The Unheralded Greatness of Eminem

The Unheralded Greatness of Eminem

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It’s been a rough week or so for me. I’d love to vent and go into details but this is not the place let’s face it; you don’t really want to hear it. So I do what I usually do when I’m down and need to be pumped up. I blast Eminem through my headphones for a good hour. Yeah, I can feel the fight enter my body. And as I did this it made me realize what’s always missed in articles about his popularity. Rap is prone to fads like all popular music.
 
An artist might seem unstoppable for two years only to fall off the face of the earth the next year. Not Eminem he’s been a top figure in rap over a decade. How does one account for this.
For one thing when he debuted he was the right rapper at the right time. Rap was inching into the mainstream; but it needed a catalyst to propel into the news and the pop charts. Enter Eminem with his great lyrical skill, shocking lyrics, and great beat from Dr. Dre. He was unstoppable. From 1999 to 2005 there wasn’t a bigger artist and when he made a genuine return in 2010 he regained the top spot like he hadn’t left.
That summer felt like a flashback to me. It was so strange to hear Eminem blasting out of every car that passed me on the street. It made me feel like I was back in high school. And again why has his popularity continue to last even with the ever changing landscape of music. Sure his lyrics tend to get him press but shock value doesn’t mean success. And for his lyrical skill while it is great there are hundreds of rappers you have never heard of them with brilliant lyrics. So that can’t be it completely. No, the reason his success has continued to last is because he is flawed.

Let me explain. The great artists connect on a level that has nothing to with musicianship. It’s not about authenticity. A subject far too many artists get hung up on; trying to prove they are just like us. No, what Eminem has done is become a reflection of us. He projects our struggles, our anger, and our frustrations. And better yet he shows us what it looks like to overcome it. And I believe that is what keeps bringing his audience back to him. He reminds us of us and in the same breath shows us what we can accomplish. And that’s why on a rough week you’ll find Eminem in rotation on my IPod because there is no better music to motivate yourself to. Its great therapy to hear someone vent your anger for you and at the same time motivates you to overcome it.