Legends Pt.3

Growing up, I was exposed to a lot of music. I can remember riding in the car with my Dad and hearing the usual rotation of Eminem, D12, and Ludacris shake the car as we went places. However, one song stood out to me like no other, I didn’t know what the words were nor the story it was telling but I particularly remember falling in love with the beat.

Eventually, I wouldn’t hear that song again until I was in high school; simply because I could not remember who made it or what the words were. “One More Road To Cross” immediately found it’s way into my iPod library along with the rest of DMX’s discography. Out of all of the rappers, I grew up listening to, DMX amongst few has had an everlasting impact on me and continue to be one of my favorite musicians of all time.

Earl Simmons, otherwise known as DMX is singlehandedly one of the greatest rappers to enter the game. At the time of his entrance, not many rappers could talk about both their feelings and their hood status on the album. No other rapper had such a menacing and aggressive intro track than DMX when he released It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot in 1998. However, the album that grabbed my attention as a 14-year-old was his third album …And Then There Was X this album was all I listened to at that time. While most of the kids in my school were listening to newcomers such as Big Sean, Tyga, and J.Cole I listened heavily to DMX. Every song that DMX has created shows human emotion to the fullest extent that can be relatable and inspiring. DMX is a true thug, but often shows a religious aspect on his albums which makes DMX the perfect blend of good and evil.

And Then There Was X is the album that really inspired my childhood interests and one of the albums that propelled me deeper in the rap genre. Not many albums could capture my attention like this one did almost seven years ago. With one of my favorite tracks growing up (“One More Road to Cross”) being on this album, the rest of the songs are just a bonus in my opinion. Each song serves a purpose and tells a deep and heavy story about the everyday situations of life and death that DMX faces with his lifestyle. DMX even has the party staple of the 2000’s “Party Up” on this album.

1999 was a great year for rap with albums from Eminem, Mos Def, Jay-Z, and Dr. Dre coming out. DMX happened to just come out at the right time to be associated with these other rap legends. With a generous mix of emotion and hype, DMX nails this album and deserves to be considered a classic in all regards. With this classic album and many other great projects under his belt, it’s safe to say that DMX is a legend in the rap genre.

Legends

Music in general has it’s fair share of “legends” and “heroes”, however, it seems that these days the most pressure is on rap legends to release music that can top their old releases. That simply isn’t possible.

Recently, Eminem has been at the center of the cross-hairs with his hype and release of RevivalRevival was going to be Eminem’s big comeback and best record since The Marshall Mathers LP 2 which came out in 2013. When Revival came out it was met with harsh criticism and very split opinions. Revival is the music equivalent of Star Wars: The Last Jedi in terms of the division of the fan base. The album was assumed to be great based on his track record and recent freestyle and protest against Donald Trump, however, think about Eminem’s past releases and how “good” they were.

Eminem has constantly dissed his own album Relapse and is known to dislike and seemingly hate that album. The real twist is that most fans really do like Relapse especially big names like Tyler, the Creator. Although Eminem is allowed to dislike his work notably when you take into account his personal life at that point and his issues with drug abuse. Having a commercial and critical failing album is a good enough reason to dislike it, however, when we look at Revival that dislike from critics and fans is multiplied exponentially. Why do the fans expect so much from these musicians specifically when they’ve released non-favorable albums before.

The legendary status given to Eminem is very much earned and the result of years upon years of hard work, but what does that title really mean? Does Eminem have to consistently compete with his old work? Does he have to once again become the Rap God? These questions can be quite taxing on a musician and their fans because these expectations aren’t realistic. To say Eminem must put out an album better than his 2000 album The Marshall Mathers LP is next to impossible.

Revival instead is a complicated yet interesting display of lyrical talent and skill. The lyrics and rhyme patterns that Eminem has been perfecting over the years is quite astonishing considering that most modern day artists never go that far in depth with their rhymes. Revival isn’t supposed to be his best album or comeback, it’s simply an update of where Eminem stands politically, personally, and lyrically. With the album standing at mostly a 50% score it’s easy to see the divided sides argue due to the misleading expectations.

Eminem is a legend in rap, and a master of his own craft. The expectations for him are out of this world due to this legendary status, however, each listener is allowed to form their own opinion on Revival and Eminem as a legendary icon. The only true statement that most agree with, is that Eminem helped make modern rap great. Eminem was a unique anomaly in the 2000’s due to his style and skin. Eminem is a legend in his own right, and deserves to be recognized as someone who is responsible for today’s artists and the future artists. Revival may not be his best work, but it does have immortal lyrics and stories to share to the world.

Eminem earned the title of Rap God and thus needs to push forward and once again display his talent as the Rap God in due time.