Despite his support of gay marriage, prolific rapper Eminem — real name Marshall Mathers — has been scorned recently for lyrics in his most recent single, “Rap God.”
The song — released on Monday, Oct. 14 — includes homophobic slurs and swear words that were common on earlier Eminem albums. It’s not too surprising that he’s resorting to old ways, though, since his upcoming album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, is a direct reference to the first MMLP album that came out in 2000.
Gay rights charity Stonewall has criticized Eminem’s lyrics in “Rap God.” The charity said “the song's content was 'outdated and deeply offensive,' and said the rapper was 'stuck in the last century,’ ” according to The Independent, which also highlighted some of the controversial lines.
This isn’t the first time Eminem’s position on same-sex issues has hit the newsstands. He famously performed his hit song “Stan” at the 2001 Grammy Awards with Elton John to ease the accusations of Eminem being homophobic. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said his lyrics were of hate.
In 2010, Eminem rebuted the claims of homophobia and announced his support of same-sex marriage in a Q&A interview with The New York Times.
“I think that everyone should have the chance to be equally miserable, if they want,” he said.
But contrary to Stonewall, critics have praised the song so far. A Time magazine writer called the work “divine.”
“If ‘Rap God’ and his first single ‘Bezerk’ are anything to go by, the world can expect an immortal recording,” wrote Per Lijas for Time.
MTV News also complimented the Detroit native’s new song and said "Marshall's focus on this one is simply to have the most expertly laid verses."
Jim Farber of the New York Daily News said "Rap God" is a call back to Eminem's "playful prime." He said despite all the coarse language and insults, the song still packs a serious punch.
"Say what you will about the song’s homophobia, woman-bashing, and lust for violence — and it’s got scads of all three — ‘Em’s flow couldn’t be more divine," he wrote.
Farber wrote that "Rap God" is a great callback to his previous work in the late-1990s and early 2000s, which includes crude humor.
"The new song revives the super-sick humor of that era, which comes as a relief after all the internalizations and ruminating of Em’s more recent work," he wrote.