Another Oscar’s award show has come and gone just like that, which reminds me once again of the movies that I should watch, along with all the ones I have enjoyed this past year. Personally, I thought the Joker movie was amazing. I won’t spoil anything for you, but I will say that it is an excellent representation of what it means to struggle with your mental health. The movie 1917 was also pretty solid in my humble opinion. After all, the one-shot take made me envision being with the characters in that war setting. I also know without a doubt that I have to see Parasite since it received so much praise and attention. But even in the midst of all the creative works and talented actors, the person that stood out the most to me was one of my all-time idols – Eminem. First of all, I don’t know if he’s been vegan for 40+ years or if it is just genetic, but the guy still looks the same as he did when he first blew up in the early 2000s’ with his raw approach to music in terms of content. Adding to that, he killed it on that Oscar stage as though he was still very much on top of the world. He’s a true gangster, a wordsmith, a fighter, an OG that will never die in the hearts and minds of those who have grown up with him getting into rap feuds, igniting controversy, and so much more in between. The first album I ever bought in the history of my life was “The Eminem Show” back in 2004. Better yet, my all-time favorite song is “Sing for the Moment”. I loved Eminem ever since I was a teenager that needed an outlet to listen to whenever things got hard. But I also could not help but think about his legacy and the reason why he might have been performing. Of course, I know it was to symbolize the profound fact of “the movies that made songs, and the songs that made movies” as Eminem rapped Lose Yourself just before they announced the “Best Original Song” winner. However, when I realized that Eminem had a new album out (it’s dope by the way), I came to understand a troubling reality – my childhood hero is starting to be a little irrelevant. Maybe, I am getting old. Besides, I am sure there are rappers in today’s youth that are popular and memorable in a way that I do not comprehend. But now that I have a platform for myself, I feel as though it is my duty to illustrate to you the lessons that Eminem’s influence in general has taught to his listeners and fans around the world.
Let me begin with the obvious: Eminem is the pure definition of hard work and sacrifice paying off. Put it this way: he was a white rapper in an industry where he was a minority – the equivalent of a pet dog trying to survive in the wild with lions and tigers and hyenas everywhere you look. Moreover, Eminem could have given up, thrown in the towel, go another direction. But yet, the man was determined. He put in the necessary work to refine his craft in order to succeed. And now, he is one of the greatest that ever lived. Eminem’s albums are a blend of his alter ego – Slim Shady – attacking celebrities in diss tracks, along with the intimate stories he expresses to his listeners in tracks like Mockingbird and Cleanin’ Out My Closet. In everything that he has ever done, not once did Eminem have a song about “fame” or “poppin’ bottles” or “having sex with lots of women” or anything like that. It was refreshing at the time and still is to a great extent. And in an industry where sometimes rappers try too hard to prove that they are not living in poverty anymore, Eminem is one of the few artists that has never shied away from it – he lets you feel his pain, brings you into his version of hell, and often times helps the rest of us deal with the personal battles that we might face every day of the week. Maybe, Eminem has a way of implicitly saying that he’s right there with you. It leads me to my next point – he is an advocate for being true to who you are no matter what the universe and the haters might think.
Over the years, Eminem has cursed, insulted, made fun of, and had beef with a lot of people like Mariah Carey, Nick Cannon, Will Smith, Brittany Spears, NSYNC, every fake person ever, Benzino, and as of recently, MGK. But all those diss tracks have one thing in common – Eminem’s heart, the soul of a true artist that fights back not with his fists but with his mind. Adding to that, not once did he ever compromise or allowed someone to push him around. That should be a lesson for all of us – be yourself, no matter what it is that you want to be or do. And if people do not like it, as Eminem would probably say – “fuck them!” Personally, I still remember how Eminem’s music would calm me down whenever I had a bad day, failed a math test, went 3/15 in a basketball game, or anything like that. It’s a power he has that you must experience in your headphones to understand.
Reflecting over what I have wrote in this article so far, I know more than ever the most crucial thing Eminem shows us in his music and everyday life in general – it is better to be hated as yourself than being loved as someone you are not. Maybe, it doesn’t sound like the best example out of all the ones I can list. But the more I see unrealistic bullshit on Instagram about “living your best life” in some tropical location with paid models, the fake photo shopped images of assholes with 100K+ followers that do not look how they do in reality, and the mental health issues that are tied to our modern youth being too addicted to the Internet, the more I realize that the world needs more people just like Eminem. I believe the sad truth is this to a certain extent: the reason why he is not as popular as he was before is due to the fact he is real and not a social media clown that would probably have a meltdown if he/she can’t find a Wi-Fi connection. So, go listen to Eminem’s new album, Google his life story, and enjoy this legend while he is still alive and well. Hopefully, he will inspire you to chase your dreams, and to ultimately self-reflect in whatever problems that you might have in this world. You can do it – make life happen.