The Rap God strikes back! Eminem has always been known to make use of his stature and platform to send strong messages to his fans. Be it for patriotism, his personal life, or just to clown celebrities. But this time, it seems he has taken a strong stand against all the recent events involving none other than the President of the USA – Donald Trump.
This is a one-of-a-kind BET Hip-Hop freestyle and Eminem goes in acapella so you can understand each and every bar that he spews to expose the government, as only he can. We noticed certain things comparing this with the Indian scenario and compiled this list of 5 things you need to understand about this BET Freestyle; not just as a rap fan; but a rap fan from the South-Asian subcontinent.
1) Freedom Of Speech
In the US of A, unlike some countries, the fact that celebrities and public figures get to express their voices so often makes their freedom of speech a little bit more than just a right. It makes it a privilege. People are allowed to mock, openly despise, or even protest against the government. The First Amendment of the US Constitution even states this. And the people including the government (maybe for lack of trying) abides by this.
Recently, Donald Trump told a room full of reporters that their first amendment rights are, and we quote “frankly disgusting”. This can be viewed as Donald Trump also going the way of most of our leaders in the South Asian subcontinent and threatening (and by extension, possibly disowning) the very moral values that hold society in place.
And where freedom of speech is directly threatened, Hip-Hop is directly threatened. The people will not be allowed to speak their mind like they are supposed to under constitutional rights. In India, we have observed this since way back. Artists have always been bullied, threatened by death threats and some people have even been lynched for expressing one’s views against the government. India does not have the same tolerance towards freedom of speech as Western countries.
Eminem, among many others, is a beacon to all artists about how we all can unite and stand as one. He even says something of the sort towards the end of this freestyle. Freedom for one must be freedom for all, or it is no freedom at all.
The most prevalent tone in the verse boils down to racism. When African Americans protest peacefully, they get frowned upon and are forcefully retracted. At the same time the country sees white supremacists groups like the Klu Klux Klan waving Confederate and Nazi flags all the while openly carrying their licensed weapons without facing backlash is astonishing enough.
This is just a tiny example of the racism situation in the West. In the South Asian continent, we observe the same level of racism in the form of casteism/religious bias, but they are subdued or neglected due to ignorance, negligence or even the same lack of freedom of speech as mentioned earlier.
South Asian artists have a responsibility towards each other and their communities to speak about these issues and to read and spread the message of equality. Black/Brown lives matter more because of the ongoing ‘silent oppression’ that we face every single day in our lives around the world. And as artists we have the power to reach out to more people.
3) The Plight of The People
The uprising of white supremacists groups across America due to the coming of power of Donald Trump is also highlighted in this cypher. White privilege has always had people think that they have the power to do what it is they wish to do, but now that the same image reflects in one of the most powerful positions on the planet, they have started to outrightly express this idea.
This factor remains the same throughout the world. Society has been shaped into such a way that people of power implicitly influence these fanatic groups and without any resistance from the same people in power, they feel right at home.
Even in India, radical groups that identify with certain castes, religions or race have subtly and explicitly influenced politics around the region. This has led to the rise of radical groups within our nation. Corresponding to whichever party may be in power, these groups shall rise and remain. We have been utterly tolerant to this and that is the way it has always been. Indians have completely adapted to the proverbial ‘bliss’ in ‘ignorance’.
Hip-Hop is a culture that grew from revolt and resistance. We as artists need to first educate ourselves, then highlight these important factors in society in any and every way possible.
4) Everybody vs. Trump
Trump has been completely dodging the crisis in Puerto Rico and getting into a deep Twitter beef with NFL teams. He was also on the headlines recently when he lashed out at NBA Champion Steph Curry on Twitter for declining the invitation to the White House.
This is a President that cares less or very little about the people he represents. He has over time, taken hypocritical stances over his own promises (cc: Melania Trump) and all in all looks like he doesn’t really understand the implications of the shoes he walks in everyday.
Trump supporters look at him as a white saviour, here to repair what Obama couldn’t fix. But the underlying facts are that Trump isn’t here for them at all. It’s a surprise (and a shame) that he hasn’t been impeached already. It truly is everybody vs. Trump.
5) Eminem – The White G.O.A.T
Eminem is a representative of Hip-Hop & White America. This man has taken black culture on his back since the time he decided to write his first rhymes. Since then he has never dropped the ball. He has been a man on a mission. He represents a part of the people who may never understand the plight of people of colour. But he has single-handedly introduced them into the culture.
And in doing so, Eminem has changed the way people of both races view each other. He is a defining line that stands for unity. Him taking a stand really just translates to “to hell with white privilege and white power, equality is for all”.
Since the early days he has had to fight his way to prove himself worthy of a predominantly black culture. And many years later he has done just that. This cypher is another stripe on his shirt.