Eminem Criticized for Anti-Gay Lyrics in New Song
With a steady stream of singles released in recent months, it's clear that Eminem is gearing up to make a comeback. The rapper shared his latest song, "Rap God," on Oct. 15 and he has been lauded for the track's throwback attitude, but some are calling out the song's anti-gay lyrics.
According to the British newspaper the Independent, officials from the gay rights charity Stonewall said the song's lyrics are "outdated and deeply offensive," claiming Eminem, 40, is "stuck in the last century."
"It is not as though the homophobic phrases in question are particularly subtle," the Independent writes, "The first verse contains lyrics about breaking 'a mother******* table over the back of a couple faggots and crack it in half,' and, 'You fags think it's all a game.'"
Other notable lyrics in "Rap God" are: "Little gay-looking boy / So gay I can barely say it with a straight face-looking boy / You witnessing massacre like you watching a church gathering taking place-looking boy / 'Oy vey, that boy's gay,' that's all they say looking-boy."
Though the track has received praise from some music critics, Stonewall's media manger, Richard Lane, is far from sold on Eminem 2.0.
"Compared to inspirational modern artists like Frank Ocean and Macklemore, who have vocally supported tackling homophobia, Eminem seems stuck in the last century with these outdated and deeply offensive lyrics," he told the Independent.
Scott Meslow of The Week also took issue with the song's content and wrote:
"The song is bad enough - but even more disheartening has been the way that so many websites have praised Eminem's rapping on 'Rap God' while ignoring the song's problematic lyrics entirely. Time called the single 'divine.' Rolling Stone analyzed the song's influences without commenting on its content. MTV News took the time to collect Eminem's array of pop-cultural references without noting his homophobia. Worst of all is Just Jared, which took the time to painstakingly transcribe the six-minute song's lyrics - and took the coward's way out by writing '[?]' over every homophobic lyric in the song, as if they suddenly couldn't hear his crystal-clear vocals whenever he said something offensive."
Conversely the New York Daily News defended the track, writing: "Say what you will about the song’s homophobia, woman-bashing, and lust for violence - and it’s got scads of all three - ’Em’s flow couldn’t be more divine."
"Rap God" is the latest single to come off of Eminem’s upcoming record, "The Marshall Mathers LP 2," out on Nov. 5, which follows up his 2010 album "Recovery."
This isn’t the first time the rapper has come under fire for his anti-gay lyrics. The song "Criminal," off his 2000 critically acclaimed record "The Marshall Mathers LP," was criticized because of the lyric: "My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge / That’ll stab you in the head / Whether you’re a fag or a lez."
He made headlines around the release of that album after performing with Elton John at the Grammys. But, as the Independent reports, Eminem has gone on record saying he is not homophobic and told the New York Times in 2010 that he supports marriage equality.
"Everyone should have the chance to be equally miserable," he said. "I think I’ve calmed down a bit. My overall look on things is a lot more mature than it used to be."
Also in 2010, he spoke with Anderson Cooper on "60 Minutes" about the use of anti-gay lyrics in his music.
"That word was thrown around so much, you know? Faggot was, like, it was thrown around constantly, to each other, like in battling, you know what I mean?" he asked. He then said he does not hate the LGBT community.
"I don’t have any problem with nobody, you know what I mean. Like, I’m just whatever."
Later in the interview when Cooper asked Eminem how he felt being labeled as a homophobe and GLAAD’s criticism on him he said, "I felt like I was being attacked. I was being singled out. And I felt like, is it because of the color of my skin? Is it because that, you’re paying more attention? Is it because there’s certain rappers that do and say the same things that I’m saying. And I don’t hear no one saying anything about that. I didn’t just invent saying offensive things."
Listen to "Rap God" below: