Rap artist Eminem may be facing a public relations nightmare with the release of his newest single “Rap God” and its blatant anti-gay lyrics.
His new single, just released on Oct. 15, is one of several controversies regarding song lyrics we’ve seen this fall. A big one was Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and the discussion of whether the song was about rape or not was another. Also, earlier in October, there were discussions that New Zealand artist Lorde’s song “Royals” contained racial undertones.
Eminem’s newest single has only been out for a few days, but it has already caused mass controversy because of its obvious anti-gay lyrics. While some critics have yet to comment on the lyrics, several articles and blogs have condemned the singer saying the lyrics are obviously homophobic.
Here are some of the lyrics:
“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”
“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.”
The PR Problem
No matter how he meant them, for obvious reasons, controversies over lyrics like this can soon become public relations nightmares for artists. Unfortunately, for Eminem, this isn’t the first time this has happened.
According to an article on TheDailyBeast.com, the rapper caused similar controversy in 2000 when he released his song “Criminal,” which has been called commercialized hate speech.
“My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge/ That’ll stab you in the head, whether you’re a fag or lez/ Or the homosex, hermpah or trans-a-vest/ Pants or dress, hate fags? The answer’s ‘yes’/ Homphobic? Nah, you’re just heterophobic” -Criminal
To combat criticism, Eminem teamed up with Elton John for the 2001 Grammy awards to perform the rapper’s song “Stan.” He also went on Anderson Cooper’s show in 2010 and addressed some of the lyrics in his songs according to an article on HollywoodReporter.com.
“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 Cooper. “I don’t have any problem with nobody.”
According to the article, Eminem told Cooper that it was used as a reference to anyone, not just members of the LGBT community. That same year, in a New York Times Q&A, the rapper advocated his support for gay marriage.
So why is he including these lyrics in his raps all over again? Critics are saying that he is returning to his old ways, and openly gay artist Boy George has addressed the rapper via Twitter.
Eminem has yet to comment on the media storm this song is causing, but he’d better do so soon. In this article on BuzzFeed, it discusses how a Maryland concert for the band Molotov crowded with protesters because of the band’s anti-gay lyrics despite the fact that the band released a statement saying they had no ill feelings to the LGBT community.
As a PR student, my biggest piece of advice to Eminem is, make a statement! Apologize, explain the lyrics, do something. Staying quiet may work at this point, but this will most likely come back to haunt him in the long run, especially since this seems to be an ongoing PR issue for the rapper. If this keeps happening, I don’t know if Eminem can keep mending relations with the LGBT community.
What do you think? Do you think Eminem can mend things with LGBT community, or has he run out of chances?