It figures he’d be the one. It figures when we needed someone to crystallize the way we feel, the sense of rage, the building tension and need to lash out that he would come with the right word, at the right time, in the right place.
Think what you want about Eminem, and he may not be as reviled as he was a few years ago, as much of a third rail. He is respected now, his talent undeniable. What Chris Rock said about him is true. He is the best rapper out there. Not the most popular, which, of course, he is, but the best.
But there is a chance that he is also the most vital artist we have today. There may be others out there saying it better, clearer, louder; but we don’t know who they are. We aren’t aware of what they are doing. There may be more popular artists out there saying things; but they aren’t as smart as he is. They don’t touch the same nerves.
He is, to me, the most vital artist we have. And if you question that assertion, just watch the video for his latest song “Mosh.”
It’s not a shot across the bow protest song. It seems more than that. It’s that moment in a prizefight, the other guy ducks under a punch, he releases his hands, and is hit by a shot he never saw coming. Just a severe uppercut, it disjaws him, it dismantles him, it crumples his legs and sends his brain bouncing around his head. It’s a haymaker of a video.
Animated with visuals by the Guerrilla News Network's Ian Inaba, it features Eminem leading a group of black hooded protestors on what looks like the White House. You think a riot is nearing, they are going to burn the house to the ground. But amidst the anger, his message is even more powerful. The boxing metaphor, he feints and hits you where you didn't expect. His lyrics make the points that most of us know, but haven’t made, cannot say. Not this clearly. Not with this much intensity. Not with this package of stunningly effecting visuals and potent kinetic words.
I’ve watched this thing for the past two days. I can’t get over it. I hope you find it as affecting as I did.