White America (song)
|Song by Eminem from the album The Eminem Show|
|Released||May 28, 2002|
|Genre||Political hip hop, hardcore 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. It addresses the controversy stemming from Eminem's lyrical content, and impacting white youth, expressed with lines such as: "I speak to suburban kids, who otherwise would've never knew these words exist." "Eric" and "Erica" are personifications of any white youth, and refers to allegations that he affected their behavior and lifestyle. Eminem also expressed his belief that he's 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 skin color is the reason for 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, at the end, Eminem reveals the tongue-in-cheek nature of the song's entirety: "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.
According to the liberal American investigative news magazine Mother Jones, the song is the fourth-most used in American military prisons to disorientate and cause sleep deprivation among detainees. A second Eminem song, "Kim", is in fifth.