Veteran head honcho of the pink trap house, 2 Chainz recently sat down with Tim Westwood to discuss his new album, Rap or Go to the League, and sharing the bill with Eminem during the latter's recent Revival Tour stop in London.
Westwood was quick to congratulate 2 Chainz on the "major game" experience:
"Congratulations on the Eminem—being on the bill for Em. That is just major game over here. Major. In the UK it gets no bigger than Eminem for a decade," Westwood said. "Like, fans dating back from day one to now, Eminem holds a special place in the UK. He resonates with people, and to be on that bill is a major, major move."
While opening for Eminem, one of the biggest stars on the planet, is certainly a major move, Chainz asked Westwood to further explain Eminem's extraordinary, lasting popularity in the UK. Shocker—a nation of mostly white, working-class citizens relate heavily to a white, "working-class" rapper voicing his frustrations.
"He just caught everyone's imagination. It was also, like, a generational thing. That was their rite of passage in hip-hop,” Westwood explained. “He was… People really related to what he said. He just resonated in a way. He talked to people over here, just talked to them emotionally, man. And those fans? He’s kept for 10 years.”
Or, in layman’s terms, Eminem spoke to emotionally frustrated white fans in the UK much like he did stateside. "Sadly, he's right," said DJBooth’s own Andy James, a writer based in London. "Same reason why middle America still loves Em so much."
As we know, people connect to the familiar, and when UK fans saw Eminem, they saw a man who looked like them and embodied their struggles. Eminem no longer needs to be great to keep winning, so long as he does nothing to tarnish the bond he first formed with his UK fans, who, as he told 2 Chainz, "are very loyal."
Equally as unsurprising is Westwood’s admission that Em marks the genesis of many UK fans’ passion for hip-hop. Though hip-hop culture had been prevalent for years prior to Em's breakout, sometimes it takes someone who looks like an audience to fully hook that audience. Just ask the third-most annoying type of rap fan.
By the look on 2 Chainz' face while Westwood spoke, none of this surprised him.