & I can relate to drugs in the neighborhood & good girls who I let slip away as well as the mindset of hustler with limited upward mobility. Jay-Z embodies all of these things through his rhymes.

Phellah G said...

Man, Muhammad. You hit the nail right on the head. I've heard so many references to Eminem being a breath of fresh air for hip hop... but the way I see it Black emcees aren't allowed to breathe the same sentiments without ridicule. But as a hip hop fan, it's hard to hate on him, b/c he's a dope emcee. BUt as a Black man, it's annoying, especially when you can name drop so many Black emcees that are just as nice... often nicer & just as honest. But ppl will never hear of them unless they dumb down to the buffoonry of the current descriptions of a Black rap superstar.

Jay Z is definitely the exception. But we both know, if not for his history (like so many other 30+ emcees), he wouldn't get the support he does now. If he was to drop a Reasonable Doubt or Blueprint in this day & age as a new artist, he'll be in the same boat as a Little Brother or Royce da 5'9".

But I definitely relate to Jigga, especially as an adult male that made it out of the streets & still going through hardships to stay successful.

Anonymous said...

This dude is mad overrated!!

Phellah G said...

What up anonymous? Str8 2 the point. I like that. lol. But I feel you.

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