Rapper Eminem released a brand-new track ahead of the final presidential debate titled “Campaign Speech.” The seven-minute freestyle rap covers a wide range of controversial news events that have surfaced during this election season — from the killing of Trayvon Martin, to Charleston church gunman Dylann Roof, to 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his anti-cop demonstrations.
Given the rap’s title, it’s no surprise that Donald Trump gets a mention. What is surprising, however, is the fact that Eminem of all people chose to bash Trump and his supporters, considering how much he and the Republican nominee have in common.
First, he goes after Trump supporters:
Run the faucet, I'm a dunk
A bunch of Trump supporters underwater
Then, he turns to Trump, apparently condemning the nominee’s brash, unapologetic rhetoric:
You say Trump don't kiss a** like a puppet
'Cause he runs his campaign with his own cash for the fundin'
And that's what you wanted
A f***in' loose cannon who's blunt with his hand on the button
Who doesn't have to answer to no one — great idea!
Unlike others in the rap industry, “Slim Shady” hasn’t openly endorsed Hillary Clinton, or any candidate. Like Trump, he’s anti-establishment — he’s universally offensive.
But regardless of whether he sees it or not, Trump is the Eminem candidate. Like the rapper, Trump is explicit, vulgar, and unapologetic. He’s anti-PC and he’s anti-elitism. Both Trump and Eminem have endured the intense backlash of liberal elites.
Before music moguls like Dr. Dre began recognizing his potential as an artist, Eminem (given name: Marshall Mathers) was just a poor white “trailer trash” boy from the Detroit area who had more in common with inner-city blacks than any other group. He highlights this point in his 2002 song “White America,” which describes his rise to the world of mainstream rap.
In the song, Eminem criticizes upper-class white parents who are upset to discover the white rapper voicing the same concerns and in the same manner as so many black rappers have done since the genre was born. He mocks upper-class whites for overreacting to his use of profanity, violence, and sexual expletives, as if they had expected him to be some sort of “spokesman” or “poster child” for their values.
After reminding his critics of his impoverished background and minimal education in “White America,” Eminem claims that if he were black, his record sales would be cut in half. At one point in the song, Eminem rebukes Congress for labeling him a troublemaker and condemns hypocritical attacks on his freedom of speech.
The following lines from “White America” convey his resentment and frustration: “I shoveled sh*t all my life, and now I’m dumping it on White America”; “Hip hop was never a problem in Harlem, only in Boston”; “Look at these eyes, baby blue, baby just like yourself; If they were brown, Shady’d lose, Shady sits on the shelf.”
That album, “The Eminem Show,” sold 10 million copies and won a Grammy — one of 15 Grammys for the prolific artist.
Both Eminem and Trump have enjoyed the overwhelming support of working-class whites who feel like their voices have been co-opted by a rich, white ruling class. They represent an outlet for the accumulated frustrations of the marginalized majority often referred to as “crackers,” “rednecks,” and “poor white trash.”
Just like Donald Trump, the so-called “establishment” couldn’t comprehend Eminem’s overwhelming popularity. They deemed him a threat, and they tried to destroy him.
Eminem may never admit this, but the parallels between Trump’s political career and his own rap career are about as striking as they come.