And how Eminem’s effort paled in comparison.
I’m a 20 year old white English male from a very good background. I think this is worth opening with, as it will probably explain any ignorance I have to what it’s like to be black in 2017. For the most part, I think I do an okay job at being sympathetic with what it might be like to be a minority, although I’m still ultimately clueless.
To this date I think J Cole’s song Neighbours was the most relatable song I’ve listened to in regards to racism. In the song, his neighbours assume he’s a drug dealer because he’s able to afford a suburban home. At the very least, I could understand how people will make assumptions based on appearance. For example, I was in my friend’s brand new Ford Fiesta once and the police blocked us off in a car park so they could search the car, check it wasn’t stolen, breathalyse us, and question us.
Joyner Lucas’s new song I’m Not Racist pretty much lists every racist argument that alt-right men have, and also provides the viewpoint of a black male struggling with his life; marrying two very opposite voices in an overall positive and meaningful song. Not only do I get to hear the struggles of being black in America, but also what has resulted in the alt-right voice being created. It manages to avoid being condescending by humanising both sides, which has avoided a lot of backlash.
On the other hand, Eminem’s Untouchable is tone-deaf in comparison.
I appreciate Eminem is trying to help spread awareness to his massive audience, but all I can hear when he raps is the voice of a white man worth £142 million. Whether it’s because he’s such a huge name within the industry, or because his lyrics are distasteful; no matter what side of the argument you sit he comes across as ignorant.
He wants to reach out to working class white people and spread awareness of racial tensions, yet by having the chorus as “White boy, white boy, you’re a rockstar” he’s insulting his audience. The implication of the chorus being that white men can’t understand what it’s like to have it tough, because all our lives are that of a rockstar. Many of his fans living in poverty may not agree.
It’s more provocative than anything. He’s kicked the hornets nest, creating more backlash and controversy.
Eminem can create outstanding lyrics, listen to Campaign Speech for example. When it comes to racial issues, he seems out of place. When so many voices (J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Joyner Lucas) make the issue so understandable, it seems unnecessary for him to chime in, especially when he’s so renowned for generally having an anti-SJW voice.
There are other ways for him to get this message out to his fans. Maybe feature in other artists’ songs, share other songs through social media, or publicise it himself; all seem to make more sense than him trying to play the voice of reason.