Eminem published an open letter today in response to criticism of his new album Music to Be Murdered By. The record was released without forewarning on 17 January and quickly provoked a wave of outrage over some of its lyrical content.
Most of the criticism was directed at the song “Unaccommodating,” in which Eminem references the 2017 Manchester bombing. Below is the offending lyric:
“But I’m contemplating yelling ‘Bombs away’ on the game/ Like I’m outside of an Ariana Grande concert waiting.”
Numerous people took to social media to express their fury and accuse the rapper of being insensitive. For example, one tweet read, “Eminem literally just made a joke about the Manchester bombing at ariana grande’s concert… that is just so fucking sick, y’all better not give this man any attention. people literally lost their lives, and you’re going to release music and try to make a profit off of them.”
Eminem defended himself in an open letter posted on his Instagram page. It’s somewhat confusing, but he seems to be saying that, by referencing atrocities in his lyrics, he is critiquing society’s approach to violence. His goal, he admits, is “to shock the conscience, which may cause positive action.” Below is the letter in full:
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? So before you jump the gun, please allow me to explain.
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. Unfortunately, darkness has truly fallen upon us.
So you see, murder in this instance isn’t always literal, nor pleasant. These bars are only meant for the sharpest knives in the drawer. For the victims of this album, may you rest peacefully. For the rest of you, please listen more closely next time. Goodnight!
With deepest sympathy,
I’ll leave it to you, Gentle Reader, to decide whether that makes any sense.
It should perhaps be noted that Eminem donated money to the victims of the Manchester bombing, partnering with the British Red Cross.