So I’ve been pretty frustrated in this lockdown, and yet somehow – I’ve been (freakishly) journalling, baking, cooking, drawing, and working out with more focus and intent than under ‘normal’ day-to-day circumstances.
The hypothesis then arises, does frustration cause an increase in creative activity? Let’s take angry-boy Marshall Mathers as our exaggerated subject in this investigation.
Eminem seems to always be, for lack of better words, in a damn terrible mood. Anger proves to be a recurring motif of sorts, vividly interlaced within each of his 11 studio albums.
“There is something inside me that is a little more happy when I’m angry. As bad as it feels to be there, there’s also a rush about it that I like because it inspires me to say something back.”
As fans, we’ve been made fully aware of his rough upbringings as a child. His father’s abandonment, mothers neglect and serious drug abuse, being moved through public housing systems and all the trauma that came with it, school bullying, lawsuits…you name it. When he became successful he had a continuing reason to be angry. Being on the road and in the studio meant he was kept from his daughter Hailie and on top of that, his long-term marriage crumbled. The 2004 track ‘Mockingbird’ further details how his ex-wife picked up a ‘habit’ and how he was ultimately sorry his little girl Hailie had to witness drug abuse first hand as he did as a child.
Mathers had two choices here – to lash out and most likely end up behind bars, or to release his pain through his chosen outlet – music. In his track “Lose Yourself” he states “I’ve got to formulate a plot ‘fore I end up in jail or shot. Success is my only motherf’n’ option, failure’s not”.
So there in plain sight is Mathers’ rather substantial catalyst for creative self-expression and it’s this blunt transparency in his lyrics that makes Eminem so fascinatingly polarizing. He spits into the mic like we’re listening in on a personal therapy session, or perhaps we are in fact his therapists. Eminem continues to blur the line between celebrity-life and real-life as we hear of the good, the bad and the ugly the entire way through his journey. His stories and the intuitive sense of flow that carries them cannot be duplicated by any old Joe Blogs; and that’s Eminem’s unique value proposition. As an artist, he forces us to confront our repressed feelings and he lets us know it’s more than okay to feel violent and upset – as long as we do not act on those emotions and release our pain in a healthy way.
Our man’s rightly-channeled anger has led him to become one of the greatest rap artists of all time. He’s landed countless global awards for his work including Best Rap Album for three consecutive years and 14 other standing Grammy’s, he’s been massively successful on the pop charts and his relentless energy has allowed him to retain a loyal fan base of millions.
Now, lockdown frustrations might not push us to win those kind of scaled victories, but hell, a moist bread and a pretty painted picture for the wall is something to be extremely proud of if it means you didn’t poison someone in your bubble in the middle of the night. Whatever your outlet is, own it, breathe it, be it, and let it release whatever it is you are feeling. One of the most glorious experiences on this Earth is being able to FEEL SOMETHING, so let’s make the most of it and get hella creative.