Late Thursday, a pair of brand-new Eminem tracks from his upcoming Relapse: Refill album hit the Internet, and while both are filled with his trademark lyrical irreverence, a line in one of the songs — "Elevator" — is raising more than a few eyebrows.
In the track, Em jabs at former 'NSYNC member Lance Bass and a pair of former "American Idol" contestants, Clay Aiken and Adam Lambert, all of whom are openly gay. While the actual wording of the lyric is in question, here's what Eminem appears to be rapping, according to several sites, including ThisIs50.com:
"Sorry, Lance, Mr. Lambert and Aiken ain't gonna make it/ They get so mad, when I call them both fake/ It's all these f---ing voices in my head, I can't take it/ Someone shut that f---ing baby up, before I shake it."
However, as gay-news site Towleroad.com has noted, "fake it's" sounds phonetically like "f----ts," a similarity that they claim is anything but coincidental, given the rapper's previous history with the word.
"Eminem cleverly avoids using the word 'f----ts" in his new song 'Elevator' when referring to Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken, replacing it with the words 'fake it's,' " site founder Andy Towle writes in a post. "Of course, phonetically, it sounds just like 'f----ts.' "
Contacted by MTV News on Friday (December 4), a label rep for Eminem had no comment, and official lyrics for the song were not available at press time.
At the moment, Lambert seems to be leaning toward the less provocative lyric. On his Twitter account Thursday night, Lambert wrote, "Wow, Eminem mentioned me in a song?! I must be doing something right!? Even if he used the 'F word,' whatever," then followed that up with a second tweet, which reads: "Oh, he says 'fake it.' My bad."
In 2001, Eminem drew the ire of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation over his use of gay slurs on songs like "Kill You" and "Criminal" — from his The Marshall Mathers LP — which featured lines like "You f----ts keep eggin' me on/ Till I have you at knifepoint, then you beg me to stop," and "My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge/ That'll stab you in the head/ Whether you're a f-g or a lez."
GLAAD called the lyrics "homophobic" and "hate filled," and protested outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles during the 2001 Grammy Awards, where Eminem was nominated for a number of awards, including Album of the Year. During the show, Em answered his critics by performing a now-famous duet with Elton John, which ended with the two embracing and Eminem giving the finger to the crowd.
In the lead-up to the 2001 Grammys, Moby also famously called Eminem "a homophobe," which Em responded to by referring to the DJ/producer as a "36-year-old, bald-headed f-g" on the song "Without Me," and threatening to fight him during the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards. Eminem said in interviews at the time that the content of his songs shouldn't be taken literally, and told MTV News' Kurt Loder, "I think that some people are a little too uptight, and take things a little bit too seriously."
Contacted by MTV News on Friday, a spokesperson for GLAAD declined to comment on the song, but did say our request had been forwarded internally.