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No Easy Rise to Fame

Yet even though the album was a success, and critics saw this as a more mature Eminem who according to Sal Cinquemani, “peels back some of the bullshit facade and reveals a little bit more of the real Marshall Mathers” his use of intense profanity in his lyrics had many parents concerned about his influence on so many young children who were listening to his music. To deal with this, Eminem released a clean version of the album where most of the profanity is edited out with a few exceptions on certain songs, but Eminem has stood strongly on his stance of using profanity. In an interview with 60 minutes in 2011, Eminem told Anderson Cooper that profanity was something he grew up with and that he didn’t invent saying offensive things. He actually felt that he was being singled out because of the color of his skin and when asked about why he doesn’t feel guilty about young children using profanity as a result of his music, he stated “I feel like it’s your job to parent them. If you’re the parent, be a parent.” In his book The Way I Am, Eminem also mentions how he never uses profanity around his own daughters to make sure that they understand that there is a difference between their father’s career and personal life.

This album is helpful for my project because I am currently looking into hip hop and the influence it had on the world during the era of MTV and currently as it develops to a global stage. Previous rappers like Vanilla Ice and Beastie Boys were viewed more as white males excelling in a “black mans” game.[1] This was due to their sound which still had to appease to the mainstream “white” audience. Since Eminem worked closely with Dr. Dre, you would think that there would be a hint of the West Coast sound, but interestingly enough Eminem doesn’t fall under either “Coast” of hip-hop. This is because Eminem focused heavily on his lyrics and the stories that he told within them. In his book Angry Blonde, Eminem talks about how he grew up in Detroit in a predominantly black area and more importantly, around the culture of hip hop. He attended many underground rap battles to gain legitimacy, but struggled to do so because of the color of his skin. This stayed with Eminem throughout his career until Dr. Dre gave him a chance when everyone was telling him not to. A reference to that can be found in the song “I Need a Doctor” featuring Dr. Dre.

It was you, who believed in me

When everyone was telling you don’t sign me

Everyone at the fucking label, lets tell the truth

You risked your career for me

I know it as well as you

Nobody wanted to fuck with the white boy

Dre, I’m crying in this booth.[2]

 

[1] “8 Mile.” Universal Studio, 2003.

 

[2] “Dr. Dre (Ft. Eminem & Skylar Grey) – I Need a Doctor.” Genius, Genius Media Group Inc., 1 Feb. 2011, genius.com/Dr-dre-i-need-a-doctor-lyrics.

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