4 years ago5,000+ Views
**The video is included here for the purposes of fairly providing context for the controversy, though I do not advocate its message and warn you that it has explicit, violent and sexually-themed content.** How far can a rapper take a ''bad boy" persona? Is there such a thing as going too far when it comes to the free expression in rap lyrics and freestyle? When it comes to a current controversy over Eminem's freestyle bashing of Lana Del Rey, maybe another pertinent question is: Too Soon? The big to-do is over Eminem rapping that he'll punch Lana Del Rey, then referencing the recent incident in which NFL player Ray Rice assaulted his fiancee in an elevator and was subsequently suspended indefinitely from football. So what did he say, anyway? CBS News reports on the specifics: "The full lyric is as follows: "But I may fight for gay rights, especially if they dyke is more of a knockout than Janay Rice. Play nice. B*tch I'll punch Lana Del Rey right in the face twice, like Ray Rice in broad daylight in the plain sight of the elevator surveillance/'Til her head is banging on the railing, then celebrate with the Ravens." The Ray Rice line references the assault of Janay Rice by her then-fiance. The Ravens running back was suspended indefinitely from football following the release of the elevator surveillance video of the assault." The Sydney Morning Herald discusses Eminem's history with misogynistic lyrics: "It is not the first time Eminem has targeted women with his lyrics. He has a history of doing so, going back to his second album, The Slim Shady LP. The album, which brought Eminem to the world's attention in 1999, drew heavily on misogynistic lyrics. 'Christina Aguilera, better switch me chairs, so I can sit next to Carson Daly and Fred Durst, and hear 'em argue over who she gave head to first,' he rapped in one verse. His less succesful 2009 album, Relapse, targeted Kim Kardashian, Amy Winehouse, Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan in a similar vein." The internet has been buzzing with both condemnations and defenses of Eminem and his rapping lyrics and persona. Is it a case of him just striking a sore spot too soon after the start of the domestic abuse controversies in the NFL? Is it ever a good time for these types of lyrics? Is it just part of a persona - separate from issues about who he is as a person? There are many possible questions to discuss, and people are doing so. What do you think?
If you listen to how he presents the lyrics, it sounds like he is condemning Ray Rice's actions. In my opinion, this is a misunderstanding. I'm not an Eminem fan at all, but this sounds like people were just looking for an argument.
I don't condone violence against other people period. That being said, I have a hard time understanding why people are isolating a single line without analyzing the context in which the line was said. The use of a specific name is probably not a good thing, but I feel this is a bit of social commentary on the issue of Ray Rice/The Ravens/The NFL as a whole. I would happy to discuss whether it is right or wrong to write an artistic lyric like this if we consider its meaning and purpose without cherry picking.
Of course he is condemning Ray Rice. why such ignorance here.
@TeamWaffles and @caricakes, I think you both make really good points about whether the response has been purely reactionary and whether his lyrics are in fact doing something different than what people perceive. I suppose there is still a question of, if that is the case, whether it was successfully delivered. As @TeamWaffles points out, using a specific woman probably doesn't help the issue - but is that really the root of people's outrage?