Let's be clear; I expected nothing less from Eminem in his BET Hip-Hop Awards cypher. He has always been a super talented emcee who goes against the grain and says precisely what he's feeling. I'm not mad about that, nor am I upset that he used his white privilege and platform in a beautiful way to address racism, and convey a message that Black people have been screaming to get across since number 45 announced his candidacy. What I have a problem with is the reaction Black people are having as a result of this 4-minute verse.
I didn't even watch the awards when they originally aired. I was able to see the verse from the "Rap God" after my friend sent Eminem's verse to the group-chat, and to be honest, I wasn't impressed. Not saying it wasn't any good, it was, but I didn't see the correlation of how Black Twitter was reacting with the actual freestyle itself. A few witty bars about Trump, dramatic pauses, an aggressive tone, and references to recent events, yup, seems to check off all the boxes. I personally don't think he said anything out of this world to make me feel any different about the president. Not saying that was his goal. Eminem took a page out of Charalmagne tha God's book, Black Privilege, and made his Black audience comfortable by letting us know he wasn't a white devil. We hear you Em.
However, over the last few days, people have been talking about this freestyle like it changed the course of history. It didn't. He shouted the same sentiments other's have had, but has gotten the credit for effectively "Ethering Trump," if that's a thing. Joey Bada$$, A Tribe Called Quest, YG, Kendrick Lamar, The Game, Will.i.am, A$AP FERG, TI, Rick Ross, and countless others have had anti-Trump rhetoric in their music, and I don't remember them getting the same response from the people. Was Em's verse just that much better? In short, no.
Eminem is like Jay-Z in the sense that it's blasphemous for anyone to have any criticisms of him. You are automatically a hater if voice them. It is as if his mere presence in Hip-Hop validates the culture because, dare I say it, he's white. Again, we all know he's nice and can spit with some of the best to ever do it. Still, it doesn't change the fact that we as people are so quick to invite white people to the barbeque when they say something remotely "woke." Eminem can't help the fact that he's white so who can truly fault him for saying what is truly on his heart. Snoop was quick to call Eminem a "real nigga," and Houston legend Willie D went off on social media on everyone who had anything negative to say about the freestyle. They're missing the point here. The message has been clear for a while now, and people have paid no attention to it. But delivered by the white rap savior we all rejoice.
Legendary Hip-Hop interviewer and historian Doggie Diamonds tweeted something I thought was profound,
Eminem say something he's cool. Dead Prez say it they're Hotep niggas!
Lord Jamar of Brand Nubian also tweeted something to the same effect,
If a MELANATED EMCEE said the same exact thing would y'all have thought it was so ill? (no)
Both men did not say anything to take away from Eminem's talent or the verse itself, they are simply asking why does his message resonate with BLACK PEOPLE so much when others have made the same points? Why does it automatically make so much sense when the white guy says it? Also, in a country build on symbols we have to look at this from all angles. After all this time, finally, our blue-eyed, blond hair "Rap God" has come down to deliver us from the evil that is Donald Trump. Praise be to Eminem!
Was that a reach? Maybe.
I just think it's weird that after nine months of Trump wildin' and using the Presidency as a hobby, Eminem decides to come out to deliver a powerful message in a hoodie and gold chain at the BET awards, a month before his new album drops.