This is a difficult question to answer with certainty, partly because different sources claim it started before or at the same time as the first rap, and partly because not every source mentions the same rap.
For instance, the “Dangerous Rhythm” album cover shows a black man who looks remarkably like Eminem, right down to the ear hair. But we also have the “Rap God” story, which was told first by the Village Voice in 2002 (the book version of which appeared in 2007). However, it was a very different kind of legend, one that stressed the role that white men played in hip-hop’s birth – one that portrayed black men as subservient and powerless. While that myth did not originate with Eminem, it definitely got the ball rolling for the rapper.
The legend also included a quote from a black journalist called “Erik,” who was at the time an editor for Time Magazine. “There has always been a relationship between black culture and America, between rap and hip hop,” he said. “That’s what’s so interesting about hip-hop: It’s a form of American expression that’s been around before the Civil War but that seems to have taken the American landscape by storm today.”
This wasn’t even Eminem’s whole quote. “In American history,” Erik continued, “we need to learn to understand the role that black people and black culture play in the way that black culture is manifested.”
Eminem’s father was called Eazy-E, after Eminem’s middle name, and Eminem came up with the name soon after he was born – for his mother. The name itself is also notable because it was a common name for black people in the 1920’s, and was often associated with the notorious “Black Cockney” gangster, Tommy Killen.
That’s one of the reasons, we’ve argued in the past, that Eminem has been dubbed “the white child of rap,” a term used primarily by white people to describe people of color. That myth helped foster the myth that black men were subservient creatures who did not have “black minds” – although there were exceptions. There was the case of Eazy-E, who’s credited with founding rap. But in no way did Eminem or any of his contemporaries have anything like the kind of black influence to get their ideas together that “C-Murder” does.
Another thing we’ve argued is that white people have always referred to their
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