In the realm of life, individuals frequently experience challenges, influenced by a great number of intangible factors. For many of those individuals, the biggest enemy lies within their subconscious; and feeds on their desires, dreams, and aspirations, and hinders their transformation. The songs, “Not Afraid” and “Damien”, by Eminem and DMX, respectively, are prime examples of this fact. Eminem boldly asserts, “I’m not afraid…to take a stand.”, while DMX asks the question, “The snake, the rat, the cat, and the dog; How you goin’ see them if you living in the fog?” Sometimes, as individuals go through their storms, they begin to acknowledge and confront their specific weaknesses and shortcomings in irrational ways.
In comparing these two songs, two disturbing similarities prevail. First, both artists blame outside influences for festering interpersonal issues that are apparently already present. Eminem views a certain element of the world as his enemy. He attempts to identify the culprits by stating, “…all those who look down on me, I’m tearing down your balcony.” DMX paradoxically identifies his antagonist as his guardian angel, Damien. He continues to detail the multiple methods Damien uses to manipulate. The snake, the rat, the cat, and the dog describe roles that DMX equally loves and hates. Ironically, these personalities are the ones used, by Damien, to coerce the musician.
Second, both artists convey anger and frustration as they admit they make poor decisions and that instability has led to acknowledge their predicaments. This blend of blind emotion has damaging effects on their conveyance of sincerity. Eminem challenges the world by saying, “When I say I’ma do something, I do it. I don’t give a damn what you think.” Later in the song, he appears to contradict himself by stating, “But I’m still trying to figure this crap out. Thought I had it all mapped out but, but I guess I didn’t.” As further evidence of his poor decision-making, toward the end of the song, he unwisely states, “…’cause the way I feel, I’m strong enough to go to the club or the corner pub and lift the whole liquor counter up.” This gives the impression there may similar challenges waiting for him in the future. DMX’s desire for fame, notoriety, material possessions, and even successful fatherhood, allows his guardian angel to convince him that drugs, adultery, and even homicide, are the only way to attain them. Like Eminem, DMX, continues to make poor decisions, even after he has identified his problem. He writes, “Now I’m ready to chill, but you still want me to kill…Alright, fuck it, I’ma do it. Who is it this time?” This progression of bad decisions causes him to justifiably state, “I see now, ain’t nuthin but trouble ahead.”
Both of these artists acknowledge they have devastating internal weaknesses. This admission is important in the recovery process, but there are statements that appear to neutralize their sincerity in making an immediate transformation. Untamed emotion, blaming others, and poor decision-making skills are evidence that one cannot make a convincing transformation while being “too busy gazing at the stars,” or “while living in the fog.”