It’s long been wondered why rich kids flock to hip-hop. Yes, the music is fantastic, but when hip-hop is such a confessional genre and music is bred upon relatability, what exactly is it that these kids are connecting with when they press play on a gangsta rap album?
In a clip from a lost interview recently uploaded to YouTube, a much younger Eminem breaks down why well-off music fans cling to his music.
“I rap for people who really did have a hard-knock life,” he began. “Kids in America, that are born to both parents and raised, you know, substantially good, and had a sufficient amount of money, and went to school and were able to finish school, and always had a different pair of clothes to wear to school each day of the week… Those type of kids, they admire poor who have nothing to lose. They admire the attitude, they admire everything about them people, and they wanna be those people. They wish their life was like that.”
Eminem continued to detail the appeal of acting hard and putting on a facade of perceived struggle, all to the point of hitting at the core of hip-hop’s susceptibility to voyeurism. Taken broadly, music is an escapist art form, and to be at the head of any genre, there must be an element of voyeurism as there would be if you were a diehard fan of literature or film.
Yet, because of the nature of hip-hop’s content, the confessional lyricism and poignant depictions of gang life and struggle that are often far removed from those with the purchasing power to cop these albums, that base voyeurism has the potential to turn into more sinister exoticism.
Of course, there’s a right and a wrong way to be a guest in someone else’s culture. It never hurts to consider why you enjoy something and see what that might say about you and your bias.