Eminem and Elton John at the 2001 Grammys; Photo: Hector MATA

A bit of contention we missed while covering the CMJ Music Marathon – it appears the world is angry at Eminem again for his purported use of homophobic slurs in new comeback jam “Rap God,” the third single from forthcoming Marshall Mathers lineage, The Marshall Mathers LP 2. A few of the verses in question: [LISTEN]




Echoing the verse on 2000’s “Stan” and Elton John‘s duet with Eminem at the 2001 Grammys that seemingly put the Detroit-native’s beef with the LGBT community to rest, and otherwise praised for its flow and cadence – at one point he reaches a self-prescribed in-line “supersonic speed” of 6.5 words a minute – his use of homophobic slurs in context of the song or not has illicit statements from hip-hop peers Solomon and LastO, and 80s pop star Boy George, all of which are openly gay. Solomon’s statement to the New York Daily News is particularly biting:

When he invited me on his radio station a few years ago, I thought he put all of this aside. Granted, it’s not directed towards the gay community, but subconsciously it is. He’s using the word faggot to degrade another man. As if the worst thing a man can be is gay. What type of message does that embed into the minds of young kids, both gay and straight?

Though LastO’s, also via the New York Daily News stings the same – “He’s a lil’ too old to be using gay and fag and shit as an insult; playground shit.” – if not oddly validating an appropriate age one can sling slurs? While Boy George used a tweet, that has since been deleted, to voice his frustration, and low-jabbing at Eminem’s bouts with substance abuse: “Fag? Is this really recovery talk or are you running your own program these days?”

All said, cast aside the fact that the song’s strongest glaring M.O. is to address, or capitalize on, this whole ‘God’/’King’ chest-thump that 2013 is inciting, what with Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar‘s claim stakes. Also that most of those homophobic/contentious verses are aimed at the faux-rap of Waka Flocka Flame. Is Eminem crossing the boundaries of art here? Or is he just being his take it or leave it Slim Shady offensive self?