Guess who’s back?
Eminem has sparked a media frenzy — and the same public outrage so often associated with the emcee — ahead of his highly anticipated album release. Earlier this week, Eminem released a six-minute cut off his Marshall Mathers LP 2 titled “Rap God,” featuring multiple seemingly homophobic verses.
“I attempt these lyrical acrobat stunts while I’m practicing that / I’ll still be able to break a motherfuckin’ table / Over the back of a couple of faggots and crack it in half / Only realized it was ironic I was signed to Aftermath after the fact,” he raps in one verse.
In another, he spits: ” 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 / You take a thumbs up, pat on the back, the way you go from your label every day-looking boy.”
Eminem has long been criticized for his homophobic lyrics, dating back to his first Marshall Mathers LP in 2000. But the rapper has said multiple times that he is not, in fact, homophobic.
“This scene I came up in. That word was thrown around so much, you know, faggot was like thrown around constantly, to each other, like in battling,” Eminem told Anderson Cooper in a 2010 interview, claiming that the offensive terms used were in reference to anybody, not just the LGBT community. “I don’t have any problem with nobody.”
Years earlier, in 2005, openly gay music icon Elton John defended his friend and one-time collaborator.
“From the start, I’ve always admired Eminem’s thinking. That’s the reason I wanted to appear on the Grammys with him when I was asked, despite all the nonsense talked about his being homophobic,” John said. The duo went on to perform Eminem’s hit “Stan” at the 2006 Grammy Awards. “Let the Boy Georges and the George Michaels of the world get in a twist about it if they don’t have the intelligence to see his intelligence,” John said.
This week, several headlines have popped up on the Internet in criticism of Em’s latest single, including The Week (“Eminem’s ‘Rap God’ Is Incredibly Homophobic, and No One is Talking About It”), The Huffington Post (“Eminem’s ‘Rap God’ Is Full of Homophobic Slurs, But Praised By Critics”), Salon (“Eminem May Be Sober, But He’s Still Homophobic”), and Entertainment Weekly (“Eminem’s Homophobic ‘Rap God’ Lyrics: Still Getting Away With It?”), among others.
For what it’s worth, as EW notes, the rapper is introduced on the track as “Slim Shady,” one of his darkest characters.