By: Jeff Coy
Photo by: Noisey Vice.com
The two photos shown in this blog post have greatly impacted my life. One photo is of my family just before my high school graduation ceremony. The other is of the album that not only taught me to effectively critique a person’s view, but introduced me to the world of music.
The photo shown above is the cover of Eminem’s second well known album, The Marshal Mathers LP. It’s lyrical content not only expresses many controversies at the time of its release but confronts society is its own twisted way. In this album, Eminem rapped about the Columbine High School shootings, Bill Clinton’s sexual scandal, gay marriage, bad parenting, his hate for his own parents, and even Christopher Reeve’s disabilities. I was six years old the first time I herd an Eminem song. My parents were going through a divorce when this album was released and because of my family’s stress, I was able to listen to all the Eminem I wanted without much supervision. At a young age I was able to listen to the artist’s humor and laugh at the realities of my own life. This man had no limits of what he rapped about and I loved it. My aunt was only five years older then I was. We would blast this music all day long at my grandma’s house. Every adult would tell us we were listening to trash and were being brain washed by the violence expressed by Eminem. At this age, I knew nothing of the meaning of the lyrics and thought they was hilarious. Eminem was seen as the closest thing to the devil on earth at this time. Many lawsuits were filed against him because of his style of rap and he was often protested against.
As I grew older, I continued to listen to Eminem throughout his career and was judged by my musical preference. It was to the point that I saw myself the way others viewed me. I developed a unique sense of humor growing up to this music. Over the years, I now completely understand the rapper’s intentions behind this album. As a college student wanting to study law, I often look back on “The Marshal Mathers LP” while analyzing the actions of others. Marshal (Eminem), had a difficult life growing up dealing bullies at school and having a fatherless childhood. In Elementary School, he was once rushed to the hospital for nearly bleeding to death after being beaten for being white living in a black neighborhood. The artist exercises his first amendment rights and expresses his feelings behind school shootings. He feels parents should step up and prevent these things from happening. The rapper know what bullying could do to kids and the hate it promotes. After fully understanding his past, one can understand his perspective. He grew up around rap and uses his passion to express himself. His twisted past inspires him to rap about his feelings using “vulgar” humor. This is seen by many who understand the rapper, as art. It is ones right to feel a certain way and express their opinion. This has stuck with me throughout life and has taught me the importance of understanding the views of others. Its also taught me to stand up for what I believe in no matter what others think. Even the adults I grew up around were quick to judge the character of this man. Instead of always conforming to what authority figures expect, this album led me to question even their reasoning.
This second photo is of me having dinner with my family before my high school graduation ceremony. This was a great moment for me. I was one of the first people in my family to graduate high school. My mom and her side of the family came from Arizona to watch me walk the stage. This was special for me because both sides of the my family were together to celebrate. Never in a million years would I expect these people to actually come together for something. But they did to show me support. It made my graduation that much more special. It still inspires me to do more today.