The use and the meaning of "faggot" in Eminem's lyrics

Eminem is constantly viewed as gay bashing. Some people automatically refer to him as Eminem, “the homophobic rapper”. He frequently uses the word “faggot” in his lyrics, but with a total different meaning. The general meaning of “faggot” in Eminem’s lyrics is rather “coward” than anything else.
A few lines from the song “Criminal” have raised a lot of controversy, particularly among people from the GLAAD ( Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation):

My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge
That’ll stab you in the head
Whether you’re a fag or lez
Or the homosex, hermaph, or a trans-a-vest
Pants or dress—hate fags? The answer’s ‘yes’”

The problem is the same each time. At first sight, those lines seem as aggressive and as gay bashing as possible. Sure, those lines have been taken out of their context! Let’s have a deeper look at the song “Criminal”. Later on, Eminem says:

“C’mon Relax Guy I Like Gay Men
Right Ken Give Me An Amen Aaa Men”

You will clearly understand that Eminem is joking (if you got a sense of humor, of course!). The whole “Criminal” song is total sarcasm. Look at the chorus:

I’m A Criminal
Cuz Every Time I Write A Rhyme These People Think It’s A Crime
To Tell Em What’s On My Mind I Guess I’m A Criminal
But I Don’t Gotta Say A Word I Just Flip Em The Bird
And Keep Goin I Don’t Take Shit From No One

Eminem is just playing with people’s mind. He knows in advance what to expect from conservative politicians and he’s amused –in advance- about their reaction. Eminem is by no means an homophobe. All he wants is to play with people’s heads in order to make them mad:

” You Motherfuckin Chickens Ain’t Brave Enough
To Say The Stuff I Say So This Tape Is Shut
Shit Half The Shit I Say I Just Make It Up
To Make You Mad So Kiss My White Naked Ass
And If It’s Not A Rapper That I Make It As
Bi’ma Be A Fuckin Rapist In A Jason Mask”

But the fact that Eminem plays with irony is obvious since the beginning of the song. That’s why those accusations of homophobia sound so ridiculous:

“A Lot Of People Ask Me Stupid Fuckin Questions
A Lot Of People Think That What I Say On Records
Or What I Talk About On A Record That I Actually Do In Real Life
Or That I Believe In It
Or If I Say That I Wanna Kill Somebody That
I’m Actually Gonna Do It
Or That I Believe In It
Well Shit If You Believe That
Then I’ll Kill You
You Know Why
Cuz I’m A

Criminal
Criminal
You God Damn Right
I’m A Criminal
Yeah I’m A Criminal”

It is more than obvious that he doesn’t intend to kill anybody in real life. If that point is so obvious, it is very clear that he won’t stab nor harm gay people in real life.
I think conservative people are more likely to misinterpret those lyrics than young people who usually got that sense of humor Eminem expects from them.
Gay people are not the only target of the song. Eminem also jokes about the Lewinsky affair. He talks about preachers’ abusive behavior and about his mom’s drug addiction. “Criminal” is just a crazy song that is intended to make you smile, because you know the author is joking. I’d like to ask people who seriously think Eminem expresses his hatred of gay people, if they also believe he will kill his producer and spray his brain all over the place? Don’t you think it’s ridiculous to believe his statements are serious?

”Replacin The Doctor Cause Dre Couldn’t Make It Today
He’s A Little Under The Weather So I’m Takin His Place
Mm Mm Mmm Oh That’s Dre With An Ak To His Face
Don’t Make Me Kill Him Too And Spray His Brains All Over The Place
I Told You Dre You Should’ve Kept That Thang Put Away
I Guess That’ll Teach You Not To Let Me Play With It “

Eminem precisely explained his use of the word “faggot’ in his lyrics in an interview given to NY Rock:

NYROCK:
There has been much controversy over your liberal use of the word “faggot” and what people perceive as gay bashing. It’s put you right in the line of fire from gay and lesbian groups the world over…

EMINEM:
I’m not gay bashing. People just don’t understand where I come from. “Faggot” to me doesn’t necessarily mean gay people. “Faggot” to me just means… taking away your manhood. You’re a sissy. You’re a coward. Just like you might sit around in your living room and say, “Dude, stop, you’re being a fag, dude.”

NYROCK:
But you can see how it would insult homosexuals?

EMINEM:
Yeah, but it does not necessarily mean you’re being a gay person. It just means you’re being a fag. You’re being an asshole or whatever. That’s the way that the word was always taught to me. That’s how I learned the word. Battling with somebody, you do anything you can to strip their manhood away.

