The success of Eminem

A new era within Hip-Hop

Whilst his music was hard hitting, he sold himself as a ladies man, wore vast amounts of jewellery and used his looks to market his music. Image was everything. This started off a new era within Hip-Hop. Artists started to be built mainly upon image. It was at this point The Beastie Boys signed a recording contract. These New York born musicians managed to create a respectable name for themselves in the music industry by fusing several genres.

At this point (1986) it would have been near impossible to launch a white hip-hop group, so they created a music which was rap, pop and rock combined, a completely unique sound.

Fight for your right is probably considered to be their landmark single yet is not really representative of their true artistic style. They, like many artists, used a single as a launch pad to success within the industry, which they enjoyed twenty years. Whilst the history of Hip Hop which I am outlining is brief it is focusing on the main figures to have influenced Marshall Mathers.

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The most influential of these was N. W. A star Dr. Dre who was to become his manager. N. W. A consisted of Eazy. E, Dr Dre, and Ice Cube, an explosive combination of conflicting personalities who dropped their music like a bomb onto America.

Their offensive lyrics, and shock tactics within those lyrics forced America to take notice and recognise their talents. This was the start of a campaign for parental advisors to attempt to ban their music for its explicit content.

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What the campaigners did not realise was that it was their protests which gave the group its success. When the single Fuck Tha Police was released many police authorities banned radio stations from playing it. Interestingly, MC Ren claims ‘Probably helped sell 500 00 more records’. As with much rap music which followed this record, many people criticised the song without listening to it.

The content of Rap music

The record does not deny the need for authority but highlights racism within the police force. Rap music today is often criticised for its content, as it often brings valuable yet taboo issues to the forefront. Whilst it is true to say that Dr Dre is not one of the most talented MC’s the impact of his productions from the early 90s onwards can only be compared to that of a true business man. Some may compare his work to that of Phil Spector, although the music is worlds apart Spector created a platform for girl groups to be heard, Dre created a similar world for rappers to flourish.

One of Dre’s most successful creations is Snoop Dogg whose work he heard a sample of whilst he was working with his 213 trio. Despite Snoop’s success he and Dre have been part of a very real gangster world of drug crimes and shootings. It has often been this unfortunate world into which they were both born that has over-shadowed their talent as artists. Eminem It is difficult to comprehend the immense success that Eminem is enjoying today, given that in 1999 he was working in a grill bar in Detroit for $5. 50 an hour and living on a trailer park.

The success of Eminem

However unlike many artists for whom the relevance of their childhood to their music plays little part, this story is central to the success of Eminem. Marshall Bruce Mathers III, aka Slim Shady, aka Eminem, was born in Detroit on October 17th, 1974. His father abandoned him whilst still a baby, so he was brought up by his teenage mother Debbie. Having little money they were constantly moving to avoid bailiffs, living with neighbours and family wherever they could. It was his Uncle Ronnie that taught him to use rap as an outlet for all his anger and emotion.

School was a chore for Mathers who was not successful in class and was disliked by the other pupils, mainly for being a white boy in a predominantly black area. Aged fifteen, having taken the worst beating of his life he was in a coma for 9 days, which almost proved fatal. Unsurprisingly he left the education system after having failed the ninth grade three times. After this point his relationship with his mother soured, his Uncle Ronnie committed suicide, causing Mathers to feel deserted again, and his girlfriend Kim became pregnant. On Christmas day 1996 Hailie Jade was born.

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Music Industry Essays

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The success of Eminem. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

The success of Eminem

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