Eminem and Columbine
I am an Eminem Fan for years now and when I started to get more and more into True Crime I was surprised to find a lot of his Lyrics mentioning Columbine which I never really realised before. Of course he also mentioned other murderers or events, like Ted Bundy and the Aurora theater shooting but I wanted to start with the Columbine lyrics because there’s a lot of material. So let’s start:
The Way I Am, 2000
When a dude’s getting bullied and shoots up his school
And they blame it on Marilyn and the heroin
Where were the parents at? And look where it’s at!
Middle America, now it’s a tragedy
Now it’s so sad to see, an upper-class city
Havin’ this happening
Marshall states that he thinks that he thinks that not music is the reason for the shooting but bullying and the parents. But as we all know Marilyn Manson was partly blamed for Columbine by the media.
Em is also making fun of the fact that Columbine was the first shooting that people cared this much about although there have been a lot of shootings but now it happened at a “nice” school.
There is an alternative version of this song featuring Marilyn Manson (x)
He performed it live with Manson (x and x)
Manson also appeared in the official video (x)
Remember me, 2000
Came home and somebody musta broke in the back window
And stole two loaded machine guns and both of my trenchcoats
Sick, sick dreams of picnic scenes
Two kids, sixteen, with M-16’s and ten clips each
And them shits reach through six kids each
Em is making fun of the idea that musicians like him are a bad influence because he is not the one who gives these kids their weapons.
And as we all know, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold both wore
a Trenchcoat when the attack started, that’s why „both of my Trenchcoats“ were stolen. And so he thinks that they
were stolen to start another Columbine.
And when you have these „two kids“ with guns that, when you shoot them, „reach through six kids each“ you have 12 dead kids. And as we all know, during the Columbine massacre died 12 kids (and one adult).
By the way, Eminem needed two months to write his whole verse on this song while Sticky Fingaz wrote his verse in one day.
I’m Back, 2000
I take seven [kids] from [Columbine]
Stand ‘em all in line, add an AK-47, a revolver, a 9
A MAC-11 and it oughta solve the problem of mine
And that’s a whole school of bullies shot up all at one time
This is probably the most well known Columbine reference made by Eminem.
This album came out one year after the massacre so it was still an sensitive subject. Therefore his label censored these two words (Kids and Columbine), even on the explicit version of the album.
I don’t think I have to explain what exactly this lyric means, it’s pretty clear.
In his book he states this:
“ I was getting shit about the Columbine reference on “I’m Back” and the label was telling me that I wasn’t gonna be able to say it. My whole thing was, what is the big fucking deal? That shit happens all the time. Why is that topic so touchy as opposed to, say a four-year-old kid drowning? Why isn’t that considered a huge tragedy? People die in the city all the time. People get shot, people get stabbed, raped, mugged, killed and all kinds of shit. What the fuck is the big deal with Columbine that makes it separate from any other tragedy in America?”
In 2015 a 15 year-old boy was arrested. He posted these lyrics on Instagram and added “Cause I’m just like shady and just as crazy as the world was over that whole Y2K thing”
The origiginal lyrics are “ ‘Cause (I'mmmm) Shady, they call me as crazy
As the world was over this whole Y2K thing”
searched the boy’s home they found weaponry and eventually arrested him. He denied any knowledge of the weapons and said he didn’t post this text on Instagram.
White America, 2002
White America, I could be one of your kids
White America, little Eric looks just like this
In this song it’s not only about the Lyrics but also about the music video.
With “little Eric” he mentioned Eric Harris but it was also meant as an example for a typical white kid. He is from middle america because his name is in the middle of amERICa.
The interesting part is, as I said, the video. Where you can see news of an school shooting during “I could be one of your kids”
And during “little Eric looks just like this” you can see one of those typical yearbook pictures and the house of the school shooter. The house looks a bit like the one the Harrises had.
When these lines get repeated you can see a boy full of (probably) blood stepping out of the map of america. On his shirt is written “I am Eric”.
This was the first time we could hear the Columbine Line uncensored. Eminem didn’t rap all of the “I’m back” lines because he just wanted to
“See if I get away with it now that I ain’t as big as I was”
As you can hear, he got away with it.
Eminem is one of the few people who openly give their sympathy for the two shooters.
He admitted to be interested in serial killers in this statement:
“I did find myself watching a lot of documentaries on serial killers, I mean, I always had a thing for them. I’ve always been intrigued by them and I found that watching movies about killers sparked something in me.The way a serial killer’s mind works, just the psychology of them is pretty fucking crazy. I was definitely inspired by that, but most of the album’s imagery came from my own mind.”
But Marshall Mathers seems to have an very personal realationship with the whole Columbine Issue.
He himself was bullied on a daily basis during his childhood, often for his race and for always being the new kid. When he was nine years old he got beaten up so bad he was in an coma for several days. I think he is one of the people who is trying to understand what Harris and Klebold were going through.
But I think it is important to mention, that he is the living proof that even when your life is is shitty right now because of some people who have nothing in their life but to terrorize you, that you can still have a better life. And you beat them best when you keep on living.
“That Columbine shit is so fucking touchy. As much sympathy as we give the Columbine shootings, nobody ever looked at it from the fuckin’ point of view of the kids who were bullied—I mean, they took their own fucking life! And it was because they were pushed so far to the fucking edge that they were fucking so mad. I’ve been that mad.”