Fifteen years ago Eminem was associated with his shocking, subversive lyrics as well as his utter disdain for the pop world and everyone in it. His basic view on the industry can be summed up neatly by these lyrics from his 2000 track The Real Slim Shady, “You think I give a damn about a Grammy? Half of you critics can’t even stomach me, let alone stand me. “But Slim, what if you win, wouldn’t it be weird?” Why? So you guys could just lie to get me here? So you can, sit me here next to Britney Spears?”

Fans of the old Eminem feel that he has sold out in recent years

Sadly, in more recent years Eminem seems to have sacrificed his single-minded agenda to stay true to his underground rapping roots. While Em’s early work was outrageous, intentionally offensive, satirical and down right hilarious, these days he opts to collaborate with artists that would have made his diss list a decade ago. In recent years Eminem has released tracks with Rihanna, Lil Wayne and Pink, riling up old fans who feel as though the rapper has sold out.

While his music was initially aimed at adults, Eminem is more commercially minded these days, producing music which has a wider appeal. For those who were enamoured with the earlier work of Eminem, the artist that he has become today is almost too different to still buy into. It was his outspoken dislike for practically everything that made him an icon for the angsty, a banner man for the perpetually p*ssed off. The Eminem who attracted his early fans would have laughed in the face of a Rihanna duet, rapped about how he turned down a collaboration with Pink and have a long list of expletives to describe Lil Wayne. Before probably killing him off in some gruesome way and then having him fed to D12’s Bizarre.

All this being said, it is true that throughout their careers artists are known to grow and change. Eminem isn’t that p*ssed off kid from 8 Mile anymore, he’s a 41 year old man with a grown up daughter (yes, Hailie Jade Mathers is 18 years old, if anyone can actually believe that). 

Eminem, real name Marshall Mathers, told Radio 1’s Zane Lowe that he never wanted to be a popstar, “All I wanted to do was get respect from my peers and other rappers”. He has certainly fulfilled his aims in that respect, no one could deny the supreme talent that is Eminem. Disgruntled fans of his old style may just have to stick The Marshall Mathers LP on repeat if they want to reminisce about the rapper that he once was. Because, at the end of the day, in the immortal words of Slim Shady, he “just don’t give a f***”.

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