The day I realized I was going to see Eminem Live in Concert (thanks to two lovely concert fairies) I was filled with an adrenaline I haven’t felt in almost a decade.
See, Eminem’s music transports me back to my 14-year old self, blaring my Sony Walkman, bopping my head and silently mouthing the words, hoping my parents wouldn’t hear. Eminem was my generation’s secret. He was a symbol of rebellion, of aggression, of bravery. I have never listened to Eminem’s music (even now, as a respectable independent adult without raging hormones) without feeling inexplicably and unbelievably alive. Even the most vulgar of his music can fill me with adrenaline like no other artist has ever managed to do.
See, it doesnt matter that Im a feminist. Eminem will always be the exception. I have never seen him as the artist who raps about rape, murder and whores. Instead, I acknowledge him as the father of Lose Yourself, Sing for the Moment and Not Afraid; songs that define creative rebellion and artistic freedom. Of art for art’s sake. Of creating because you love to. I acknowledge him as the man behind Stan (which my iTunes informs me I have listened to 219 times in the past few months alone) which has been referred to as “a cultural milestone”.
See, people talk about Eminem as a monster, a sexist pig, a homophobe, a cruel son and husband. Have these people heard When I’m Gone, Mockingbird, or Hailie’s Song? I have, and I hear a man who loves as much as he hates. A man who not only worships his daughter, but a man who adopted two little girls related to his ex-wife, neither of whom are related by blood. These three little girls have been serenaded by one of the greatest rappers of all time, and been promised of his lifelong devotion. I hear a man who sings, “have you ever loved someone so much, you’d give an arm for? not the expression, no, literally give an arm for? when they know they’re your heart, and you know you were their armor?”
See, Eminem transcends genre, race, gender and religion. If you belong to my generation, you love him unconditionally. It doesnt matter if you’re a metalhead like The S.O, or a trance&hiphop addict like my work soulmate, or even a rock&jazz geek like myself. You still love Eminem for reasons you can’t explain with any clarity.
All you know is that he makes your heart beat a little faster, he makes your palms a little sweatier.
All I know is, when I heard him sing last night, I felt it in my blood.