NYROCK:
Sometimes it seems that you enjoy creating a bit of ruckus. I wonder if “faggot” is really necessary …

EMINEM:
I come from Detroit where it’s rough and I’m not a smooth talker. I am who I am and I say what I think. I’m not putting a face on for the record. When I started saying “faggot” on record, I started getting people going, “You have something against gay people,” and I thought it was funny. Because I don’t; I really don’t. I have something against assholes, but I’m not into gay bashing. A lot of people are too stupid to understand it.
I’d like to add that a blatent homophobe would never have performed with Elton John and also that “Criminal” has been written by in reaction to the accusation of being homophobic.

We should not forget that Eminem is not the first rapper to say “faggot” in his lyrics…
When will people stop confusing hip hop with real life?

12 thoughts on “The use and the meaning of "faggot" in Eminem's lyrics”

  1. Well, Isabelle,
    u sure learned Eminem’s lyrics. I like that last sentence.
    U xpress just my opinion.

  2. I like Eminem and i think that he is the best rapper in the world.
    I also think that Eminem is not a hypocrite like most people and he shows this ny saying what he thinks

  3. Why cnt u ppl fuckin leave eminem alone and stop talkin shit as if u really care, he raps bout wot he wants to and sum times i can see that wot he tlks bout is real life yeh but that is his touch. Yeh mayb tlkin bout shit like killin ppl is bollocks but it is a type of humour and yeh takin da piss of gays is funni too. IF U DNT LIKE THAT TYPE OF HUMOUR JUST DNT LISTEN TO HIS FUCKIN MUSIC DNT RUIN IT ALL FOR THE REST OF US. i mite not like ure style of music but i dnt complain and make a utterly crap website moanin!!!!!

  4. Ella, you’re complaining because you don’t like the discussion going on about Eminem but to be honest people are entitled to and can express their own opinions just like you have!! You’re sooooo right about the humour aspect he’s introducig in his lyrics but its out of order of u to come on here and role of a few swear words. This is only a website ‘discussing’ him and his song lyrics. Like it or lump it hun!!!!!!!!!!! And dont waste you’re valuable time moanin on this “utterly crap website”. you must have far more imp things to do with your precious time.

  5. Well said, Katie:)
    And if she’s calling this site “crapsite”, that means she doesn’t understand this site is aimed at defending and analyzing Eminem’s lyrics. If she doesn’t like it, there is nothing I can do for her…i guess she probably lacks humor…whatever…

  6. Speaking of faggots:

    Taliesin39 comes to mind. He is currently residing at 55 1/2 Bakersfield in Dorchester, MA. If you go to KEYWORD: 55 Bakersfield in Dorchester, MA., you will get this information below:

    US Local Gay & Lesbian Multicultural & Ethnic Organizations – … Massachusettes. Long Yang Club of Boston 55 Bakersfield Street #2 Dorchester, MA 02125 617 8255677 eapoe@chelmsford.com. New Jersey. … http://www.dv-8.c…
    Massachusetts Gay & Lesbian Resources – … ext. 282; Long Yang Club of Boston 55 Bakersfield Street #2 Dorchester, MA 02125 617 8255677 eapoe@chelmsford.com; Peer Listening … http://www.dv-8.c…

    ……………..and here is some additional information:

    Paul E Orr
    55 1/2 Bakersfield St
    Dorchester, MA 02125-1920
    617-436-8178

  7. Do you know what the REAL meaning of ‘faggot’ is? Apparently not. Granted, in England, it’s a cigarette, and in UK it’s a meatball, but way back in the 1300’s, witches were burned at the stake, as well as homosexuals. They were forced to assemble a bundle of sticks, and carry it around until they were burned with the very sticks they assembled. No matter how you mean it nowadays, it’s real meaning is very derogative, and mean.

    I don’t lack humor, I find some of Eminem’s music quite amusing, but I just thought I’d educate you a little on the real meaning of the word.

  8. Dear Mandee,

    I am well aware of the meaning of “Faggot” which was how homosexuals got that label as one of many. I have met many gay males and most of them are very kind and caring, however, this person who I posted about isn’t. I had met him at the Pagan town meeting which was held at the Old Town Hall in Salem, Massachusetts and I have also been to a few of his open circles were held at the same location. Needless to say, when I first met him at the Pagan town meeting, he was acting out in a temper tantrum and giving a clear indication that he harbors a deep hatred for heterosexual women in which he views them as a threat to him. Unfortunately, I didn’t take that as a warning by not going to his open circles. But thank you for sharing your comments.

    Karameslov

  9. i understand what you are saying but to me, eminem shouldnt be saying it anyway, he does it to confuse people, alot of people are going to hate his music anyway and be gay and find out that his songs say them horrible things and feel shit. Not everyone is going to read it all and assume that is what he thinks about gay people, eminem should realise this and decide that to put homophobic messages even if it is a joke is unacceptable, you talk about a sense of humour, how the fuck is any situation involving that type of talk funny?

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