Eminem, arguably Hip Hop’s most popular white MC, is frequently accused of appropriating Black culture. Slim Shady recently dropped his new collaboration with Cee-Lo Green, “The King and I,” which is taken from Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming film Elvis. Slim Shady makes a daring statement in the third line over a clip of Elvis Presley’s 1957 classic “Jailhouse Rock.”
Elvis Presley’s legacy is tangled and controversial. Presley, affectionately known by his adoring fans as “The King,” has long been accused of not just stealing from Black music but also of being a bigot. Eminem also admits to stealing from black music on his latest single.
I stole black music, yeah true. Perhaps used it (For what?) as a tool to combat school/Kids came back on some bathroom sh*t/Now I call a hater a bidet (Why?)/’Cause they mad that they can’t do sh*t (Haha).
Now I’m about to explain to you all the parallels/Between Elvis and me, myself/It seem obvious: one, he’s pale as me/Second, we both been hailed as kings/He used to rock the Jailhouse, and I used to rock The Shelter/We sell like Velveeta Shells & Cheese (Woo!) (Let’s go!).
Presley was quoted in the same Jet Magazine story as saying that he could never aspire to match the musical achievements of Fats Domino or the Inkspot’s Bill Kenny. Presley regularly paid homage to his “Black roots.” However, many people believed that Presley’s popularity as a musical and cultural hero was primarily due to his skin color, a sentiment shared by others who question Eminem’s accomplishment.
Similar claims have been levelled against Jack Harlow, one of the only white rappers dominating the Billboard charts these days. After Harlow’s “First Class” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April, Punch of Top Dawg Entertainment commented questioned the validity of the Kentucky rapper’s achievement. Check out Eminem’s latest single below.
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