HITS Daily Double

“You know, people are waiting for a 'We Shall Overcome,' they’re waiting for another 'Blowin’ in the Wind' and 'Imagine.' Hasn’t been written yet."

—Joan Baez, 2017

With an appearance at the BET Hip Hop Awards Tuesday night, Eminem—who is dropping new music any day—delivered a masterful cypher about the current state of our country and the battles of President Donald Trump with a blistering ferocity and emotion that only Marshall Mathers can truly muster, which immediately reverberated across social media and beyond.

Titled afterward in a tweet as, “The Storm” (Freestyle), this piece is more significant than just a badass freestyle from one of our most skillful and beloved rappers of all time. This is a tidal surge of visceral words and as powerful as Hurricane Maria; cause Em just came raining down on Trump in verse. And don’t forget: when this man raps, a generation listens, learns and repeats word-for-word.

Fuck walkin' on egg shells, I came to stomp
That's why he keeps screamin', "Drain the swamp"
'Cause he's in quicksand
It's like we take a step forwards, then backwards
But this is his form of distraction
Plus, he gets an enormous reaction

The history of great protest songs isn’t only about the music itself but the timing of when that art appears in the national conversation, as these moments are the crystallization of our collective feelings as a society and our greatest artists – the genius ones—are always somehow capable of supremely channeling those thoughts and feelings, right at the time we need to HEAR THEM. And this is a spanking.

And any fan of mine who’s a supporter of his
I’m drawing, in the sand, a line
You’re either for or against
And if you can’t decide who you like more and you’re split
On who you should stand beside
I’ll do it for you with this:
“Fuck you!”
The rest of America stand up
We love our military, and we love our country
But we fucking hate Trump

“The Storm” has the meat to emerge as one of the more brilliant protest pieces in American culture; like Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin On” and Dylan’s “Times They Are A-Changing,” what Eminem has delivered here is a total reckoning. A battle cry in the voice of Hip-Hop. RAW.

He accomplished what only the rare artists can do: He changed the whole fucking conversation. Salute.