When I hear the name Eminem, the first thing that comes to mind is a white rapper and that most likely is the same for most people as well. What most people don’t know is who he really is and where he came from until you listen to his music. Hip-hop has been historically known to be a part predominantly African American culture, but since the birth of its existence in the 1970s and it’s popularization by MTV in August 1988, other cultures have started adopting hip hop into their own. Eminem was one of the most influential rappers in hip-hop who dealt with issue of racism, poverty and violence within his lyrics that captured a certain personality that poked fun at himself at times, and his songs “The Real Slim Shady” and “My Name Is” from his album The Eminem and The Slim Shady LP respectively, opened the gate for other artists like the Higher Brothers to add their own twist on the subgenre of rap whether it be using a different language, combining languages, or telling a story while at the same time, staying true to the sound of hip hop through instrumentation, rhythm and tempo.
One of the most commercially successful songs from the album was “Without Me” where Eminem addressed many critics of his alter ego Slim Shady. After his success with The Marshall Mathers LP this song can be considered a sequel to the song “The Real Slim Shady”. The album from which this song was released was called The Eminem Show and was the fourth studio album released by the Detroit MC. It was released on May 26, 2002 and it was his second album to go Diamond in the United States would reach the number one spot in 19 different countries and was the best-selling album of 2002. The album would be nominated for a Grammy in 2003 and won the award for best Rap Album. In simpler terms, Eminem’s message in the song is that he is back to save the world which is a reference to his role in the music industry and his effects on the culture of hip hop. Within the song lyrically, Eminem pokes fun at the likes of Dick Cheney, Chris Kirkpatrick, and even Prince. He also attacks his own mother in one of his lines for the lawsuit she filed for the slander of her name in one of his earlier songs. The song uses samples from songs such as “Rap Name” by Obie Trice, “E” by DrunkenMonkey, and “Buffalo Gals” by Malcolm McLaren. This is important because this ties into the sound that Eminem was trying to produce. In the Kajikawa reading we did in class, she talks about how Eminem used a more traditional New York sound in most of his songs which was interesting because his producer, Dr. Dre, was from the West Coast, which was known for using more funk in their sound.