April 3, 2007
Prof Gus Lease
Eminem: an American Icon, is he? Or is he not?
Eminem is one of the most if not the most talented rap artist to ever step up to the microphone. Although he may be one of the most talented rappers to ever perform, he is also one of the most controversial. Teenagers and young children seem to really enjoy Eminem's lyrics but parents and the media are outraged. Eminem doesn't hold his tongue for anyone. In America we are given the right to freedom of speech. He uses this to his advantage and says what he has to say and this is part of the problem that the media has with Eminem. So in this essay I will explain why Eminem is looked at as an American icon, or is he? Marshall Mathers III (Eminem) was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on October 17, 1974, and throughout his childhood went back and forth between Kansas City and Detroit. He was raised by his mother Debbie Mathers-Briggs who was a single mother. Mathers never knew his father; however his mother claimed that the two of them were married at the Time of Mathers's birth. Eminem then became irritated and frustrated because he kept moving from city to city and had very little time to make friends; instead Eminem began to really take interest in TV and reading books. He attended Lincoln Junior High School and Osborn High School, and began to really listen to rap music, LL Cool J in particular, who was a very popular rap artist at the time. During this time Mathers also made friends, and began to rap. He discovered he had talent and began challenging other Rappers in rap battles around the Detroit area. He began to do extremely well in rapping, but not in the classroom. Eminem failed the ninth grade and eventually dropped out of school before he could finish and receive his diploma. Mathers began to work, but at the same time he also worked on his lyrical skill, and very shortly became a huge star, not only because of his skill, but because he was a white male in a black mans profession. He began working with different groups. These groups included Basement Productions, the New Jacks, and Sole Intent. After working with all these groups and building his reputation throughout the Detroit area, Mathers finally went solo in 1997. The local Hip-hop community did not really feel his music at, but he ignored the criticism and determinedly promoted himself through radio stations and freestyle competitions across the country. He was finally recognized as a true talent and was mentioned in the Source Magazines, "Unsigned Hype," section which featured in the past other great hip hop artist such as Notorious B.I.G. and by the end of the year he had won the 1997 Wake up Show Freestyle Performer of the Year award from Los Angeles' DJ Sway and High Tech. Eminem also took second place in Rap Sheet Magazine's "Rap Olympics," which is the largest rap competition in the country and is held every year in Los Angeles. His Slim Shady LP in early 1998 not only made him an underground star, It also got the attention of the legendary Dr. Dre, the president of Aftermath Entertainment and hip hop legend. Dr. Dre signed Eminem to his label, and within an hour after their meeting, the two began working on Eminem's first single" My Name Is". When Slim Shady finally came out, it debuted as number three On the Billboard album chart. Most of Eminem's songs depicted rape, violence, and drug use and they disgusted most parents and the media around the world. Some of his lyrics were directed at His own mother, and at the mother of his daughter Hailey. The song "97 Bonnie and Clyde" has Mathers fantasizing about killing the mother of his child and this outraged many. This also led to a lawsuit by his baby's mother. Eminem anthem Slim Shady caused a national uproar. USA Today editor Edna Gunderson reviewed the album that was causing the uproar. "The first release on Dr. Dre's Aftermath label is a marvel of entertaining contradictions," she...