Eminem says he was pretty sure the issue was settled. But after a number of critics called the rapper out for his copious use of anti-gay slurs on "Rap God" (and other tracks) from The Marshall Mathers LP 2 , the Detroit MC told Rolling Stone that he meant no harm.
"I don't know how to say this without saying it how I've said it a million times," Marshall told the magazine in an upcoming cover story. "But that word, those kind of words, when I came up battle-rappin' or whatever, I never really equated those words [with being homosexual]."
In the song, he raps, "I attempt these lyrical acrobat stunts while I'm practicing that/I'll still be able to break a mother---in' table/Over the back of a couple of f----ts and crack it in half... "Little gay-looking boy/So gay I can barely say it with a straight face-looking boy."
It's not the first time Slim Shady has been taken to task for using anti-gay language. In fact, he took heat back in 2000 with the release of the original Marshall Mathers LP, which featured songs such as "Criminal" that used similar language. At the time, and again in a 2010 interview with Anderson Cooper, the rapper who famously befriended openly gay pop icon Elton John said that using words like "f----t" had nothing to do with homophobia.
"It was more like calling someone a bitch or a punk or a--hole," he told Rolling Stone. "So that word was just thrown around so freely back then. It goes back to that battle [rapping era], back and forth in my head, of wanting to feel free to say what I want to say, and then [worrying about] what may or may not affect people ... The real me sitting here right now talking to you has no issues with gay, straight, transgender, at all. I'm glad we live in a time where it's really starting to feel like people can live their lives and express themselves."
Bottom line? Despite his fame and riches, Em said he still looks at himself as that same broke, battle rapper from 8 Mile trying to make a name for himself. Besides, after 14 years, he said he thought people would be able to separate the real him and the real Slim Shady.
"I think people know my personal stance on things and the personas that I create in my music," he said. "And if someone doesn't understand that by now, I don't think there's anything I can do to change their mind about it."