Eminem's contribution to cultureby Bill MuehlenbergNews Weekly
, June 16, 2001
Not too long ago many young people excitedly proclaimed, "Santa Claus is coming to town". Well, times have changed. Today, young people are more likely to be chanting, "Eminem is coming to town". To which many parents might reply, "Emin-who?" For the culturally deprived, Eminem happens to be America's number one rap musician. He also happens to be, in the view of his critics, a foul-mouthed brat who needs to grow up.
His two albums have sold in the millions world-wide, and many children are happy to dish out $30 to get his latest CD. What makes Eminem so special is the extreme ugliness and profanity of his songs. Many other rappers have delved in dirt, but Eminem seems to take the prize for out-dirting his peers. His lyrics are amongst the most vile that can be found. Consider "Kim", is about Eminem (real name, Marshall Mathers) killing his girlfriend and her husband and son. In part it goes like this:
You can't run from me Kim
It's just us, nobody else!
You're only making this harder on yourself
Ha! Ha! Got'cha! Ahh!
Ha! Go ahead yell!
Here I'll scream with you!
Ah somebody help
Don't you get it b__ch, no one can hear you?
Now shut the f__k up and get what's comin to you
You were supposed to love me
Now bleed, b__ch bleed!
Bleed! B__ch bleed! bleed!
Or consider the following edifying words from "Kill You":
I invented violence you vile venomous vomital b__ches
Vain, vicadin, rin-rin-rin
Touch this chainsaw, left his brains all
Dangling from his neck while his head barely hangs on
Blood, guts, guns, cuts, knives, lives, wives, nuns, sluts
B__ch, I'm-a kill you
You don't wanna f__k with me, girls leave, you ain't nothin' but a slut to me
B__ch, I'm-a kill you
Eminem is of course not alone in all this glorification of ugliness, hatred and violence. Other groups come to mind, as already mentioned. And such groups are not confined to overseas. A recent news report told of how Tasmanian police seized CDs from a local heavy-metal band. The lyrics spoke of detailed sex with young girls, bestiality, murder, and mutilation of babies. The Burnie band, Intense Hammer Rage, had their albums seized after being produced in America. The album cover of their latest CD features a man having sex with a naked, apparently rotten, headless female (Herald Sun, May 6, 2001).
Obviously music has changed a lot over the years. In 1953 the number one hit was "How Much is That Doggie in the Window?" by Patti Page. Ten years later the Beatles were singing "I Wanna Hold Your Hand". If parents were concerned about the Rolling Stones in the 60s and 70s, they have a lot more to be worried about these days.