Closed Analysis

White America

Hip-Hop was a genre of music loved by urban culture, particularly African Americans and Black ethnic groups. This genre of music was usually rejected by outside cultures for its language and portrayal of women. Often rap was deemed to be explicit and lacking of meaningful content. These negative associations have kept hip-hop in its own box and out of pop culture. This changed when Doctor Dre, one of hip-hops most influential artist and producers, signed white rapper Eminem. Eminem has become the greatest selling rap artist of all-time, but is deemed one of hip-hops most graphic artist. His career has been praised by pop culture shows such as TRL, and has even been seen as a threat by the U.S government. A genre deemed disrespectful to society was able to break out of its box and headline into todays’ pop culture, with one of the most graphic artists hip-hop has ever seen. Although Eminem became highly praised by his fans, he also received a lot of criticism. This criticism did not hold Eminem back instead it propelled him to new heights.

Eminem explains his own phenomenon in a song called “White America”. In the beginning of the second verse Eminem states, “Look at these eyes, baby blue, baby just like yourself, if they brown, Shady’d lose, Shady sits on the shelf.” In these lyrics Eminem acknowledges the impact his appearance has on his music success. “Look at my sales! Let’s do the math: if I was black I woulda sold half,” Eminem understands the role race plays in pop culture, and how his skin has helped to propel him to the top of hip-hop. He was able to speak to a group of people that hip-hop was never able to reach. He expanded the culture from its little box to the ears of the suburban youth. “Every fan black that I got, was probably his in exchange for every white fan that he’s got, like damn, we just swapped.” These lyrics express the idea of how Eminem brought “White America,” into hip-hop, and broadened the scale of listeners into the genre. Bringing Hip-Hop into the suburbs made Eminem a big target because he became the face of mainstream media. When he released his album Marshall Mathers LP it was highly protested and criticized. A clear message that he expresses in his song “White America” is that when these songs are playing in Harlem nobody has an issue with it. Once he was able to tap into the ears of white suburban children that’s when mainstream media developed an issue with him. Even with nation wide protests against Eminem he was able to become the most successful rap artist of all time. The effects of adding white listeners to hip-hop allowed the genre to have a massive effect on U.S culture. In modern day major networks use hip-hop slang and dances. It’s common to see a YouTube video of “White America” dabbing and using other hip-hop culture dances. Hip-Hop slangs such as “bling”, “dope”, “phat”, and “jiggy” have even made it into the oxford dictionary.