SotD - Saturday Throwback: Eminem, My Name Is

Song of the Day (SotD) is our choice of a single or album track that we think you need to hear. However, instead of the new music featured through the week, Saturday Throwback is a track from back in the day to kick off your weekend in style. After a week of rapping from Nate McKenzie, Susan Omand listens to Marshall Mathers III...

There was a time when LL Cool J and Ice T weren’t TV Detectives. There was a time when you knew, if you had a Volkswagen, that you would lose your car badge. And there was a time when P Puffy Diddy Daddy Sean Coombs was actually a respected musician... OK, maybe there wasn’t, but at least there was a time when Snoop Dogg wasn’t a parody of himself. Yes, many hip-hop/rap artists have come and gone, burned out (or been burned by others) and faded away but there has been one name consistent with the genre for the past 25 years and that is Eminem.

Throughout history there have been storytellers who have used rhyme and song to make their point. From ancient Viking sagas, through lute playing minstrels to the American spirituals, making your story rhyme made it easier for people to remember and pass on. In today’s music (sweeping generalisation coming up – I know there are a few exceptions to the rule) the lyrics are deemed as mostly unimportant and are often used just as a background rhythm, like percussion. In fact the percussion is often more expressive than the words in a lot of the, almost purely tribal, music that hits the charts these days. So I take heart from the fact there are still lyricists like Eminem out there, who actually care that their words tell a story, that the lines scan to the same rhythm and that it rhymes in all the right places.

I count Eminem in my top five poets because of the care he takes over the structure of his words and because his stories hit home every single time as a heartfelt emotional slap. Who would have thought that a lower-middle-class white boy from Missouri would have thrived in a previously underground genre of music and made it his own, survived the rise and fall of its commercialisation, made the most of his celebrity and weathered the inherent scandals without ever selling out on his artistry or feeling the need to constantly “re-invent” himself while still remaining relevant.

This is one of the first songs I heard of his. Off of that I bought the Slim Shady album and the rest is history.

Ladies and gentlemen, My Name Is...

Image - Amazon

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