Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
1/18/2004 1:54:09 PM
Tags and topics realted to this article include Eminem.
There's something in the way of things. At the end of The Roots' Phrenology, poet Amiri Baraka warned of an in?uential force that no one would name. Hip-Hop is being driven by something but isn't driven by anything. No, it's not just Eminem. That would be giving him too much credit. But he is a symptom of it. A symptom of
our reluctance to take control of what we created instead of being idle participants. That "something" in the way is a jarring emptiness and lack of focus. Turbulence. But in the pages that follow, The Source takes the controls and allows our artists, politicians and readers to finally confront the forces of racism, sexism and denial that are slowly killing our culture.
The Source uncovers the startling truth about
Marshall Mathers and the racist comments
that have Hip-Hop patiently waiting for answers
Words by Kim Osorio
Let's do the math. If Eminem were Black, he would have sold half-or a lot less than half. His story, that of a skilled lyricist born and raised in Detroit, fully immersed in Hip-Hop culture and struggling through lyrical battles until he finally triumphs at the top, has been hyped up as if it were something really special. But in truth, it's really just the same story as many Black rappers'. If you think about it, it could have easily been his boy Proof, a member of D12 known in his community to be an equally skilled MC. But it wasn't.
Today, Marshall Mathers III, a White MC born in St. Joseph, Missouri, is rap's biggest success story. Without a doubt, he is a very skilled rapper-maybe one of the best. After all, his independent work garnered critical acclaim and earned Em a spot in the coveted Unsigned Hype column in this magazine before he was ever signed. In his seven-year career, Eminem has released three major-label albums, sold over 20-million records worldwide, started his own Hip-Hop label, and has been called a genius by Rolling Stone. But his race has earned him privileges. He marched into the MTV Video Music Awards with over 100 clones of himself, something no Black rapper would have been allowed to do.
Arguably, there is a desire on the part of top executives at major media outlets and corporations like MTV, which has had, at best, a shaky history of dealing with Black music, to see a White person in Hip-Hop slide into the top spot. But because Hip-Hop represents the oppressed communities and speaks for the victims of the embedded racist structure that is still prevalent in this country, there is a risk when these tendencies go unchecked. It is, in fact, the duty of these corporations who are involved in Hip-Hop to be sensitive to these issues. And now, the harsh reality is that the people that have laid down the foundation, along with the younger generation for whom it was created, are being forced out of the one thing they have that truly gives them a voice.
Until recently, Eminem has seemed very careful about his place as a White rapper in a predominantly African American and Latino Hip-Hop culture. And in a November 2002 Vibe article, he had this to say about using the word "nigger": "It's not my place to say it. There's some things that I just don't do."
But on an old recording (produced by White beatmakers he no longer works with), which was given to The Source in October of last year, Eminem opposes dating Black women "'cause I don't like that nigger shit." On another song he calls Black people "moon crickets," "spear chuckers" and "porch monkeys."
To put it in perspective, remember this is a White rapper with the ability to influence millions of minds who is saying these things to other White people behind closed doors.
To date, few Hip-Hop players have called Marshall Mathers out on these racist comments, probably because he holds so much power in the game, but there is a growing chorus of dissent among Black leaders outside of the music industry. And many of the people near his beloved 8 Mile, p
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