The fact that Eminem’s lyrics continue to be mostly homophobic and misogynistic slurs strung together with his trademark machine-gun delivery and rage isn’t news. It is isn’t even interesting.
What is noteworthy, however, is how Eminem continues to consistently use gay slurs while also pretending to be mystified as to why people would find them problematic. In an upcoming interview with Rolling Stone, the Detroit-native insists that people who have balked at the lyrics on his highly criticized single “Rap God” have it all wrong. Using the word “fag” over and over again isn’t homophobic because “it was more like calling someone a bitch or a punk or asshole.” Oh, okay. Cool. I guess we totally took the following lyric from “Rap God” out of context: “I’ll still be able to break a motherfuckin’ table / Over the back of a couple of faggots and crack it in half.”
Included below are excerpts from Eminem’s Rolling Stone interview.
Rolling Stone: You’ve made it clear again and again that you don’t actually have a problem with gay people. So why, in 2013, use “faggot” on that song? Why use “gay-looking” as an insult?
Eminem: I don’t know how to say this without saying it how I’ve said it a million times. But that word, those kind of words, when I came up battle-rappin’ or whatever, I never really equated those words…
Rolling Stone: To actually mean “homosexual”?
Eminem: Yeah. It was more like calling someone a bitch or a punk or asshole.
Eminem: So that word was just thrown around so freely back then. It goes back to that battle, back and forth in my head, of wanting to feel free to say what I want to say, and then [worrying about] what may or may not affect people.
Eminem: And, not saying it’s wrong or it’s right, but at this point in my career – man, I say so much shit that’s tongue-in-cheek. I poke fun at other people, myself. But the real me sitting here right now talking to you has no issues with gay, straight, transgender, at all.
Eminem: I’m glad we live in a time where it’s really starting to feel like people can live their lives and express themselves. And I don’t know how else to say this, I still look at myself the same way that I did when I was battling and broke.
Rolling Stone: I kind of thought you were doing it because when you’re rapping as Slim Shady, part of your mission is to annoy people.
Eminem: Well, look, I’ve been doing this shit for, what, 14 years now? And I think people know my personal stance on things and the personas that I create in my music. And if someone doesn’t understand that by now, I don’t think there’s anything I can do to change their mind about it.