Opinion: Celebrating 15 years of controversy


Neville Hardman

Neville Hardman

Rap meets a capella in Eminem’s latest music drop, Shady Cxvpher. The 18-minute video features Slaughterhouse and Yelawolf, who accompany the rap star to promote his upcoming album, Shady XV. The new release will celebrate the 15-year anniversary of “The Real Slim Shady.”

It was reported by Billboard that during his section of the song, Eminem raps that he’ll “punch Lana Del Ray right in the face twice, like Ray Rice in broad daylight in the plain sight of the elevator surveillance,” a powerful verse that wasn’t masked behind a veil of fast words.

It’s not surprising Eminem rapped about Ray Rice and it’s less surprising that he included Lana in the mix because she’s not the first person to become the subject of a derogatory phrase in Eminem’s lyrics. The rapper has an enormous history of spitting offensive rhymes, such as using the word “faggot” in his last album. In addition to being a white rapper, Eminem’s hook is dropping verses that center on controversy.

His songs might draw attention because they legitimately are impressive — take the fast-paced rhythm of song such as “Rap God” — but he shoots bullets with his lyrics and he “just doesn’t give a f***” who they’re toward.

The new album isn’t just celebrating his anniversary as a rapper; it’s celebrating 15 years of controversial lyrics and every person he’s disrespected during the years. 

Eminem has picked more than a handful of fights with celebrities by dropping their name in one of his songs. He accused Lady Gaga of being a hermaphrodite, telling the award winning artist that she could quit her job at the post office since she’s still a male lady either way. He said he was going to have sex with Sarah Palin in “We Made You” where he raps about a slew of other celebrities negatively. This includes saying he’s in love with John Mayer’s girlfriend and calling Kim Kardashian a man.

Shady raps that he’s going to pee on Rihanna in “Medicine Ball” to prove he can do what he wants, then he goes on to collaborate with her in “Love The Way You Lie,” in which his lyrics say if the girl in the song leaves him again, he’ll tie her to a bed and set the house on fire.

He insulted Asher Roth in a song called “A**hole” from The Marshall Mathers LP 2. Shady raps that when Roth had complimented him it was like “backhanding a donkey” after saying “thanks for the support, a**hole.”

The point is, you haven’t made it unless your name gets dropped in an Eminem song, but it’s hard to take his insults or criticism to heart.

Sometimes what Eminem says is valid, but other times he’s just classless. It’s a hit or miss every time for Mathers, and perhaps that is what he’s trying to celebrate as well: The struggle of not always being the most popular person in the room. Shady’s encounters with addiction and frequent relationship abuse plague his reputation, and although his talent is overwhelming, it’s hard to think of him without also thinking of his troubled past.

Contact Neville Hardman at [email protected].