That’s write, I said it. Eminem can teach you a lot about writing simply by listening to the tight lyrics he writes. It can be said that Eminem is a complicated artist, one who provokes pages of arguments – positive and negative – and his overall impact on our culture is for better or worse. But as a writer, few can touch what he’s managed to accomplish.
So pay attention: here’s what you can learn.
Read and Write Everything
Eminem started writing as a child, sanding the rough edges of his craft, knowing without doubt that the only thing that would get him out of the trailer park and into a better life was disciplined effort and endless practice.
He familiarized himself with the greats until storytelling was as natural to him as breathing is to everyone else. He may have started by imitating the pioneers, but he soon blended their legacy into his own style creating something that was like nothing else.
Eminem’s best tracks harbor some of the tightest writing ever written. One has to wonder just how long he spends on each song, considering how securely each syllable is cemented in place.
Not only can he craft a compelling argument in prose, he can also rhyme words that shouldn’t rhyme, and pack more poetry into a verse than should be technically possible. Only fastidious editing can pull the written word so taut.
Write What you Know
One of the things that makes Eminem so powerful, so polarizing, is that his message is delivered without any filter whatsoever. Listening to his music is like tuning into a live therapy session. That’s why it’s easy to believe that he is writing directly from his heart and his unique set of experiences.
Start Strong, Finish Stronger
The best of Eminem’s songs achieve something rare in commercially produced music – they realize a powerful climax prior to their conclusion. Many of his songs are written as arguments, and it’s usually in his third verse when he drives his point home, often with a lyrical sledgehammer.
Be Concise and Use Powerful Sentences
Eminem pares his arguments down to the bone. His intuitive sense of flow allows him to seamlessly drift from the measured cadence of ordinary speech to an unrivaled intensity of verse, but it is always the power of his writing that enables him to drive his point home with such precision.
My advice: go out and listen to what he has to say. You will definitely learn something about the craft of writing.