Bon Iver singer Justin Vernon has criticized Eminem for homophobic lyrics on his new album, Kamikaze. On the track “Fall,” Eminem slams other rappers, including Tyler, The Creator, whom he dismisses as a “f*ggot”. “Tyler create nothing, I see why you called yourself a f*ggot, bitch / it’s not just ’cause you lack attention, it’s ’cause you worship D12’s balls, you’re sack-religious.” (The word faggot is bleeped out.)
Vernon actually sings on the track but insists he wasn’t in the studio when it was recorded — his vocals were done in a separate session with producers BJ Burton and Mike Will.
The Bon Iver frontman also claims he tried to get the lyric taken out of the song.
Was not in the studio for the Eminem track… came from a session with BJ Burton and Mike Will. Not a fan of the message, it’s tired. Asked them to change the track, wouldn’t do it. Thanks for listening to BRM https://t.co/E0wmt732ty
— blobtower (@blobtower) August 31, 2018
“Eminem is one of the best rappers of all time, there is no doubt,” he added. “I have and will respect that. Tho, this is not the time to criticize Youth, it’s the time to listen. To act. It is certainly not the time for slurs. Wish they would have listened when we asked them to change it.”
Eminem is one of the best rappers of all time , there is no doubt. I have and will respect that. Tho, this is not the time to criticize Youth, it’s the time to listen. To act. It is certainly not the time for slurs. Wish they would have listened when we asked them to change it
— blobtower (@blobtower) August 31, 2018
Vernon later tweeted, “I was wrong and we are gonna kill this track.” He has yet to elaborate whether that meant he’s trying to get the song removed from Kamikaze.
In addition to the attack on Tyler, “Fall” also includes threats against rapper Joe Budden and comedian Kathy Griffin and a “joke” about shooting Gaby Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman permanently disabled in a 2012 assassination attempt.
Some people were a little incredulous Vernon didn’t know what he was getting into. Others acted like it was no big deal.
“Eminem has rapped about beating women and killing people his whole career,” wrote one person. “You knew this before agreeing for your recording to be used on the track. Any sane person could recognize the contents of Em’s verses on the song do not reflect the views of yourself or those around you.”
I understand that but isn't aware of who Eminem is? What was he expecting for him to rap about positivity or some shit?
— Banana Fanana (@bfanna59) August 31, 2018
Eminem has rapped about beating women and killing people his whole career. You knew this before agreeing for your recording to be used on the track. Any sane person could recognise the contents of Ems verses on the song do not reflect the views of yourself or those around you.
— Jack Harris (@Harrisjac94) August 31, 2018
Neither Eminem nor Tyler, the Creator, have addressed the situation publicly. Imagine Dragons singer Dan Reynolds condemned “Fall” on Twitter: “I don’t care what year you were born in or what meaning it has to you. if it contributes to hate and bigotry then it is hateful, period,” Reynolds wrote. “there is never an OK time to say the word fa**ot I don’t care who you are.”
it’s never ok to say a word that is filled with hate. I don’t care what year you were born in or what meaning it has to you.
if it contributes to hate and bigotry then it is hateful. period.
there is never an ok time to say the word fa**ot
I don’t care who you are.
— Dan Reynolds (@DanReynolds) August 31, 2018
In recent years, Tyler, the Creator has alluded to being less than 100% heterosexual — especially with suggestive lyrics on the album Flower Boy. (On “I Ain’t Got Time!” he rapped about “kissing white boys since 2004.”) Last summer, Tyler told interviewers he had a boyfriend when he was 15, though he later backed away from that comment.
Just last week Tyler reworked “Sometimes” in a live performance, swapping the gender-neutral “you” for masculine pronouns.
Headlining at Hellow Festival in Monterey, Mexico, he sang, “Curls on his head look like waves / I wanna surf in ‘em,”
Of course Tyler has dropped his share of F-bombs, too: More than 200 of them on his 2011 album Goblin alone.
Hip-hop, and male rappers in particular, often straddle a line of wanting to appeal to a young straight male demographic that might still embrace homophobia, while appearing enlightened when talking to the mainstream. Eminem has talked about his rap persona as being an alter ego, not representing his true feelings.
“The real me sitting here right now talking to you has no issues with gay, straight, transgender, at all,” he told Rolling Stone in 2013. “I’m glad we live in a time where it’s really starting to feel like people can live their lives and express themselves.”