Marshall Mathers for Mayor? Maybe.
When Marshall Mathers (also known as Eminem) decided to take a stand against the tyranny of Mr. Donald Trump by performing a razor sharp acapella battle rap at this year’s BET Hip Hop Awards, he did three things.
The first thing that he did was become the unofficial leader of the Hip Hop revolt against Donald Trump. Other rappers have dropped anti-Donald Trump songs as well, but clearly, none rose to the notoriety of Eminem’s staccato hot take on the president’s performance. The song that immediately comes to mind is Compton rapper YG’s “FDT.” While that song did make noise on the west coast and beyond, it’s controversy was limited because it’s exposure was limited. YG is a more of a regional rapper. Eminem, however, makes stadium music and when he decided to drop this message instead “just rapping,” he may have possibly changed the momentum of his career. But hold that thought.
The second thing Eminem did was alienate 40-50% of his core base with what many have considered to be anti-American rhetoric. Since the beginning of his career, beyond his ability to rap better than a bunch of the other
Black guys, Eminem possesses certain qualities that made it easy for the run-of-the-mill Hiphopolis denizen to overlook cultural origination. But for the most part, at the height of his stellar career, Eminem was the quintessential, All-American, (literally) blue-eyed and blond haired white dude. And those are the kids that gravitated to and rocked with him, still, up until. Those are the kids that identified with the old Eminem. The Eminem that didn’t give a damn about anything except getting as high as they possibly could on any drug they could find. He said it himself, he’s drawing a “line in the sand” and you have to pick a side. For what it’s worth, I saw Hip Hop legend Lil B gets jumped by a bunch of new school rappers. I’m well aware of how dire picking a side is, especially where rap music and politics converge.
The third thing that Eminem did was make it virtually impossible for him to rap about anything else in the future. Hear me out. He’s never made songs about secular, shallow, shiny things, because he’s not that type of artist. No reason to start now.
At this point in his career, he claims to be drug-free, so any relapse (no pun intended) or acting like he had one for “marketing purposes” would seem like he’s a man in need of help, not a superstar rapper climbing his way back to the top.
And he’s already proven that he is possibly the most technically lyrical rapper ever, so there’s nothing left to boast about in that domain. Bottom line, in my opinion, he’s dropping a new album later this year, and I can totally see him rapping about politically powerful and socially relevant topics and issues.
Why not? He’s old now. Might be a cool change of pace.
I believe Hip Hop, as a whole, would graciously accept Eminem using his gravity to sprinkle the masses with some much-needed information, perspectives, and points of view that may otherwise go overlooked. (See: YG.) As many did with the BET performance, people will quickly try to make it about race. It may very well be about race, but there’s not much that we can do about it if we do nothing at all. The least we can do, as a collective, is to not only not look a gift horse in the mouth, but know when something — or someone — does more help than harm.
In all seriousness, I doubt Eminem is considering a run for any sort of official position. But with the amount of political brouhaha that he stirred up during his very personal calling out of Mr. Donald Trump, it’s clear Em (still) has the authority to command and mobilize people. His brother from another mother, Kid Rock, is currently attempting to jump from music to politics, so it’s not an outlandish move. The difference here, though, is people aren’t taking Kid Rock seriously. Not because of his platform, but because I don’t think anyone ever took him seriously to begin with.
Get your Mathers 2020 sign together now and avoid the long lines at your local arts and crafts store.
Words by Tony Grands | firstname.lastname@example.org