slim.JPGI recently had the good fortune to listen to one certain song, which put much into perspective, while preaching truth and honesty. A song which shed light on bitter realities and the hypocrisy that has gnawed its way in all of us, creating a world of illusion and distrust.

Thank you, Eminem, for being the beacon of light.

The song that shook my core was none other than ‘The Real Slim Shady’ by rap vocalist Eminem. I ask to be pardoned by all those who consider me a pre-historic being for having heard the track so late. My knowledge of rap is limited. However, my knowledge of English isn’t that bad and while listening to the lyrics of the above-mentioned song, I felt suffocated within those words of brutal reality.

The song was realised in 2000, the first single off the album The Marshall Mathers LP, which went onto become Eminem’s first chart breaking success. Hailed as a novelty rap, many missed the parody that Eminem has successfully managed to emboss in this track. It is a critique of manufactured pop music and parodies several of its features including a repetitive chorus; an aspect that rap music is not prone to.

The Real Slim Shady’ has aroused much attention and agitation regarding the various insults that were hurled along with name-dropping. Pamela Anderson, Will Smith, Britney Spears – they all come under the spotlight whilst Eminem harks to us all to ‘please stand up’. We all have a Slim Shady within us.

Not too often do we encounter such telling of truth. There might be several other songs with even more explicit and candid lyrics; however, it is not the lyrics that I argue, but the very attitude that the song portrays. Filled with an air of haughtiness and an attitude of absolute disinterest, the philosophy behind the song would be to simply not care. That too, said in even finer terms.

Yes, the song has explicit lyrics. Yes, the song speaks of explicit scandals. Yes, a new leaf is added to the dictionary of abuses and insults.

Path breaking, some argue. Revolutionary, others say.

To me it seems a cheap way to receive fame and adulation. And if the deal has an included ‘He doesn’t give a damn!’ all the better.

Eminem justifies his ravings as being one who has the courage to speak publicly on topics that we dare discuss only in our living room. Well said. However, should there not be a line between the private and the public? Does music have to resort to cheap thrills in order to climb the Billboards?

I apologize in advance if I step into the web of hypocrisy and prudishness. Being a fairly liberal and candid person myself, I wonder where the need arises to fling insults and hurt sentiments on a public platform. Where such degraded insults are bound to affect some, the attitude of not caring is another pertinent dynamic of the song. In combination, the lyrics and the attitude conveyed, create a potent mix.

Eminem speaks of how there are imitators of Slim Shady everywhere. I wouldn’t doubt his statement. With rocketing album sales, and the portrayal of superiority as cool, there would be a million tiny Eminems all over. This would soon result in teen Eminems and big Eminems. I can only picture the future as one on a canvas. A world of hate and spewing abuses coloured with flecks of Slim Shady. Truly, wouldn’t that be a day to look forward to?

I abhor the manner in which Eminem has so candidly spoken about women. The only achieved acts that he mentions of the fairer sex are sexual. And then he goes onto say ‘Feminist women love Eminem’. I would consider this another parody of his, on his own self and the patriarchal and immoral ways that he does exhibit.

Inspite of this song being flanked by a Grammy and other awards, I fail to understand how this song gained as much popularity as it did. From when has culture been reduced to hate-filled messages ‘sugarcoated’ with individuality? From when has individuality been a weapon to step onto private lives? From when did decorum and respect disappear, wherein the only functions that a woman may perform are sexual and the only aspect that a man may show is arrogance?

I still don’t believe that the only way to portray courage and bravery could be at the cost of others. Being frank and being crudely impolite have a fine line drawn between them. And Eminem has successfully managed to shred that line and proclaim it as persona.

Eminem is threatened by the impending number of imposters who imitate him. Frankly, I feel that Eminem has a lot more to worry over than that. If music is supposed to be the bridge, the uniting factor between countries, races, religions and more, it is songs like this that give rise to a hostile future.

Music could be a lot more without insult hurling and name-calling.

Eminem, are you listening? There really is a Slim Shady in each one of us.

Shayoni Sarkar