White America (song)
|Song by Eminem from the album The Eminem Show|
|Released||May 28, 2002|
|Genre||Hardcore hip hop, political hip hop, rap rock|
|Label||Shady, Aftermath, Interscope|
|Writer||M. Mathers, J. Bass, L. Resto, S. King|
|Producer||Eminem, Jeff Bass|
|The Eminem Show track listing|
"White America" is a political hip hop song by rapper Eminem released in 2002 from his album The Eminem Show. The song was also performed at the MTV Video Music Awards. It is the first full song on the album, and describes Eminem's rise to prominence and allegations from parents and politicians that he had influenced criminal behavior on young white Americans.
"White America" is segued into by the opening skit "Curtains Up" on The Eminem Show, which involves Eminem walking up to a microphone to make a speech. The song talks about the controversy he had created through his lyrical content, and the impact that it had had on young white Americans, expressed with lines such as: "I speak to suburban kids, who otherwise would've never knew these words exist." He refers to white boys and girls as "Eric" and "Erica" respectively, and refers to allegations that he affected their behavior and lifestyle. He refers to how his music was better-received by African Americans, who were more aware of rap music, with lines such as: "Hip-Hop was never a problem in Harlem, only in Boston."
Eminem also states how his ethnicity helped boost his popularity, and in effect introduce white fans to his producer, Dr. Dre, although earlier in his career it had prevented him from being taken seriously. The song also discusses the freedom of speech of the US Constitution through attacks on the then-Second Lady of the United States Lynne Cheney and her predecessor Tipper Gore, who questioned Eminem's legitimacy to freedom of speech and introduced the Parental Advisory sticker respectively. Despite the strong criticism of the Federal Government and American ideals, Eminem states at the end of the song: "I'm just playin' America. You know I love you."
"White America" had an animated music video that featured imagery related to the lyrics, including Eminem on a wanted poster and later being lynched while the US Constitution is torn up in the foreground.
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According to the liberal American investigative news magazine Mother Jones, the song is the fourth-most used in American prisons to disorientate and cause sleep deprivation among inmates. A second Eminem song, "Kim", is in fifth.