Wembley Stadium, the second largest stadium in Europe, heralds the likes of Madonna, U2, Green Day, Bon Jovi, Coldplay, Rihanna, and George Michael (Wembley’s first musical act). Not a rapper has graced this London venue… until now. Eminem made history July 11th by headlining the first rap show in the magnificent 90,000 seat venue. He brought out fellow history maker Dr. Dre (hip-hop’s first billionaire) and performed a medley of their classics.
Every angry adolescent’s anthem “My Name Is” and “The Way I Am” brought that old delinquent Em charm to the stage. “Stan,” Em’s sinister stalker-gone-wrong tale was also performed, accessorized with video footage of his alter-ego, Slim Shady. The fiery tale of abusive lovers also got its due in “Love the Way You Lie” (unfortunately sans Rihanna).
The show also featured songs from Eminem’s new album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2: Stan’s little brother’s revenge in “Bad Guy,” and the speed rapping triathlon “Rap God”. Em performed in front of a giant digital boombox. Perhaps that boombox represents his total hip-hop (and mainstream) dominance, as well as an homage to the roots of rap.
Eminem rapped his redemption song “Not Afraid,” created after his 2009 crash and burn with drugs that nearly ended his life. Speaking of “Not Afraid,” the rapper became the first artist in history to receive two Digital Diamond Awards for that song and for “Love the Way You Lie”.
The rap god sure has come a long way from that bleach blonde phenom who permanently stuck his middle finger to the world. Now Eminem’s an international pop superstar. One thing remains the same though, Em’s still got his middle finger stuck to the world – and we wouldn’t have it any other way.