"White America"
Song by Eminem
from the album The Eminem Show
ReleasedMay 26, 2002
Genre
Length5:24
Label
Songwriter(s)
  • M. Mathers
  • J. Bass
  • L. Resto
  • S. King
Producer(s)
Music video
"White America" on YouTube

"White America" is a political hip hop song by rapper Eminem released in 2002 from his fourth studio 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.

Lyrical content

"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 representations of any white youth. Eminem also expressed his belief that his music is controversial only because it appeals to white kids, with lines such as, "Hip-hop was never a problem in Harlem, only in Boston / after it bothered the fathers of daughters starting to blossom."

Eminem also states his belief that his skin color helped with his popularity, and in effect introduced 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.

Music video

"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.

Other use

Mother Jones magazine has stated that the song is used in American military prisons to disorient and cause sleep deprivation among detainees. A second Eminem song, "Kim", is also used.[3][4]

"White America" was mashed up with "Fistful of Steel" by American rock band Rage Against the Machine in DJ Vlad & Roc Raida's mixtape, Rock Phenomenon. It was released on the mixtape on March 27, 2006, and, due to much critical praise, was re-released on July 10, 2007.[citation needed]

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[5] Gold 500,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

References

  1. ^ AllHipHop: Top 20 Political Hip Hop Songs
  2. ^ "The 10 Best Eminem Songs". Stereogum. Retrieved January 24, 2015.
  3. ^ "The Torture Playlist", Mother Jones.
  4. ^ "The US military's torture top 10", The Guardian".
  5. ^ "American single certifications – Eminem – White America". Recording Industry Association of America.