Students are going berserk for the return of the rap god.
On Monday, hip-hop recording artist Marshall Mathers, otherwise known as Eminem, released Shady XV, a compilation album featuring himself among other Shady Records artists such as Royce da 5'9" and 50 Cent. The album is a double disc package with disc one featuring new tracks from Eminem and other Shady Records artists while disc two features classic songs that have come to be appreciated by Shady fans.
"His music has meaning to it," said Roberto Garza, mechanical and aerospace engineering senior. "He has an alter ego named Slim Shady, and basically Slim Shady does not filter anything. Eminem talks more about real life issues, struggles, stuff you can relate to."
Mathers faced a difficult childhood, having to deal with problems such as abuse, neglect, bullying and not fitting in anywhere. It is these problems that Garza thinks drives fans to relate to Eminem.
"One of the songs that hits home with me is 'When I'm Gone,' and it's a very beautiful song where it's like 'When I'm gone, don't mourn, rejoice every time you hear the sound of my voice.' He's basically saying to his fans and his family 'I'm sorry I was gone, I'm eventually going to be gone again, wait for me to come back.' "
Despite his large fanbase, Eminem has amassed a lot of controversy throughout his years as an artist. His lyrics have been described as violent, disturbing, homophobic and misogynistic. Some of his more recent singles such as "Vegas" and "Shady CXVPHER" include disses to female artists such as Lana Del Rey and Iggy Azalea, involving them either being beaten or raped.
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"He's been doing this for a long time," kineseology junior Derek Duchene said. "If anything, he's getting a kick out of the way everyone reacts. He doesn't take it serious. He doesn't take it as serious as everyone else. To him, it's probably just words to a song, whereas everyone else I guess is a little sensitive. That's just him."
The extent of his controversy has a huge emphasis on the misogynistic content in his lyrics, with writers going so far as to say that Eminem has a "hatred of women."
However, Sonja Watson, director of Women and Gender Studies, said the problem exists further beyond Eminem himself.
"It's misogynistic, they're promoting domestic violence, sexual assault, but perhaps to a higher degree is something you see in the larger hip-hop movement," she said. "There's a lot of artists that's kind of a promoting the juxtaposition of hip-hop masculinity, this kind of hyper sexuality, hyper masculinity, and I think that's just a part of the larger hip-hop movement where it's just kind of promoting male virility. I think it's just a reflection of the overall hip-hop movement."
Watson thinks that Eminem gets singled out for it partially because of his popularity.
"Eminem has been out longer, and he's very mainstream," she said. "I think with that popularity comes more visibility, but I also think with Eminem, they are a little stronger. The misogynistic lyricism in Eminem is just a little bit stronger."
Garza said that even though Eminem faces a lot of backlash as an artist, he understands him because he faced many of the same difficulties he did as a child.
"He's been around for so long, that you kind of need to see where he came from to see where he's going," Garza said. "You have to appreciate at least a little bit of what he is, because you don't see any other rappers going through that stuff."