i-D Magazine

i-d.co is best viewed using a newer browser

We recommend you choose one of the following for the best experience possible. Click to download:

I don't mind. Take me to i-D.co anyway

eminem defined teenage rebellion for a generation

Milly McMahon explains why Eminem is so much more than music; to Milly and many others like her, Marshall Mathers is a poet, an inspiration, and a saviour…

Related topics

The day l discovered Eminem changed my life forever. Fronting a crew of just one, at that time, school was a pretty lonely place and home, a battleground. All l saw in myself was disappointment. Seldom speaking, lost for words to communicate the overwhelming sea of self-doubt drowning my self-esteem, l constantly failed to find reasons to feel strong. Sat on my bed one evening, down the corridor from my brother’s room, l heard The Slim Shady LP resonating, loud and aggressive, penetrating through closed doors and thick walls. Marshall was making a fan out of one more bleach blonde renegade. Typically more familiar with tragic, angsty music, ballads made up the majority of my own dusty cassette collection. I was a sad girl. Deep down, however, my 12 year-old melancholy concealed a deeply, secretly suppressed rage, an untapped anger, that when unleashed, would transform my life, the world and my entire future. His track If I Had awoke that beast. 'If I had a magic wand, I'd make the world suck my dick without a condom on, while I'm on the john', chimed his laid back, cool as fuck verse. Later that night, l broke into my brother’s room, stole the album and put the LP on repeat, non-stop for six months. 

A true, honest and unparalleled original Detroit Rap God, Eminem boasts a legacy that continues to inspire both the generations that precede him as well as his contemporaries.

 

A true, honest and unparalleled original Detroit Rap God, Eminem boasts a legacy that continues to inspire both the generations that precede him as well as his contemporaries. Arguably the most controversial artist to enjoy the outstanding level of global success he has achieved, without censorship, every chapter of Eminem’s career marks struggle. Taking on a commercial giant, the light skinned, pointy nosed Hip Hop don demonised those at the top of the major label music dictatorship. Famously thriving on deception, swamped by the disingenuous, profiteering mechanisms that characterise it, the music industry is an unforgiving business. Promoting perfect lives, glossy images and impossibly perfect expectations, in the ‘90s MTV thanklessly promoted Britney’s rock-hard abs, N*Sync’s plastic guns and Christina’s impossible body on repeat, interrupted only by My Super Sweet Sixteen’s multi billion dollar, brat fuelled raves. Representing 0.0001% of the youth entertained, I remember staring down at my flat chest and pimpled skin wondering why the hell l apparently got more than my fair share of ugly ordinary. When Marshall’s My Name Is shone out from the television set, appearing like a guiding light, something clicked inside of me. Rapping about family dysfunction, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse and his underlying identity crisis, suddenly l felt less alone, and so did a whole army of average kids. 

Flanked by the forefather of G-Funk, Dr Dre, and Rick Rubin, the bearded Zeus-like Messiah of Hip Hop production, and today’s platinum selling artists, Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna, Eminem may prefer to reside reclusively but he is supported by the most powerful and talented artists in the industry. Speaking on his and Marshall's powerful partnership, Rubin modestly went on record saying how he originally pursued their creative partnership, explaining "He was always someone l admired." High praise from the man with the Midas touch.

Em’s fans today span from Drake, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, The Game, Angel Haze, Missy Elliott, Nasto Stephen King, Elton John, Craig Roberts and Robert Pattison to Stevie Wonder, Chris Rock, Paul McCartney and Kim Kardashian. "Nobody's gonna be bigger than Eminem", Kanye said last year and he is, arguably, correct. Shady’s overarching mass appeal, over his eight album and twenty year career in music, is the direct result of his impenetrable badman attitude. Famously reciting 'I still don't give a fuck; on number one selling tracks, Eminem’s strength is to allow his vulnerabilities be laid bare, ugly, raw, tortured and painfully scripted with genius diction. “I'ma be the bomb I'ma use my head as a weapon, find a way to escape this insaneness/ Momma always said, ‘Son, if you had a brain, you'd be dangerous’/ Guess it pays to be brainless", he rhymes on 2013’s Brainless. Downplaying his strengths, yet still powerful in his sneering, lyrical arrogance, his priorities are to shed unadulterated light on the hypocritical, unfair dishonesties that plague society as he knows it. Once a victim, now a psychotic, vengeful anarchist, audiences are able to live out crazed fantasies, imagined through illustrious and sometimes hilarious retributions. Hating on every politically correct form of censorship that would criticise, protest and inspire hate campaigns against him, Eminem demonstrates strength through his own defiance. By explicitly explaining why he practices more self hate than anyone could demonstrate against him, he owns every joke before the punch line even happens. 

When Marshall’s My Name Is shone out from the television set, appearing like a guiding light, something clicked inside of me.

 

That beauty lies in imperfection is a mantra practiced by many and believed truly by few. Marshall Mathers never knew his father, was repeatedly rejected by his mother and cheated on by the one woman he came to love the most, Kim. His album Relapse was slated, leading him to attempt suicide in 2012 after his best friend died of an overdose. Detroit is now nearly owned entirely by Marshall, territory he rarely leaves. His social activities revolve exclusively around working. You won't catch ever catch a paparazzi shot of Shady stumbling out of Chiltern Firehouse. There is no happy ending or promised light at the end of Eminem’s tunnel but by raising one finger skyward, flipping the bird to every hater, nothing but the moment matters. "Sing with me, sing for the years, sing for the laughter, sing for the tears/ Sing it with me, just for today, maybe tomorrow the good Lord'll take you away…" Demonstrating the kind of unquestioning, unwavering and unadulterated love a good father shows his child, Marshall’s love for daughter Hailie is everything. A symbol of heart, faith and kindness every music exec Eminem has fake murdered and 'dumb bitch' imaginary choked, raped or robbed is forgiven because 'he got his baby Hailie back'. Love is Marshall’s only true source of happiness, his only hate sprung from the spurned love of those he needed completely. Eminem is a poet, a musician, an inspiration, a rap God. Marshall Mather’s is my saviour.