Why Eminems rap about Donald Trump is resonating with millions of Americans

| October 12, 2017
Eminem says he’s drawing a line in the sand. In a cypher 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. “Any fan of mine who’s a supporter of his/I’m drawing in the sand a line/You’re either for or against…” Read more Eminem’s strongest lines in ‘The Storm’ freestyle on Donald Trump It’s not surprising that 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 Tuesday’s rap from Eminem, whom Trump previously called “a winner” during a performance in which the President pretended to endorse the rapper at a mock presidential convention, is resonating on social media and in the political conversation. Eminem, born Marshall Mathers, rose to fame after starting his career in Detroit’s underground hip-hop scene. Hewas born to a teen mother in a white, working-class family in a small town in Missouri. His family traveled 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, according to Salon. Much of Eminem’s success in the hip-hop world stemmed from never trying to hide his roots and the chaos that defined them. Many of the stories he tells in his lyrics about his family are reminiscent of those told in J.D. Vance’s breakout Hillbilly Elegy, a book about the white working poor in the Rust Belt. 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 cypher: “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 working-class 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. Read more Trump hits out at ‘frankly disgusting’ freedom of the press Democrats officially unveil articles of impeachment against Trump Trump denies reports he wants 10 times more nuclear weapons Steve Bannon ‘thinks Trump has a 30% chance of serving a full term North Korea says Trump has ‘lit the wick of war’ Trump won Michigan, a state that Hillary Clinton and most political observers expected would remain blue like it had in every presidential election since 1988. But the state’s white, working-class voters were drawn to Trump’s populist message that he would return jobs to the Rust Belt that had repeatedly left the state over decades. It was also in Michigan – Detroit specifically – that Trump did some of his most aggressive outreach to black voters with the help of Ben Carson , a onetime Detroit resident and current member of the Trump Cabinet. “I fully understand that the African American community has suffered from discrimination,” Trump told attendees of Great Faith Ministries International in September 2016, adding that there were “many wrongs” that still needed to be “made right.” However, Trump has since gotten more attention for attacking people such as Detroit native and ESPN anchor Jemele Hill after she called him a “white supremacist” and for calling NFL players “sons of bitches” for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. Some of Trump’s lowest approval ratings – in the single digits – are among black Americans. Meanwhile, he is still enjoying relatively high approval ratings with the base that propelled him to the White House. Donald Trump’s least presidential moments so far… 17 show all Donald Trump’s least presidential moments so far… 1/17 Defending Russian President Vladimir Putin Donald Trump appeared to equate US foreign actions to those of Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying, “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?” REUTERS/Carlos Barria 2/17 Asked for people to ‘pray’ for Arnold Schwarzenegger At the National Prayer Breakfast, Donald Trump couldn’t help but to ask for prayers for the ratings on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s show to be good. Schwarzenegger took over as host of “The Apprentice” — which buoyed Mr Trump’s celebrity status years ago. AFP/Getty Images 3/17 Hanging up on Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull Early in his presidency, Donald Trump reportedly hung up the phone on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after the foreign leader angered him over refugee plans. Mr Trump later said that it was the “worst call” he had had so far. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images 4/17 The ‘muslim ban’ Perhaps one of his most controversial policies while acting as president, Donald Trump’s travel ban targeting predominantly Muslim countries has bought him a lot of criticism. The bans were immediately protested, and judges initially blocked their implementation. The Supreme Court later sided with the administration’s argument that the ban was developed out of concern for US security. Bryan R Smith/Getty 5/17 Praising crowd size while touring Hurricane Harvey damage After Hurricane Harvey ravaged southeastern Texas, Donald Trump paid the area a visit. While his response to the disaster in Houston was generally applauded, the President picked up some flack when he gave a speech outside Houston (he reportedly did not visit disaster zones), and praised the size of the crowds there. AP 6/17 Called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ‘Little Rocket Man’ During his first-ever speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Donald Trump tried out a new nickname for North Korea leader Kim Jong-un: Rocket Man. He later tweaked it to be “little Rocket Man” as the two feuded, and threatened each other with nuclear war. During that speech, he also threatened to totally annihilate North Korea. 