Eminem pushes back at TikTok campaign to cancel him

Rapper releases lyric video for 'Tone Deaf' after being criticised for violence in his songs

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Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Manchester, USA - 09 Jun 2018
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Eminem is hitting back at TikTok users who are calling for him to be "cancelled" over his 2010 Grammy-nominated song Love the Way You Lie.

The rap star released a lyric video for his 2020 track Tone Deaf on Friday, and tweeted lines from the track.

“I won’t stop even when my hair turns grey. (I’m tone-deaf). ‘Cause they won’t stop until they cancel me,” he posted.

The controversy began when a TikTok user posted a snippet of Love the Way You Lie last month featuring the line "If she ever tries to [expletive] leave again, I'ma tie her/to the bed and set this house on fire."

“Yesssss let’s cancel him,” the user said in a since-deleted post. Soon, others began to chime it, claiming the song promoted domestic violence, while others called the lyrics "problematic", leading to the rapper’s name trending on the social media app.

Love the Way You Lie is part of Eminem's hit seventh studio album, Recovery, which also featured pop star Rihanna. While the song caused some controversy upon its release, it went on to top the charts in 2011 and became one of Eminem's best-selling singles.

A screenshot of "Love the Way You Lie" by Eminem
 (feat. Rihanna) for an Oasis feature on top Youtube vidoes *NO CREDITS* *** Local Caption ***  wk20fe-oasis-lie.jpg
A screenshot of 'Love the Way You Lie' by Eminem (feat. Rihanna).

At the time of its release, the song, about a couple’s love-hate relationship, ruffled a few feathers due to Eminem and Rihanna’s well-documented relationships. In 2009, singer Chris Brown was arrested following his violent assault on then-girlfriend Rihanna, which left her bleeding and bruised. Eminem has also extensively detailed his tumultuous relationship with ex-wife Kim Scott in his songs.

The video for Love the Way You Lie featured Megan Fox and Dominic Monaghan playing a couple going through an abusive relationship.

Following the TikTok campaign, fans of the rapper, 48, quickly came to his defence.

“Millennials protecting Eminem while Gen Z tries to cancel him. This is my favourite thing on the internet right now," one user posted on Twitter.

“You don’t cancel Eminem, Eminem cancels you,” another user said.

“Teens trying to cancel Eminem while their parents buying his album,” one user joked.

Violence has been a long-running theme in many of Eminem’s songs, which his fans argue is part of his brand.

In his first major studio album The Slim Shady LP released in 1997, he rapped about murdering his wife with the help of his toddler in 97 Bonnie and Clyde. His follow up album, The Marshall Mathers LP, released in 2000, features songs such as Kill You and Kim, the later dedicated to his then-wife Scott, in which he fantasises about killing her.

Even his latest album, Music to Be Murdered By, released in January last year, was criticised for its reference to violence. One track, Unaccommodating, which references the 2017 Manchester bomb attack that killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert, was slammed for its "hurtful and deeply disrespectful" lyrics.

The rapper later explained that some lyrics on the album were not intended to be taken literally.

"In today's wonderful world, murder has become so commonplace that we are a society obsessed and fascinated by it. I thought why not make a sport of it, and murder over beats?,” Eminem posted on Twitter. “This album was not made for the squeamish. If you are easily offended or unnerved at the screams of bloody murder, this may not be the collection for you. Certain selections have been designed to shock the conscience, which may cause positive action.”