Though performed by Eminem 8 Mile Road is a song written by his character in the film, B. Rabbit. It's interesting to see the parallels between the two: the family struggles, concern for children (Eminem's daughter and Rabbit's little sister), a whacked out mother, and a wife/girlfriend that's driving him nuts. You can see all these tensions throughout the movie, but with Eminem 8 Mile Road addresses these issues in a way that only he can do: with a fluid delivery and interesting wordplay.
True, it's certainly not his best effort, but the song captures the mood that Rabbit was in when he wrote, and the listener can identify with the struggles he faces. You can feel the angst in lines like "Cryin' eye balls, My insides crawl, And I clam up, I just slam shut, I just can't do it..."
At first, for Eminem 8 Mile Road is a place where he carries his grief, a place where he can bury his sorrows. It's a place he intends to escape from. Through the course of the song though, his view begins to change as he realizes the influence his home has on him. He realizes that it's not just a street, it's his home, his credibility- and that he is a part of it. To simply run away would be cowardice; he must stay and fight for what he wants: a career in music, a stable family and perhaps more than anything, respect from his peers. The song closes with the line "I am no longer scared now, I'm free as a bird, Then I turn and cross over the median curb, Hit the burbs and all you see is a blur, I'm 8 Mile Road".
One aspect that impressed me about this song is that Eminem is writing about a song from a character's perspective that he is playing. He has written songs from different perspectives before (such as "Stan" where he portrays a twisted fan in need of help) and I'm sure those songs have helped him in his portrayal of Rabbit. Most MC's never stretch themselves that far conceptually, and it's refreshing to hear. For Eminem 8 Mile Road is a chance to explore his own story from a fresh angle. I recommend giving the song another listen once you've watched the movie and explore the similarities between the man and character; it's definitely worth it.
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