The Atlantic Introduces Eminem to Obama


It’s oddly timed (is this piece really pegged to Eminem’s release date?), but The Atlantic is currently hosting a roundtable discussion on hip-hop in the age of Obama, a topic we once wrote a few thousand words about (more than once, actually), and remain sort of obsessed with. The panelists: Hua Hsu, who is on record as knowing a thing or two about rap, as well as Alyssa Rosenberg, one of the Atlantic‘s culture critics, and Gautham Nagesh, a “Government Executive staff correspondent.” Oddly, the resident rap scholar the Atlantic employs full time, Ta-Nehisi Coates, is missing. Maybe because he doesn’t listen to anything new? Anyway, topics discussed include Relapse, “skinny suburbanite” Asher Roth, Wale, rap’s failure to remain a reliable “dispatch from the ghetto,” Young Jeezy’s “My President” (another pet topic), Hsu revisiting his January “End of White America?” piece and the argument therein (“It’s a weird thing to acknowledge, the extent to which the rise of the hip-hop mogul facilitated the rise of Obama”), and the underrated radical aspects of Eminem’s comeback. “While I was busy wishing hip-hop to be something positive or conscious or progressive or whatever,” writes Hsu, “it grew into something completely different: the establishment.”