Eminem: 50 Greatest Songs

The best from the bloody, bombastic, brilliant career of the hip-hop troublemaker

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17. "White America" (2002)

By 2002's The Eminem Show, the rapper had faced off against two consecutive vice-presidential wives (Tipper Gore and Lynne Cheney), in their crusades to censor rap. He strikes back in the album's opening track, where he demands to know how he became one of America's Most Wanted. In print, his interrogation of his position as a rich and famous white rapper seems almost matter-of-fact. ("It's obvious to me that I sold double the records because I'm white," he said to Rolling Stone.) But in "White America," set to Em's own arena rock-sized production – thudding percussion and the sound of fighter jets – those same sentiments feel like he's declaring a state of emergency. "See, the problem is," he raps urgently, casting himself as a generational figure, "I speak to suburban kids/Who otherwise woulda never knew these words exist/Whose moms probably woulda never gave two squirts of piss/'Til I created so much motherfuckin' turbulence." 

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