Site Meter

Monday, October 13, 2008

Eminem: Best Rapper Alive?

Yahoo News had an intriguing headline: "Best rapper alive? Eminem wins Vibe magazine's Best Rapper Alive contest, sparking a heated debate." I follwed the link to a Y! Music blog entry by Billy Johnson, Jr. There's a picture of Billy. He's a black man. The one thing missing from the entire entry ( race. Once again, it's the elephant in the living room: the Subject which Must not be Named. I mean, come on, eminem is a white man performing in the dominant musical field of the African American Community. He followed in the footsteps of jokes like Vanilla Ice and the Beasty Boys in "white rap." Unlike them, Eminem achieved a level of acceptance and street cred in teh black community. But for him to be crowned the best (excluding of course Tupac and others no longer living)? I agree something seems astray. Is Vibe Magazine controlled by whites? If so, one could wonder if the bracketing was manipulated in Eminem's favor. How does Vibe's readership break down by race? Do they sell more copies with a popular white (rather than black) rapper on the cover? THese would be interesting questions. But the blogger tip toes all around race, with the implication of its central role thick in the air, but never spoken. Strange.

Johnson ends his entry with these words: "I consider Eminem to be one of the greatest MCs to have ever rhymed. He has an undeniable gift of storytelling. He can freestyle. He's passionate, and is one of the few who is blessed with the ability to simultaneously go straight mega pop and still reach the heads. He's top 10 without question.

I'm in one of those moods and can go and on about this as if it was something important. So I'll stop and let some of my favorites conclude my argument. Check out their videos."

Then he provides links to videos by the artists he presumably thinks should have outpolled Eminem. Kinda seems like a copout to me. I mean, name names, man! Take down the license plates and report them! Easy for me to say, I know. Justing pointing out the strange way we [don't] deal with race in this country, including in popular culture.

No comments: