Boy George Criticizes Eminem’s Homophobic Slurs In “Rap God”

Oct 20th, 2013 // 9 Comments

Eminem‘s “Rap God” is a return to Slim Shady form, to the delight of some rap fans (particularly, those who had Kendrick Lamar‘s “Control” verse on repeat) and dismay of some critics (this site, The Week: “the same regressive, lazy garbage he was spewing in 2000″). Amid the feedback, Boy George has taken to Twitter to criticize the single’s use of the word “fag.”

Known first as Culture Club frontman and now as a DJ, Boy George admits that he has yet to hear “Rap God.” Still, he’s managed to keep up with Eminem’s on-goings since 2000′s The Marshall Mathers LP, when he had criticized (the openly gay) Elton John‘s praises in particular. In several tweets, Boy George cites the rapper’s highly-publicized sobriety following an addiction to prescription pills. “Fag? Is this really recover talk or are you running your own program these days?” he says.

Although he’s barely changed his argument since the first MMLP, Boy George has a point that’s ironic — considering a 2009 interview with Em himself.

Metro Times: “So who have you learned the most from in your life? And is there anybody’s career that you look to for support and insight at this point in time?”

Eminem: “Um, well, Elton John.”

But how does Em use the term “fag,” anyway? “Rap God” quickly escalates into a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde transformation (“Six minutes, Slim Shady, you’re on”), one that Rap Genius initially struggled to transcribe in its entirety. Before his id-driven, cringe-worthy rampage inspires him to rap, “So gay-I-can-barely-say-it-with-a-straight-face-looking boy” in between veiled disses at Waka Flocka Flame and Soulja Boy, Em chalks up his “rap immortality” to the very same disses that Boy George critiques.

“Well, to be truthful the blueprint’s simply rage and youthful exuberance / Everybody loves to root for a nuisance,” Eminem raps. If anything, “Rap God” should be considered all of what documentary Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes had criticized — rap’s ugly history of hyper-masculinity, homophobia, glorified violence and sexism — thrown back at our faces, in six minutes, no less.

So does “Rap God” sting? Absolutely — just not for the same reasons that Boy George or The Week provided. When Boy George tweets about “that time Em was so hot we forgave him for almost anything,” he’s likely referring to the first MMLP, the one that John praised. And that album wasn’t, as The Week says, “lazy” — it was his version of The Shining, with the most bile piled on the two women closest to him, his mother and the mother of his child. It was as if the once-bullied kid had finally figured out how to fight back, and it forced listeners to think of how anyone could go mad.

So as Eminem defaults back to Slim Shady, it’s worth asking: Will MMLP2 (out November 5) inspire the same sort of forgiveness? Ultimately, it will depend on how unforgiving Eminem is to himself.

[via VLAD]

  1. I agree with boy George!

    As a gay fan, i could never tolerate or support eminem’s songs that include gay slurs. I thought he and most of the rap community matured(perhaps followed Macklemore’s lead), but this is a huge step down for Em.

    • Justin

      You’re an idiot. He’s not homophobic or anything. He freaking worked with Elton John. He’s an entertainter. Boy George, I hope you two run into each other sometime and he’ll beat the crap outta you- oh wait. He’s more mature than you. Evidently.

    • then you’re really not a fan if you don’t understand Em’s point. (see Justin’s reply)

  2. Roca99

    Well, anyone who takes him using the word “fag” and “gay” as an actual diss towards homosexuals needs to grow the hell up and not be so sensitive.

    He is clearly just using those words to diss fellow rappers, not actually attacking the homosexual community. He has said numerous times he has nothing against them, and growing up words like “fag” and “gay” were thrown around to describe things you thought were boring, lame or someone you didn’t like.

    I actually have a gay family member who loves Eminem’s music. He is just not over sensitive and actually finds out what Eminem’s lyrics means before criticizing them.

    And Boy George, how about you piss the f*ck off. You haven’t even heard the song yet have the nerve to attack Eminem for using a word when you have no idea what reference he used it in? I hope Eminem disses the hell out of you for that. Quit being over sensitive people. Gay is used for a HELL OF A LOT more things than just a homosexual these days.

  3. ana

    The guy kidnaps a man and gets upset by a word that was not on?
    crazy people

  4. Leroy Brown

    Just because he doesn’t direct his lyrics towards gay people doesn’t mean they aren’t homophobic. By using ‘fag’ or ‘gay’ as an insult he is insinuating that being a homosexual is a negative thing.

    • DannyBoy

      Just like any word used as an insult.. ugly, stupid, fat, tranny, cripple, dutch, bald.. every insult has some group or another on the pointy end of it. So what now? Launch a campaign to stop all forms of this ‘dangerous, evil hatespeech’ and basically go with a totalitarian state with the speech police making sure no one goes off the script?

      Or is it that gays are somehow ‘special’? Somehow more important than anyone else and in need of special protection. Like black people.
      The social conditioning we put in place to protect them from ‘evil words’ was pretty staggering.

  5. Isometrisized

    A little perspective seems to be in order.

    Let’s start with it as a given that music is an art form, including rap. Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Salon et al. are perfectly fine with, say, anti-Christian paintings such as Piss Christ without knocking them as biased or prejudiced. Or anti-cop rap lyrics. Or a depiction of a Bible being flushed down a toilet as art — while at the same time seeing a depiction of a Koran being flushed down a toilet as a hate crime, more or less.

    Denigrating or insulting the religious beliefs of Catholics, let’s say, who represent about 25% of the population of the United States is fine, but denigrating or insulting the sexuality of perhaps 3% (10%?) of the populace is terrible because the targets are homosexual males? Gimme a break. If it’s art, it’s art. No matter whose ox is being gored. Blacks don’t get a pass, Caucasians don’t get a pass, Christians don’t get a pass, homosexuals don’t get a pass, muslims don’t get a pass. . . . Nobody gets a pass. Eminem should get an equal opportunity to offend anyone and everyone.

  6. Paul

    Does Eminem’s conscious (and self-aware) choice to use homophobic language draw attention to the problematics of such language, perhaps hinting at a deeper-rooted problem in society? Or, is Eminem just lampooning homophobic slurs in a crass attempt at shocking entertainment? What purpose might Eminem’s calculated offenses serve?

    On Homophobia, Parody, Censorship, and Lyrical Retrospect in Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP 2:
    http://pauldbwatkins.com/2013/11/08/eminem/

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