7/17 Attacking Sadiq Khan following London Bridge terror attack After the attack on the London Bridge, Donald Trump lashed out at London Mayor Sadiq Khan, criticizing Mr Khan for saying there was “no reason to be alarmed” after the attack. Mr Trump was taking the comments out of context, as Mr Khan was simply saying that the police had everything under control. Getty Images 8/17 Claimed presenter Mika Brezinkski was ‘bleeding from the face’ Never one not to mock his enemies, Donald Trump mocked MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski, saying that she and co-host Joe Scarborough had approached him before his inauguration asking to “join” him. He noted that she was “bleeding badly from a face-lift” at the time, and that he said no. 9/17 Claiming the blame for Charlottesville was on ‘both sides’ Trump refused to condemn far-right extremists involved in violence at ‘the march for the right’ protests in Charlottesville, even after the murder of counter protester Heather Heyer AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais 10/17 Retweeted cartoon of CNN being hit by a ‘Trump train’ Donald Trump retweeted a cartoon showing a Trump-branded train running over a person whose body and head were replaced by a CNN avatar. He later deleted the retweet. 11/17 Tweeting about ‘slamming’ CNN Donald Trump caught some flack when he tweeted a video showing him wrestling down an individual whose head had been replaced by a CNN avatar. Mr Trump has singled CNN out in particular with his chants of “fake news”. 12/17 Firing head of the FBI, James Comey Donald Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey landed him with a federal investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election that has caused many a headache for the White House. The White House initially said that the decision was made after consultation from the Justice Department. Then Mr Trump himself said that he had decided to fire him in part because he wanted the Russia investigation Mr Comey was conducting to stop. Getty Images 13/17 Not realizing being president would be ‘hard’ Just three months into his presidency, Donald Trump admitted that being president is harder than he thought it would be. Though Mr Trump insisted on the 2016 campaign trail that doing the job would be easy for him, he admitted in an interview that living in the White House is harder than running a business empire. REUTERS 14/17 Accusing Obama of wiretapping him Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama of wire tapping him on twitter. The Justice Department later clarified: Mr Obama had not, in fact, done so. Reuters 15/17 Claiming there had been 3 million ‘illegal votes’ Donald Trump was never very happy about losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by 2.8 million ballots. So, he and White House voter-fraud commissioner Kris Kobach have claimed that anywhere between three and five million people voted illegally during the 2016 election. Conveniently, he says that all of those illegal votes went to Ms Clinton. (There is no evidence to support that level of widespread voter fraud.) 16/17 Leaving Jews out of the Holocaust memorial statement Just days after taking office, Donald Trump’s White House issued a statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, but didn’t mention “jews” or even the word “jewish” in the written statement. Getty Images 17/17 Anger over Inauguration crowd size Donald Trump’s inauguration crowd was visibly, and noticeably, smaller than that of his predecessor, Barack Obama. But, he really wanted to have had the largest crowd on record. So, he praised it as the biggest crowd ever. Relatedly, Mr Trump also claimed that it stopped raining in Washington at the moment he was inaugurated. It didn’t. The day was very dreary. Reuters Trump hadn’t responded to Eminem on Twitter at the time of this piece, but it is fair to assume that he doesn’t like it when rappers speak for their audiences by saying “We f***ing hate Trump.” But there’s an argument to be made that the rapper’s lyrics weren’t directed at Trump – rather, Eminem was castigating those of his fans who support Trump and have paid no heed to the criticism coming his way. Eminem was trending most of Wednesday, another entertainer monopolising the political conversation on Twitter. The Washington Post More about: Eminem Donald Trump NFL kneeling protest Detroit Michigan Racism US Military hip hop Rap Reuse content

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