Why Do Music Critics Hate Eminem?

Eminem’s “Music To Be Murdered By” May Have Longevity  

Why Do Music Critics Hate Eminem?

Rapper Eminem once again dropped a surprise album, “Music To Be Murdered By,” on Friday, along with the video that calls for changes to gun laws. What followed was the usual mixed to negative reviews for the new Eminem album. For instance, Forbes went with the headline: “Eminem Makes The Same Mistakes on ‘Music To Be Murdered By.” NME’s headline: “Shock rapper continues to grow old disgracefully.” This is nothing new. Believe it or not, Eminem has never released an album that didn’t receive some negative reviews. His average career score on Metacritic, a website that aggregates reviews, is 64. His highest score was 78 for The Marshall Mathers LP. Ironically, The Marshall Mathers LP is consistently cited as one of the best hip hop albums of all time. So what gives? Why do critics dislike Eminem so much?

It’s undeniable that Eminem is one of the greatest rappers of all time. Is he in the top five? I am not sure. But he’s certainly in the conversation. His music has proven to have longevity, and like most songs that do, they only get better over time. Twenty years later, “The Real Slim Shady” and “Stan” are better then they were back in 2000. Yes, nostalgia plays a role here. In 2000 I was in high school. I just started smoking weed, drinking, and hanging out with friends at house parties. The Marshall Mathers LP is very much so part of my high school and coming of age story. At the time, however, it was a controversial album.

Slant Magazine gave it 1 1/2 stars. The opening of Slant’s review: “I’ve heard people call Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP a work of musical genius, yet socially inept. These comments seem to completely disregard the fact that the craft of music, in general, rests largely on its intended purpose. The question shouldn’t be whether the musical merits of the album outweigh its content, but rather, how someone so talented could be so repugnant.” Spin Magazine said of The Marshall Mathers LP, “Funny how so much controversy can spring up over an album that is, musically, not all that noteworthy…. what could have been a brilliant statement, instead elevates Eminem to the rarified air of true platinum rappers: i.e., those that drop outstanding rhymes over frustratingly mediocre beats.”

Twenty years later and The Marshall Mathers LP is up there with Nas’ Illmatic, Dre’s The Chronic, Biggie’s Ready to Die, and Tupac’s All Eyez on Me. And believe it or not, those albums also had their share of mixed to negative reviews. In Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me: What Pop Music rivalries Reveal About the Meaning of Life, author Steven Hyden discusses how our perception of pop culture, including the music we like, is naturally shaped by our upbringings. This explains why blue-collar Americans in New Jersey and Pennsylvania favor Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi and why people on the West Coast favor West Coast rap and those on the East Coast, well prefer East Coast rap. It can also explain why music critics, sometimes unknowingly, may not like or appreciate the music they did not grow up around and have trouble understanding.

Just yesterday, I was scrolling Twitter and saw a congressional political reporter tweet, “a journalist next to me asked me who Dick Durbin was.” Dick Durbin is a U.S. Senator from Illinois and has been since 1997. Before that, he was a U.S. Congressman for 14 years. Yet, a presumably young congressional reporter did not know that and probably should not be covering a congress that is going through an impeachment process. Likewise, music reporters and critics who may not understand Eminem and where he is coming from, may not be the right people to review and understand where Eminem is coming from. A lot of people on twitter and many critics have called out “Music To Be Murdered By” for it’s the use of gunshots as they are traumatizing and can be seen as glorifying violence. However, none take into account Eminem’s relationship with gun violence and where he came from. 

It is easy for us to call out Eminem for his use of gunshots. It is traumatizing. Many of us grew up in communities where gun violence wasn’t as prevalent. When it does occur, it’s a shock, and the sound of a car backfiring can send someone who went through a school shooting right back to that moment. However, Marshall Mathers grew up north of 8 Mile Road in Warren, Michigan, where the sound of gunfire occurred much more frequently. The sound of gunshots and the use of it in his music may be different than those who grew up in more affluent communities not used to fun violence. It really isn’t our right to judge his relationship with gun violence. 

