The question of whether or not you love or hate Eminem became obsolete a long time ago. The multi-platinum, Academy and Grammy Award winning rapper, actor and writer has more than earned his keep. But just when you thought he couldn’t add any more to his bloated resume he went ahead and did something that no other musician or band has ever done before. The RIAA recently honored him with yet another Digital Single Diamond Award, the second in his career.
The first song to reach Diamond status was “Love the Way You Lie” featuring Rihanna. It’s a smash-and-grab pop hit with all the elements that the mainstream looks for: big names, big sounds, and no holding back. There’s a lightness to the intro that works for Rihanna’s meager voice, and she does a good job rolling out the red carpet for an explosive Eminem rant.
Not many lyricists can talk about domestic violence the way he does and have it stick, but the difference is he’s been so revealing for so long it’s just par for the course at this point – no need to speculate it’s all right there spelled out for you. Having Rihanna on your track helps broaden the appeal, but her presence doesn’t necessarily guarantee a hit. It’s only because of common ground does a collaboration like this make sense: [LISTEN]
I feel so ashamed, I snap, ‘who’s that dude?’/I don’t even know his name/I laid hands on her, I’ll never stoop so low again/I guess I don’t know my own strength
The other diamond notch is “Not Afraid,” yet another Eminem rant, but of a totally different magnitude. He takes a break from the whole “fuck the world” routine (just a hair mind you) as to let some grown man perspective shine through. It’s not outside his range yet a significant step towards his twilight. It’s an opportunity to look back on all the triumphs and tribulations of his near quarter-century long career, a token inspirational jam from a guy who by all accounts should have never made it out of Detroit.
Eminem, the benevolent motivational speaker. Yeah, that’s right, he grew up right before our eyes and we barely noticed. And you got to give him credit, too. Everything he’s done, he’s done his way: [LISTEN]
I’m not afraid to take a stand/Everybody come take my hand/We’ll walk this road together, through the storm/Whatever weather, cold or warm/Just letting you know that you’re not alone/Holla if you feel like you’ve been down the same road
By winning the Diamond Award for the second time Eminem has – if he hadn’t already – earned himself a ticket to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s an accolade that the general public might have trouble contextualizing at the moment, but one that’ll be the benchmark, especially as we become more and more integrated.
The stream generation has spoken and they’ve chosen Eminem to be their representative, and it makes complete sense. He expresses anger and disillusionment in ways that make his fans feel like the only person in the room, which is what every great pop star should aspire to do. And while most traditionalist have trouble giving him props, his most recent award is yet another trump card to silence their unnecessary gawking.