dimension is gender-sexual, which examines the portrayal of the artists’ feminine or masculine traits and questions their “hard” or “soft” reputation (171). The fifth dimension is social-locational, which analyzes the artist’s loyalty to their hometown and whether they represent the “streets” or the “suburbs” (171). The final dimension is cultural, which depicts the artist’s representation of being “old school” or “mainstream” (172). Although each dimension can be evaluated individually, they can also interweave and work in unison. 7
Grenon Appropriating Authenticity Politics with Eminem As Eminem stepped into the land of hip-hop, he was welcomed with open arms. These dimensions classify the genuine rawness of the artist and their cultural identity. The first dimension is social psychological . This dimension emphasizes the discourse of hip-hop. It determines the realness of the artist of “staying true to yourself” or the fakeness of “following mass trends” (169). This first politic is extremely controversial to Eminem’s life and career. While Eminem was exposed to a brutal upbringing in a predominately black neighborhood of Detroit, he followed his own passion after dropping out of high school. While being a white kid who loved hip-hop, he embraced this love for the hip-hop genre and expressed it in joining the rap scene by battling. Eminem contributed his life to his art when he “stayed true to himself” in his movie 8 Mile, which essentially replicated his life and the motives he had as an underground artist. The political-economic dimension questions the artist’s credibility in terms of their “commercial” success compared to their “underground” success (170). One would be considered a “sell out” if they remove themselves from their underground roots to move up to the mainstream industry (170). As Eminem initially free-styled within his community, it made him gain street cred. After releasing Infinite and it not reaching its fullest potential, Slim Shady EP went commercial as it gained attention through the radio. After his notorious single “My Name Is” reached 36 on the Hot 100 and also won Best Rap Solo Performance, this branched him off from being considered underground to commercial. With this new reputation, it emphasized his title even more and positioned him more in the spotlight, but questioned his loyalty in the streets (encyclopedia). This coordinates with the Cultural Dimension as it depicts the artist’s authenticity based on he 8
Grenon or she’s representation of “old school” or “mainstream” (172). Eminem was known for his mainstream music once he stepped under the limelight. The next dimension is Racial . Black hip-hop artists’ normally gravitate to statements that project their own culture (170). Eminem, however, alludes to this idea of performing blackness by his appearance and language use, but has still rejected this notion as well through his lyricism. “Y’all act like you ain’t never seen a white person before” (“The Real Slim Shady).
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