Why Eminem will never be “cancelled”

#eminemisCANCELLED is trending on twitter, but true fans of the ‘GOAT’ know this changes nothing.

Trigger warning: this article contains mention of sexual assault/substance abuse and murder.

To everyone’s surprise – and my delight – on 17 January 2020, Mr Marshall Mathers dropped a surprise album, inspired by Alfred Hitchcock, titled Music To Be Murdered By. The album consists of 20 tracks and features familiar collaborations such as Ed Sheeran, Royce da 5’9, Skylar Grey and Young M.A.

However, the surprise album is not the number one thought on peoples’ minds. What has everyone – more accurately snowflakes – riled up are the lyrics to his song Unaccommodating feat. Young M.A where he says;

“But I’m contemplating yelling ‘Bombs away’ on the game

Like I’m outside of an Ariana Grande concert waiting”

I’m not one to usually use the term ‘snowflake’: I think people fail to acknowledge that people being raised during a very transitional time are bound to overcorrect before they find the right balance of right and wrong. However, I draw the line when they are the culprits in taking things out of context and championing this ‘cancelled culture’ that, if continued to be overused, will lose its effectiveness. 

Out of context, it would be easy to ask any fan of Eminem to reconsider their taste in music, but this is Eminem. Since he burst onto the scene in the 90s, he has been nothing but consistent, especially with his controversy. He raps with purpose, he’s candid about his life experiences, he provides spot-on social commentary, and he’s an absolute lyrical genius. 

Music To Be Murdered By is no different from any other Eminem album. It’s loud, it’ raw and it makes a point. I understand that the snowflake generation has been raised in a time where everything is instantaneous, corporations pander to them for their custom, and they are targeted by media everywhere because, let’s face it, they set the tone. However, this ‘cancelled culture’ that they have coined is wasted on trying to change the way an artist like Eminem raps. 

In the past, MTV has tried to shut him down, radio stations have refused to play his music, and talk show hosts have gone out of their way to criminalise him. All because he raps about a truth that the majority of, not only the music industry but the entertainment industry also, spend their lives sugar coating. Regardless of the strong opposition, Eminem still prevails. That is what rap has always been about, and Eminem is no different from the likes of Tupac or Jay Z, other than the fact the way he expresses himself is not for the faint of heart. 

Over the years, Eminem has rapped brutally about sexual violence, murdering his ex-wife Kim, and substance abuse. Eminem holds a mirror up to American society as if to say: this is you, but because you can’t control the narrative or the delivery, you don’t want to hear it. 

#eminemisCANCELLED is not coming from a genuine place. When the attacks in Manchester occurred in 2017, Eminem donated two million to the cause. Unaccommodating does not mock the tragedy or express any negative sentiment towards it. Anyone who knows Eminem knows that he uses metaphors as a form of expression, as well as rhyme, and this time is no different. 

The concern seems to be more focussed on singer Ariana Grande and therefore is grossly misplaced. Elsewhere in the song, he references former terrorist leader Bin Laden, a point that no one seemed to take issue with for obvious reasons. For years, Eminem has had the burden of being the poster boy for what’s wrong with music and considering how far he has come from spitting on onion rings; it’s wholly unfounded. Eminem can’t win with his fans or society, but what they fail to realise is how he uses criticism to fuel his lyrics; just ask Machine Gun Kelly.

The unnecessary emphasis on Unaccommodating is taking the spotlight away from the rest of the album. His single release Darkness is all about the Las Vegas shootings in 2017 and all the others that have taken place over the last few years in the US. He talks about his stepdad, letting go hostility towards his real dad, closing the door on his love of Kim and not having any regrets. In Music To Be Murdered By, he’s managed to mix social consciousness with past experiences and the odd song to vibe to, without anyone knowing. He’s worked with the best, influenced the best, and he continues to be the best. 

Snowflakes are going to have to get used to his presence and the way he chooses to convey specific issues because he’s made it three decades already, with far worse criticism than a hashtag, and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. 

Author: Sincerely, Saskia

I have a BA in Creative Writing and Journalism and an MA in Publishing. I'm a freelance contributor for VoiceMagUK, living in London, who writes about all aspects of our society from my own standpoint.

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