Why is Eminem so popular (a psychological point of view)

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Why is Eminem so popular (a psychological point of view)

One of the website readers asked me to write an article about Eminem's vast popularity and the psychological reasons behind it.

In the online community people are divided into two groups. A group that follows Eminem and loves him and a group that wonders how he managed to become popular.

Many of Eminem's songs contain hate speeches, Cursing and direct assault on other people. Now if these things are morally wrong then how come can they become popular?

The first lesson you must learn when you attempt to understand the psychology of human beings is that morality has nothing to do with popularity.

If a product, be it a song or whatever, managed to target some of the human's important needs then it will become successful even if it was morally wrong to listen to it.

Most of Eminem's songs targeted very important needs that many people had and as a result they got addicted to them. In this post i will tell you how these songs attracted the people who needed them.

Reasons many of Eminem's songs became popular hits

  • 1)Assaulting others is a bad thing, right?: Most people will agree that assaulting others is a bad thing but some of them will forget their own code of ethics when someone assaults a person that they hate. If someone assaulted your worst enemy then you might find a justification to support this act! Human beings are masters of self deception and most of them will like the person who assaults their enemy even if they clearly stated that they are against hate speeches. Eminem attacked many people in his songs and with every person he attacked he collects more fans because they hated that person he assaulted
  • 2) The need to feel superior: In many of my previous articles i said that people use jokes, criticism and gossip to feel superior by putting others down. Ask any person about discrimination and he will tell you that its a bad thing but wait until nobody can see him and you might find him doing the opposite of what he said. Eminem discriminated against different groups such as black people and as a result many of those who wanted to feel superior started to listen to his songs because they made them feel better. After all if someone kept telling you that you belong to the superior race then you will certainly get an ego boost (see also Striving for superiority)
  • 3) The need for support: Eminem's songs are not only limited to verbal assault and cursing but he has many songs that defend children who were abused, the ones who were picked on and those who felt helpless. Because those people are in serious need of support Eminem emerged as the hero who can help them take their rights back. Many of the people who were suffering because of the way they were raised found Eminem's songs very appealing because they provided them with the emotional support they needed. Eminem also released motivational songs such as "Till i collapse", ""Fight music" and "I am not afraid". All of those who needed a different kind of support, motivation in this case, liked those songs and so came to like Eminem. (see also How to give a motivational speech)
  • 4) Pleasing others : In San Diego the government asked citizens to vote an a constitution amendment that would allow Gay. marriage. Almost every person supported the new constitution under the name human rights but when it came to the time of voting the law was rejected because most people said no to it. This shows you how humans think, in front of others they want to show that they respect human rights even if the issue was an unacceptable thing as gay marriage but when no one can see them they do what they believe is right. Eminem attacked gays as well and while many people claim that every person should be free to do what he wants to do they will always act the opposite when they get the chance. People who are afraid to honestly say their opinion listen to such music to feel good since hearing someone repeating what you believe in will always have a good effect on your mood (see also Why some people like depressing music)
  • 5) Identifying with Eminem: Eminem was raised in tough conditions where he suffered from abuse and poverty. Because so many people have lived what Eminem have been through they felt like there is something common between him and them and as a result they liked his songs. In my article the psychology of music i said that we get attracted to whatever resonates with what's happening inside our minds

Final words

I don't claim that i have covered all the psychological reasons that made Eminem's songs popular but i believe that i provided a good insight on some of the reasons that made him popular.

I don't have any doubt that Eminem has an expectational talent but when it comes to the popularity of a product psychology can give a better explanation than talent can.

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