Eminem Isn't a Sellout: In Defense of Marshall Mathers

Categories: Talking Shit

eminem_come_back.jpg

Marshall Mathers deserves your respect.

He was dealt a real shitty deck in life. His father left him as a baby. His mother mentally abused him. He grew up poor as shit in the bad really bad part of Detroit. And still, he overcame it all to stake a claim for white people in hip-hop, reversing the decade of shame brought on by Vanilla Ice. Artists like Macklemore and Mac Miller wouldn't have a career if not for the work that Eminem did in the '90s.

He went on to overcome addiction and terrible personal problems, and now he's back with a new record that reflects his journey and struggle, but everybody just wants to mislabel him a "sellout." To paraphrase a probably coked-out gay dude on YouTube, y'all need to "leave Eminem alone." Here's why.

See also: Top Ten Molly References in Rap Music, From Rick Ross to Eminem

The most recent controversy stems from Em's latest song, "Berzerk," the lead single off his forthcoming album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2. Honestly speaking, the title of the record is the true seed of discontent. Fans immediately doubt that the follow-up to a true classic can live up to expectations. But that's the wrong way to approach it.

Instead, we must realize the title implies a return to the artist's roots, and in fact, from the very first "Berzerk" lyric, Mathers lays it out: "Now this shit's about to kick off, this party looks wack/Let's take it back to straight hip-hop and start it from scratch." Just like in the O.G. days of Brooklyn's budding scene, he bases the hook on a sample from an '80s song -- in this case, Billy Squire's "The Stroke."

He continues the allusion to rap's early period with the song's heavy Beastie Boys influence, the most notable white rappers to precede his own rise to fame. The song samples the Beasties and pays visual homage to their "So What Cha Want" vid.

Problematically, people take issue with the use of the guitar sample and the vocal style. Uninformed individuals see it as a "sellout" move, considering it too catchy or poppy. But c'mon, he's not rapping over Avicii like Flo Rida or Pitbull. He's being true to his roots, as the album title and lyrical content implies. Lest we forget, selling out means compromising your artistic values in return for inflated record sales. It doesn't mean switching up your style because it's the natural next stage of your artistic evolution.


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8 comments
voiceofreason
voiceofreason

OK but survival is basically a call of duty commercial.. if that's not selling out i dont know what is.  Eminem should have retired after The Eminem Show.

arjberjay
arjberjay

Hip Hop started in the South Bronx (the South South Bronx) not Brooklyn

Ked Killjoy
Ked Killjoy

Dont understand why people are calling him a sellout. Why because he mixed old school rap with new school rap? Yeah its not as good as any song on his Mashall Mathers LP album, face it hell never be able to top that album, but its still a good song. The only people that I see that dont like it so far is people that dont like old school rap music. Im glad his still doing music, im glad his off the drugs and im glad he took a chance with this song. Emniem will always be a respected rap artist and one of the top 5 rap artist of all time in my book.

Alex Anico
Alex Anico

it was hilarious watching him squirm on live tv during the michigan game.

Ryan M Preston
Ryan M Preston

dont get me wrong he is a fuckin talented rapper, one of the best but i just dont like where he has gone since he got out of rehab

Ryan M Preston
Ryan M Preston

very interesting. seems as though this new album has good intentions but i also read somewhere else that Pink and Rihanna are involved in it. I just see that as him name dropping to open up to a wider market. Once the targeted pop demographic see's there names, they will listen and if they like it, they will spread it causing a sales inflation. there are plenty of underground artists that the pop world haven't heard before that could do the same job just as good if not better. and for me, voices i haven't heard before give me a far bigger buzz that voices i hear everyday...

Matt Hill
Matt Hill

Ryan M Preston whatcha reckon mate?

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