Eminem is, once again, addressing allegations of homophobia after he included anti-LGBTQ language on his latest album.
“Kamikaze,” released Aug. 31, has him taking an obscenity-filled swipe at fellow rapper Tyler, the Creator, on the track “Fall.”
“Tyler create nothin’, I see why you called yourself a [faggot], bitch,” Eminem raps on the song, which also features Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. “It’s not just ’cause you lack attention, it’s because you worship D12’s balls ― you’re sack-religious.”
Though the word “faggot” is partially obscured by a sound effect, the sentiment didn’t sit well with some listeners, and many weren’t shy about expressing their disgust on social media. In a Thursday interview with rapper Sway, Eminem got candid about the backlash, saying he now believes he crossed a line by including the slur.
“I was angry when I said the shit about Tyler,” Eminem explains in the interview. “The word that I called him on that song was one of the things where I felt like, ‘This might be too far.’ Because in my quest to hurt him, I realized that I was hurting a lot of other people by saying it.”
(Watch the interview below. The key comments begin at about 12:30.)
Eminem continued, “It was one of the things that I kept going back to, going ‘I don’t feel right with this.’ Now I realize people can hear what I’m saying anyways. ... I wasn’t in the right mind frame. I was angry.”
The swipe may have been intended as a clapback of sorts after Tyler, the Creator, criticized Eminem’s 2017 song “Walk on Water” on social media last year.
Whether Eminem’s explanation will be enough to appease those who felt “Fall” was simply out-of-line is another matter. Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds, who has become a staunch LGBTQ rights advocate in recent years, was among the new song’s most prominent critics.
Meanwhile, Vernon distanced himself from the track, saying he wasn’t in the studio with Eminem when the final version was recorded.
Eminem has faced multiple accusations of homophobia and misogyny over the course of his career, which now spans more than 20 years. The rapper, 45, has repeatedly dismissed those claims, most recently in a 2017 Vulture interview.
“I’m sure people have misunderstood what I was doing,” he told Vulture. “Again, I’m not a perfect human being and I’m sure that I’ve said things that went a little too hard, but I think my actual life shows — I mean, meeting Elton John and being as good friends with him as I am, that’s not me saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got a gay friend.’ It’s me saying Elton John has my back. He’ll stick up for me.”