October 17,1972 was the day the world was introduced to who would end up being the GOAT of the rap industry. No one would’ve imagined that Marshall Bruce Mathers III, a bullied skinny white kid, would end up bashing into the black-dominated rap scene and eventually earn his spot on rap’s Mount Rushmore.
Now earlier in the year, we ran a bracket to determine who you guys thought was the greatest rapper of all time. In the end, Eminem finished in second place behind the great Tupac. In my eyes however, Eminem belongs on top of that list.
When it comes to Eminem, I have a form of connection that not all people have with their favorite artist. I have never actually met the man but I feel as if he knows exactly what I feel and the struggles I’ve had to endure in my life. That’s the beauty of music. Being able to personally relate to the artist simply by his way of putting words together that rhyme and sound cool.
It’s as if he has a song for every single mood you could go through in life. Well at least in my life.
When I was cut from the soccer team in college I was simply told I wasn’t good enough to play. It was the first time I had been told I wasn’t good enough to play the sport that I loved. Understandably so, I became depressed. It felt as if no one in the world understood what I was going though. No one felt the disappointment I had to carry with me everywhere I went. I ended up finding comfort in Eminem songs. I would listen to his song “Beautiful” about 10x a day because I was convinced that song described what I was going through. A sense of depression of aloneness in this world with no motivation to do anything. “I’m just so fu**ing depressed I just can’t seem to get out this slump” replayed in my head over and over again. Throughout the song, Eminem narrates his struggle getting through his drug addiction and lack of motivation to rap again. Personally, I was not looking to get past a drug addiction nor was I lacking motivation to rap again. But it was his lyrics that seemed to reach out to me and make me feel that my depression and lack of motivation to rejoin life was what he was rapping about.
When I decided to stop moping around and get back to work on the field, he had a whole album to hype me up. His entire “Recovery” album was on constant repeat daily. Songs like “Won’t Back Down”, “Cinderella Man” and “Not Afraid” were anthems for me as I worked on getting my confidence up and continue to grind my way into the game. One of my personal favorites was “Phenomenal”. It was the perfect song to start your early morning runs and to remind you that you were the shit no matter what anyone says. And of course, the classic “Lose Yourself”. The most motivational song to go out and prove everyone wrong.
When life gets serious off the field, there were many times when I also felt alone and filled with anger and sadness. For example, when I was 18 I had my heartbroken and felt a combination of rage and emptiness in my heart. Songs like “25 to Life”, “Love The Way You Lie” or “Stronger Than I Was” perfectly expressed hidden emotions that I didn’t even know existed. It was a time in which I was learning what it was like to be a man and sharing out your weak feelings wasn’t really an option. Instead, I turned to his music to help me get through it.
But life isn’t always so dark and twisted. In general I always considered myself to be a very humorous person with questionable humor at times. Just like Eminem, I would sometimes get in trouble for my humor simply because people didn’t understand he was joking. People didn’t seem to understand that just because I find a certain topic funny, doesn’t necessarily mean I agree with that. During the beginning of his career, Eminem made a name for himself by rapping about drugs, violence or simply making by forming taboos into jokes. Though he did in fact do drugs, he wasn’t the person he described as himself in his raps. Again, its all jokes and some people simply don’t understand.
Eminem certainly became one of hip-hop’s most respectable artists through his wicked rhymes, clever word play, extended vocabulary, illustrious metaphors and his crude humor. That’s something everyone can see. But my admiration goes beyond that. Our lives are so different but at the same time so similar. I personally haven’t had a drug addiction, I don’t hate my wife, my mom isn’t a drug addict and my best friend hasn’t died. However, I can take my life’s experiences and get through what I’ve gotten through thanks to his music. I truly was one of those kids he refered to in “Sing For The Moment”. Those kids who ” don’t have a thing except for a dream and a fu**ing rap magazine. Who post pin-up pictures on they walls all day long who idolize their favorite rappers and know all their songs”. He may never know it, but Eminem’s music has helped me become the man that I am today. Happy birthday GOAT