Eminem’s arrival on the music scene in 1999 was met with lots of shock and awe. This week, it feels like deja vu as people reacted this week to his freestyle video that aired Tuesday during the BET Awards.
During the four minute video, Eminem went scorched earth on President Donald Trump, targeting everything from his appearance to his politics. The rapper even challenged his Trump-supporting fans to move on without the artist in their personal playlists.
Considering Eminem’s status as a global superstar, the freestyle was without a doubt the boldest protest statement made by the artist we’ve seen so far.
Detroit Free Press music critic Brian McCollum has been covering Eminem for over 20 years and says that even for the outspoken rapper, the video marks a change in his subject matter.
McCollum speaks with WDET’s Ryan Patrick Hooper about an article he wrote last month, “20 Years in, Kid Rock, Eminem, and ICP are Politically Relevant—and Culturally Divided,” and the emergence of Eminem’s political point of view.
According to McCollum, Eminem has typically let his music speak for itself and is careful about what he says publicly.
“When (Eminem) does say something it tends to have an impact and I think that’s what we saw the other night,” explains McCollum. “He’s weighed in on Donald Trump prior to this, but not in such an explosive way.”
Click on the audio player above for the full conversation.