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Eminem's “My Name Is”: Signifying Whiteness, Rearticulating Race

Abstract
Abstract

Eminem's emergence as one of the most popular rap stars of 2000 raised numerous questions about the evolving meaning of whiteness in U.S. society. Comparing The Slim Shady LP (1999) with his relatively unknown and commercially unsuccessful first album, Infinite (1996), reveals that instead of transcending racial boundaries as some critics have suggested, Eminem negotiated them in ways that made sense to his target audiences. In particular, Eminem's influential single “My Name Is,” which helped launch his mainstream career, parodied various representations of whiteness to help counter charges that the white rapper lacked authenticity or was simply stealing black culture. This “rearticulation” of whiteness in hip hop paralleled a number of other ideological realignments in the 1990s, many of which pit questions of class against those of race in the service of constructing new political and cultural authenticities. Eminem's performances provide us with a mirror in which numerous questions surrounding whiteness's significance come into focus.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Edward G Armstrong . “Eminem's Construction of Authenticity.” Popular Music and Society 27/3 (October 2004): 335–55.

Linda Hutcheon . A Theory of Parody: The Teachings of Twentieth-Century Art Forms. London and New York: Methuen, 1985.

Ingrid Monson . “The Problem with White Hipness: Race, Gender, and Cultural Conceptions in Jazz Historical Discourse.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 48/3 (Autumn 1995): 396422.

Christopher Small . “Why Doesn't the Whole World Love Chamber Music?American Music 19/3 (Autumn 2001): 340–59.

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Journal of the Society for American Music
  • ISSN: 1752-1963
  • EISSN: 1752-1971
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-society-for-american-music
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