#knurdBackwards The Saddest Eminem Song Ever (#stopbullying)
Growing up, my favorite rapper was Eminem hands down. He debuted in '99, right around the time my curiosity was fighting its way to the forefront of my brain, and all I wanted was my own thing, separate from the influence of my siblings, friends, and direct environment. What better way to satisfy my need for newness than a bleach-blonde white boy rapper, right? Anyway, I was a huge fan up until my adulthood. Nowadays, I'm just another Eminem fan who wants the old Slim Shady back.
To me, the music he puts out these days is either depressing, weak, or straight up garbage, especially his last two albums. However, bad is just bad, and doesn't always equate to sad. While his new music probably makes real life Stans cry all over the world due to the lack of quality, his saddest song actually resides on his first album, The Slim Shady LP. The song that inspired this article: Brain Damage.
Now, it may be because I'm currently #knurdBackwards, maybe it's because I teach young kids, or maybe it's because I'm an empathetic amateur psychologist, but whatever the reason, when I just heard this song, it damn near brought me to tears!
Are there other sad hip hop songs? Of course! "Crossroads" by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony,"Miss My Homies" by Master P, "Live In The Sky" by T.I. and "He Say, She Say" are sad as a muthafucker, they are also actually MEANT TO BE SAD! You can tell by the beat (violins and piano) and singing on all of those songs that these songs were built around real feelings of hurt, pain, and loss. These songs also get extra credit because they defy stereotypes by showing a more sensitive side of an American Black man, who is most cases is considered (and portrays the image of) a heartless thug.
The weird part about Eminem's song however, is that is doesn't try to sound sad at all. The beat sounds like it's the cousin of Eminem's first single, "My Name Is", and it also has the same touch of ultra-violence in the lyrics, but what makes this song different and disturbing is that is was probably the most honest account of Eminem's childhood that he displayed his career. While plenty of rappers assume the tough guy persona in their songs, Eminem immediately delves into how he was bullied in middle school starting from his first day.
While he may be exaggerating parts of this story, it's pretty scary knowing which parts of this story are actually true. Early on he says he was a kid who "refused to respect adults", so it's no wonder later on he says his teacher told him he doesn't have detention because "that bully wants to beat your ass and I'ma let him!" He describes getting beating up, even after giving up his lunch money, and even name drops one of his bullies who beat him up in the bathroom. While he does describe getting revenge via broomstick, that stands out as one of the most unrealistic parts of this song.
However, the reasons behind his fury according to him sounded valid, at least from the perspective of a little kid. The reasons included every time the bully:
Took his orange juice
Stole his seat in the lunchroom
Drank his chocolate milk
Tipped his tray in the lunchroom and made it spill
It's hard not to feel bad for this little guy
While his revenge may not have actually happened, his story about what happened after he went home is pretty disturbing. According to him, he was reading a comic book when he blacked out, probably due to actual brain damage and going in and out of consciousness for 5 DAYS! That's fuckin crazy, and it's even crazier that he rose above all of that and became who he is today.
P.S. It's definitely a responsibility of adults to watch out for bullying and signs of it. While Eminem turned his experience into a profitable career, other kids aren't as fortunate and need our help. If you want to learn more about bullying prevention, check out stopbullying.gov.