Council for the Defense: Eminem
Tip o'the rock to SNN for the source material. (She knows who she is.)
It has been brought to my attention that Detroit-based rap star Eminem (aka Marshall Mathers) may well have decided to call it a career.
Some are saying that there would be a great shift in the tides of popular culture if he does, that there would be much wailing and gnashing of teeth or some such.
Some others, I'm sure, are probably very relieved at this news.
Well, that's all well and good. Personally, I don't know that I would notice much of a difference myself. Let's face it...these days, when he's not on stage, he seems to do his level best to keep himself to himself. And as far as his stage persona is concerned...well, if it ain't him up there, it'll be someone else eventually.
But humor me for a second here, if you please. Because I think there's something here that needs saying.
Lord knows, I don't agree with a lot of what he says. I've listened to a goodly chunk of his work, and certainly much of the content therein is validly objectionable. I wouldn't want my young son listening to Eminem's stuff until he's old enough to take it with a pound or two of contextual salt.
Having said that, I will now say this:
If there was ever a case study of how freedom of expression (and a good dose of old-fashioned Western capitalism) enables talented people to succeed through individual effort, Eminem is it.
Say what you will, folks, but it cannot be denied that he has an almost unnatural knack for clever wordplay. I can think of many an artist working today without half of his sense of rhyme, rhythm and delivery. In short, the man can flow like few others.
And yes, he had help starting out, courtesy of his producer and mentor Dr. Dre....but who hasn't needed a little help now and then? We all have to start somewhere, and if I understand correctly, there's not many lower places to start from than where Marshall did.
In any case, he took his talent, put a hefty dollop of elbow grease on it, and went on to forge the kind of lifestyle that we can all afford to be a little jealous of now and then, if only to ourselves. (I mean, really...how many of us have never dreamed of being able to effectively retire in style at 33, am I right?)
And so, I do not wish him ill for being who he is and doing what he does. I would simply like to extend my congratulations to him, for having become successful at it.
Although I must confess...it would be nice to have one less reason to fear what my son may hear on the radio in the years to come.