Lastly, we are living in a hyper-sensitive, highly divisive time. We demand those in the entertainment industry to speak up and speak out against various injustices, yet when they do, we criticize them. We either do not like how they spoke out, or we disagree with what they say. This, in many ways, makes us focus on the right now and not understanding the impact their art may have in the future and on our culture as a whole. What is the effect “Music To Be Murdered By” will have five, ten, twenty years from now? None of these critics know. There are plenty of albums that do not get their recognition they deserve when they first come out, only to be recognized much later on, as Eminem points out with Michael Jackson’s Bad

Only time will tell whether “Music To be Murdered By” will be culturally significant. What I do know is Eminem is culturally significant and this album will be discussed for years to come. In the meantime give it a listen and let us know your thoughts:

 

 

 

  1. Eminem is the most fascinating artist/celebrity to a misanthrope such as myself. I loath human nature, I have always wondered why I absolutely know 95% of people are completely programmed by such obvious things. I see all their motivations, I see all their disgusting selfishness and pathetic weakness manifest in mean spirited petty ways. I see they are so dumb that they will wholeheartedly believe in clear lies about laughably unlikely gods and cheer along to blatant lies told by politicians. Employers need employees more than the other way around yet because their name is on certain legal documents they get rich and pay the actual business, the employees, pennies. I see the invisible chains and jail bars of capitalism. I see the focus on violence and war for profiting rich people and those dumb enough to believe lies that it is about anything else. Or they see the lies but use it as a chance to be their terrible selves. Matters of romantic love are as horrible as as everything else with humans, It is rarely not based on shallow and meaningless things. A man professes love for a cute face and plump round butt cheeks and she for his adoration of her for these reasons. Other ‘lovers’ claim affection for financial reasons. I have seen women choose a man who is clearly a selfish and shallow jerk over a guy she was truly best friends with, laughed, looked at with a longing for connection with, simply because society has told her the attributes of the other are superior.Maybe he’s handsome, maybe he’s charming on the surface, he may have a nice home and can buy her designer clothes. Years later she will likely look back at the man, her true companion, her real love, and realize none of what she had been programmed to aspire to made her happy. She will know by then the true ugly and selfish nature of her liklely biggest failure. She’ll notice over the years when he rapes her when he is excited and she is not. When he cheats on her. When the words he speaks are to make her feel less than rather than build her feelings of self worth like the one she destroyed. Because he will never again trust in the worth of the love he has to offer. And he’ll be right, it has no value without many other things on top of it. Shallow and pointless things. I saw all this and felt all these pains and felt the hurt of poverty while those with enough money for 50 lifetimes walked among us. It’s a terrible society. So I invented an alter-ego of my own in a way. If these people want bad I’ll act as nothing more than an exaggerated mirror of all around me. Then at some point those close to me find out, they realize I’m nothing like them, I detest them and have been parodying their vile nature. I also talk openly about the atrocities and make jokes about them. This pisses people off even though they care less than I do, way less, but the programming, I’m not following the false programming. I’m strangely being the most honest by not even bothering to act how I wish I could. Once they realize I hate them the dumber will want to fight, the more intellectual will recoil for fear of the truths about themselves having to be faced, and then many will pretend they actually hold a moral authority over me. Some will do it out of self preservation and others are clinging to the programming. It has become who they are, the true fake good.You see, Eminem’s fake bad. I’m fake bad. Not to say I have no evils, but I am not so selfish as to let them turn me around. But Eminem is one of the ost famous humans alive and ridiculously talented in an art form that uses words as weapons. So the mirror he holds up to society is seen by millions and because they hate themselves they can’t stand that mirror, it must be broken. But the tiniest sign of hope I can see is that there are at least millions of people around the world of billions that have a better core than exterior. So he’s helped me see that I’m not completely alone, others like himself see how ridiculous a society we’ve built. And the media types,politicians, and even the wannabe gangsters rapping will stop at nothing to break that mirror. But his music and words are born of so much brilliance they transcend his art. Listen to and watch ‘Darkness’, then read a review about it. It’s two different worlds colliding,truth and lies. Listen to ‘Kill You’ then read a review,, ones the exagerated mirror, the other doesn’t wanna look at it.

    1. Chill, bruh. You don’t know as much as you think you do. I suggest you leave your house and maybe read every now and then. As much as I despise people, they are pretty three-dimensional. People have many, widely varying reasons for doing what they do- “society” is one, but certainly not the only one, or even the strongest. If society is so broken, get busy trying to fix it- don’t whine on the internet. You’re just proving yourself to be as pointless as the humans you criticize.

