Eminem fires a salvo at Trump
Eminem says he’s drawing a line in the sand.
At the BET Hip Hop Awards, the hip-hop artist slammed President Donald Trump for policies that Eminem considers harmful to America. He also had choice words for those of his fans who voted for Trump in 2016.
In the four-minute rap filmed in a Detroit carpark, the freestyle titled “The Storm” saw Eminem pace the concrete and call out Trump on issues including the NFL, white supremacy and North Korea.
The title and opening line is a reference to Trump’s recent comment about “the calm before the storm” at a dinner with military leaders.
“Any fan of mine who’s a supporter of his/I’m drawing in the sand a line/You’re either for or against . . .”
Because Eminem’s verse was laced with profanity, we can’t repeat it here, but readers can find it online.
It’s not surprising Eminem doesn’t like Trump. Some of the loudest criticism of the president in pop culture comes from the hip-hop community. But here’s why the rap from Eminem, whom Trump previously called “a winner”, is resonating on social media.
Eminem, born Marshall Mathers, rose to fame after starting his career in Detroit’s underground hip-hop scene. He was born to a teen mother in a white, workingclass family in a small town in Missouri. His family travelled often, looking for work and stability, before settling in a primarily black, working-class Detroit neighbourhood where he discovered the freestyle hip-hop battle scene.
Much of Eminem’s success in the hip-hop world stemmed from never trying to hide his roots and the chaos that defined them.
But unlike many white, working-class Trump supporters who count racism against whites as a bigger issue than racism against people of colour, Eminem acknowledged many of the very real challenges that black Americans face when it comes to racism, police violence and urban poverty.
Eminem addressed that at various points in the verse: “Now if you’re a black athlete, you’re a spoiled little brat for/Tryna use your platform or your stature/To try to give those a voice who don’t have one.”
Because of his insight into the worlds of both workingclass whites and urban blacks, Eminem is uniquely qualified to summarise how Trump plays to his base’s worst impulses about race in America and address the real issues affecting all of Michigan’s residents — the poor rural white voters and the urban black Detroiters still fighting for racial equity.
Trump won Michigan, a state Hillary Clinton and most observers expected would vote Democrat, like it had in every presidential election since 1988. But its white, working-class voters were drawn to Trump’s populist message.
Conversely, some of Trump’s lowest approval ratings are among black Americans.