“They are asking me to eliminate some of the women hate, but if you take into consideration some of the bitter hatred I had… (Eminem lyric from “Rap God”)
Eminem released his 8th studio album entitled The Marshall Mathers LP 2 and some have questioned whether society could do without the endless violent misogynist. An academic study (2004) by Edward Armstrong found that in his first four albums, violent misogynistic lyrics appeared in 63% of his songs while artists of gangsta rap’s foundational period only 22% of their songs had similar lyrics. Yet the 2nd Marshall Mathers LP has a different tone than previous albums. Eminem appears more self-critical and less aggressive in what he is saying. Yes, he still has signature Eminem rants threatening violence and mimicking death and murder but these sections come after verses of self-doubt and reflection on media and fan criticism. While Kanye West’s pride is shooting to the stars with songs like ‘I am a god’ Eminem has become less interested in shocking and more interested in making technically excellent rap that has meaning to him. In his song entitled Rap God’, which musically alludes to Kanye’s song, Eminem combines boasts, lyrical play, complicated rhymes, meaningless words, and words that have more meaning than we give Eminem credit for. Yes, at times Eminem’s songs contain violent misogynistic language. Yes, this is problematic and a difficult issue to navigate as a society. But The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is a reflective, angry, playful, and, perhaps, more ‘mature’ than his previous releases.
[Micah van Dijk]