Eminem under fire for using gay slur on new album 'Kamikaze'

It’s been 17 years since Eminem pushed back against accusations of homophobia by performing a duet to “Stan” with Elton John at the 2001 Grammys. The two men have since enjoyed a close friendship, with the openly gay John saying in a 2017 interview that the rapper’s lyrics “were never homophobic” and didn’t represent his actual attitude toward the LGBTQ community.

Eminem used a gay slur on his new album. (Photo: C. Flanigan/WireImage)

And yet… Just hours after the surprise release of his latest album, Kamikaze, Eminem is getting heat from listeners offended by his use of a gay slur to describe fellow musician Tyler, the Creator. The 27-year-old rapper (real name: Tyler Okonma) has been the subject of speculation about his sexuality, but has himself been unapologetic about using homophobic references in his lyrics.

“Well, I have gay fans and they don’t really take it offensive, so I don’t know,” Tyler, the Creator told MTV in 2011 of the backlash surrounding his lyrics. “If it offends you, it offends you. If you call me a n—a, I really don’t care, but that’s just me, personally. Some people might take it the other way; I personally don’t give a sh–.”

Eminem’s target, Tyler, the Creator, has also used homophobic slurs in his lyrics. (Photo: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

But many people do, and they’re not happy with this homophobic lyric on the new Eminem track “Fall.”

“Tyler create nothing, I see why you called yourself a f*****, bitch / It’s not just ’cause you lack attention / It’s ’cause you worship D12’s balls, you’re sac-religious.”

Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon has also caught flak for the lyric, because he appears on “Fall.”

Some have argued that the lyric isn’t offensive because Tyler, the Creator has used the word in the past, while others insist that that is irrelevant. The rapper has yet to publicly respond to the controversy.

In a 2013 interview with Rolling Stone, Eminem defending using the slur following fallout over its inclusion in tracks like “Rap God.” The Michigan-bred rapper claimed that the insult was generic rather than a reference to sexuality.

“It was more like calling someone a bitch or a punk or a**hole,” he said of the Detroit rap scene. “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.

“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. 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.”

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