  2. I love this album. Critics HATE eminem, always have. I’m sure his hate on Trump didn’t help seeing as Trump has significant control over what the media is allowed to post. This reminds me of Tupac when someone said, “you lost best rap video, you at all disappointed about that?” And he replied. Oh no.. I won. I sold 6.6 million records so I won.” I feel Eminem can say the same. With the release of this album, and how many fans love it, he’s won already.

    1. “Trump has significant control over what the media is allowed to post”. AHAHAHAGAGAGA SRSZDKSDKKHKHHKKFLGKADA! ! No, no he doesn’t. At all. All he can do is whine about “fake news”.

  3. I love the album. It’s frustrating to see headlines proclaiming that he has crossed the line and is grossly offensive for certain lyrics. People see this and echo “that’s just not funny” or “that’s not okay to say”. But these people are lacking the context of the album. It dives into hard to hear topics, and it isn’t funny, it isn’t meant to be a joke. This s**t happened! Em brings forward horrible events in a brutal way. He throws in your face how well “thoughts and prayers” are a solution, because will that stop the next mass shooting or public bombing, of course not. The higher the controversy, the more offensive it is the better, because at times this album is calling for change and maybe more people will listen.

    1. LOL… Always the same… the mediocre at best try-hards… the jealous wannabe GOATS, the full speed lemming-train riding absolutely tunnelvisioned clueless morons, the people that should just STFU because they are to retarded to get even the simplest double meaning word play bars, the people that live in fantasy land (VR? haha) and last but definitely not least the people that think they can be better then Em but actually suck quite as hard as MGK (and look what Em did to the self-proclaimed Rap Devil… ugh I mean….. Rap Pussy? Confused pink little gay looking boy..? And Dad wasn’t even mad on Stan and even gave him a signature on a starter cap…. so…. imagine when Dad gets pissed… just imagine LOL

      You should all wake up from your drone comatose state and go see a doctor to get help ( cause you all need it very very bad and are seemingly very suicidal)…. and take my advice please I am trying to save you… or you like being pink gay looking boys?.

      Another question, how many of you enrolled to the university of idiocracy (hint watch movie) and graduated there with honors and proudly received “The degree of total cluelessness with a minor in being a petty little jealous brainwashed loser?

      I am done being nice!!! maybe now you get it… stop hitting on this man and fucking up my day, or I will start fucking up yours..

      Here is a free of charge reality check for you…

      Em doesn’t even give a fuck about whatever you write or (maybe? If you can… Think?) (if you know the alphabet, which I wonder in many of your cases)

      And stop pissing me off and confronting me with your extremely low IQs, your incorrect jealous posts, and every other useless peace of information that that low 2 digit IQ can contemplate and don’t come back to drop more of your opinion that nobody cares about… trust me you are totally insignificant and what you say or write won’t change a single thing and nobody cares!!!!
      The only thing you achieve is that you piss me off… and then I have to write this entire peace of factual truth to slap you all down, right of your self envisioned pedestale ( using VR? remember that’s virtual… not the real world!! )

      I know Em doesn’t even read this… but i do… so respect or F OFF !!!!!

      Real enough and clear enough for all you haters?

      Did I use difficult words?

      or can you read and actually process what I wrote and change your disrespectful jealous behaviour?

      Can you count… 4B is probably above your ability so maybe there’s your problem… numbers are numbers just continue counting, you did at least go to the first year of basic school? … 1, 2 ,3… and eventually you end up on 4B+

      Hint… quite a lot, more then almost anyone else… many records are set by this great lyricist, probably the greatest and we’re not going into skill and flow… there he is simply the best… by far…

      Maybe all you haters are actually pink gay looking boys…

    2. Eminem didn’t say anything about “thoughts and prayers”. He presents an interesting question about the Vegas shooter in “Darkness”. Outside of that, he is not calling for a change, or any of that silly BS you said. He uses the Manchester bombing as a simile in “Unaccomodating” (not even a well-done simile ). Did you listen to the album? I value Eminem as an artist, but stop trying to pretend that he’s doing something noble. He’s not.

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