Eminem: 10 Years After I First Heard Him
Eminem: a lasting influence
Where did I first read about Eminem, whom I consider as the world’s greatest rapper? He appeared in the 2002 edition of the Guinness World Records over a record he held with one of his songs “Stan”.
2002. The year when he released his multi-platinum opus The Eminem Show. The year when I was first exposed to his music, through the songs Without Me, Stan, The Real Slim Shady, Cleaning Out My Closet and Lose Yourself. And yeah, it was also the year when I robbed him (because I bought a bootlegged cassette tape of his 2002 album).
It was through Eminem a.k.a Marshall Mathers III that I was first exposed to (gangsta) rap. It would take time for me to learn the fact that it was not easy for him at first to break into the music scene, especially in a genre dominated by black artists (Eminem is white, so is Vanilla Ice, the first rapper, black or white, to enjoy commercial success.), in a genre which critics claim, glorifies violence, drug use, sex, booze drinking, etc. (Rap or hip-hop is not bad, and it depends on the artist itself.) I had to admit I learned to use the words which earned his albums the Parental Advisory sticker. (You can guess what these words are, but I never overused them.)
In some way, Eminem is a good role model to me. He is never ashamed of his personal background. He is true to himself and about himself. He is man enough to face his struggles (and his demons) and strong enough to overcome his challenges. He is very creative to channel his thoughts and emotions through cathartic means. His lack of a high school diploma did not render him unsuccessful, and he was really cool about it. He is, after all, real.
His personal and emotional struggles, drug use and rehab, criticisms over the lyrical content of his music and lawsuits did not hinder his talent and his success or did it black the way I look up to him. He is a more positive person, more uplifting than those who make a business out of creating fears in people’s lives.
I am a frustrated rapper wannabe and a frustrated lyricist. I had long abandoned my ambitions to become a rapper-songwriter due to lack of support and resources, so I turned to simple writing, which I am basically good at. By doing good in my writing, I would honor Eminem and thank him for encouraging me to take up the pen.
My song lyrics are in one of my storage boxes, my Eminem t-shirts are in my wardrobe back home, and I am managing my own life now but Eminem will always be in my consciousness. I am fighting and moving on, never giving up, never surrendering like Marshall.
I never met Eminem personally and will never get the chance to do so. But I thank him very much…and yeah, happy belated 40th birthday to him.