Talib Kweli reflects on Eminem’s past and present.
“It’s tough to hear a white dude call a black guy ‘bitch’ in hip-hop,” begins Talib, after Vlad recites a few bars from the Kamikaze track. “Eminem is a fantastic lyricist. Those are pretty dope lyrics. I’ve been around Eminem but I don’t have a relationship with him.” On the topic of Eminem using “the house you own” as an analogy to hip-hop, Talib offers up a new perspective. “It’s pretty brazen,” he reflects. “I’m all for Eminem staking his claim and saying look, I belong here. I don’t necessarily disagree with that. Lord Jamar is an OG. As him, as a member of Brand Nubian. Because I respect hip-hop culture, I gotta respect who this man is.”
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“Even if I disagree with my OGs, that’s not something I do publically,” he continues. “Lord Jamar made some very valid points about hip-hop culture and culture vultures. I think the culture vulture conversation surrounding hip-hop has to move away from the race discussion. Clearly because of white supremacy, it’s more likely for a white person to be a culture vulture than it is for a black person. But there are plenty of black culture vultures. I personally do not feel like Eminem is a guest in hip-hop because he’s a white guy. People might disagree with me on that. That wording doesn’t give credit to how Eminem participates in hip-hop.”
He does, however, look back to Em’s infamously surfaced demo “Foolish Pride,” which was unearthed by Benzino and The Source during their bitter feud. “I feel like that absolutely was a racist lyric,” says Talib. “I feel like as a man, my default is sexism. I can be sexist by default just by being a man. Same with white people, I feel like they can be racist by default, without even knowing it.” He reveals that he has forgiven Em for the lyric, “because of what Eminem has brought to hip-hop and the world…I seen Eminem in the streets of New York battling actual rap lyrical killas, and besting them. I saw that with my own two eyes.”
Check out some thoughts from Talib Kweli, himself a respected lyricist and contributor to the game.