Eminem? Cancelled? Again?
3 years into the pandemic and done with Netflix, Disney Plus and every other conceivable form of entertainment, TikTok users have begun diving into Eminem’s back catalogue – revisiting songs presumably older than they are and discovering that actually, they’re all kinds of problematic.
Eminem has traded in controversy since 1999 when he dropped his major label debut, The Slim Shady LP, and included a track in which he rapped about murdering his wife and having his young daughter help him dispose of her corpse.
Eminem then and now. (Getty)
Little has changed in the interim. For example: his 2018 album Kamikaze – which continued his trend of rapping gay slurs, calling Tyler, the Creator a “faggot”. Or his 2020 album – the charmingly titled Music to be Murdered By – which was criticised for making light of the Manchester Arena terror attack, in which 22 people were killed during an Ariana Grande concert.
Time and again Eminem has escaped from backlash unscathed and if anything, emboldened. But that hasn’t stopped a new generation of listeners from making their outrage clear.
That time TikTok users have declared Eminem cancelled, sparking a war between “Gen Z” and Millenial Eminem Stans (for all his heinous acts, we do have to at least thank Eminem for giving us “Stan”.)
His 2010 collab with Rihanna, “Love the Way You Live”, is what’s set off the entire debacle. Eleven years after its release, TikTok users discovered its misogynistic lyrics, zeroing in on: “If she ever tries to f**king leave again / I’mma tie her to the bed and set this house on fire.”
A number of others shared captions along the lines of: “No wonder I’m toxic I grew up listening to this song.”
Eminem actually being cancelled isn’t likely
Sadly, two decades into Eminem’s career, being held to account over his use of homophobic slurs and penchant for violent, misogynistic fantasies among other things has failed to stir any conscientious response, and certainly hasn’t resulted in Eminem actually being cancelled.
If anything, the rapper continues to be protected – by the Oscars, by Elton John, and by his many, many fans.
Therefore it seems thoroughly unlikely that “Gen Z” TikTok will succeed in cancelling Eminem, or that Millennial fans will walk away with anything resembling dignity But it’s certain that the 50-year-old father-of-two who can’t stop talking about gay people and joking about terror attacks is – despite his success and riches – a bit of a loser.