Marshall Bruce Mathers III. Eminem. Slim Shady. He has been deemed the King of Hip Hop and is considered a legend. He’s also been covered in a ubiquitous shroud of controversy throughout his career. With his disparaging lyrics and violent content, whether it be from rapping about raping women to using homophobic slurs in his songs, people have always deemed him offensive.
Yet at the same time, Eminem is a pioneer and a legend when it comes to exercising freedom of speech. Let’s take a look back all the way to 2000 and 2001.
He had just hit it big. Eminem’s second major album, the Marshall Mather’s LP, had just broke the record for fastest selling hip hop album ever. And this album was filled with debauchery and the angry lyrics he is known for. Songs like “Kim” and “Criminal” caused much uproar within the gay community and feminist groups all around.
Today in 2014, he still causes waves in the entertainment industry. In his new Bad Meets Evil song, “Vegas”, he raps about raping Iggy Azalea. Although many have found these lyrics and songs repulsive, we should thank Eminem for making them.
The simple fact that Eminem had the guts to make such vile statements and messages, whether to express himself or to be funny shows that the first amendment is still alive and used well. If we allow ourselves to be censored through music, one of the very tools used to express individuality, we have diluted our freedom of speech as a society.
Many will say the problem in society is people like Eminem filling our kids with such disgusting lyrics and thoughts. Yet, the real problem is the ones who try to censor it. If we censor the individual because some people are offended, we are putting security over liberty; a concept our founding fathers (especially my favorite Benjamin Franklin…) were strongly against.
The real scary thing is that the FCC censors artists all the time- a government institution by the way. Eminem has had his fair share of trouble from the FCC – in songs like “White America” he disses not only President Bush but gives the good old “FU” to the FCC at the end of the song.
This is freedom of speech being used at its best.
You don’t have to like what Eminem says, but you should be glad he is saying it and not being coerced into silence by our government.