Political analyst and social commentator Dr. Boyce Watkins discussed the idea of Eminem being the “king of rap” in a recent interview with Vlad TV. Bursting into laughter at the inquiry, Watkins discussed the Detroit rapper’s talents, as well his perceived edge over other rappers: his race.
“Eminem is as true of a lyricist as you’re gonna see,” Watkins said. “And he’s also great because he shows respect to those who came before him. So, he’s not Iggy Azalea or whatever. He’s a guy that I think at the core of his heart he’s not a wigger, but he’s not a white boy. He’s just who he is.”
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While praising Em’s artistic capability, Watkins also called the rapper “a product of white privilege,” citing that he is more easily received by fans because he is white.
“I think that Eminem to some extent is a little bit of a product of white privilege for two reasons. One, he does get a little bit of that Elvis effect,” he added. “You’re a white rapper. You’re as good as the black guy. People are gonna love you more because you’re white.”
Watkins also discussed Eminem’s ability to more easily break creative barriers than rappers of color, pointing to the commercialization of rap as an added pressure to make music about a handful of “programmatic, predictable” subjects.
“The other thing about Eminem that I think is an artifact of white privilege is that Eminem gets something that a lot of black artists don’t get: he gets to be a pure and true artist. Eminem, if you listen to his music, he raps about everything that’s in his soul and in his spirit. There’s not sort of this very programmatic, predictable, continual music that comes from him.”
Watch Dr. Boyce Watkins talk Eminem in the video above. Does he have a point? Sound off.