NOTE: The article below contains language that some readers might find offensive. Please read at your own discretion.
The song in question, One in a Million, features racist and homophobic language and was originally included on the band’s 1988 EP G N’ R Lies, which was released in the wake of their debut, Appetite. It sold more than five million copies worldwide, but the song itself was considered extremely controversial.
Some lyrics featured in One in a Million:
Police and n****rs, that’s right/Get outta my way/Don’t need to buy none of your gold chains today
Immigrants and f****ts/They make no sense to me/They come to our country/And think they’ll do as they please/Like start some mini-Iran/Or spread some f***ing disease/And they talk so many goddamn ways/It’s all Greek to me
Upon its original release, One in a Million was criticized for its language. Later on, guitarist Slash said “I don’t regret doing One in a Million, I just regret what we’ve been through because of it and the way people have perceived our personal feelings.”
“Why can black people go up to each other and say, ‘n****r,’ but when a white guy does it all of a sudden it’s a big putdown? I don’t like boundaries of any kind. I don’t like being told what I can and what I can’t say. I used the word ‘n****r’ because it’s a word to describe somebody that is basically a pain in your life, a problem. The word ‘n****r’ doesn’t necessarily mean black.”
In terms of the immigrant and anti-gay lyrics, Rose tried to explain that he derived them from his own alleged real-life experience in Los Angeles 30 years ago.
“A lot of people from countries like Iran, Pakistan, China, Japan, etc., get jobs in these convenience stores and gas stations,” he told Rolling Stone. “Then they treat you like you don’t belong here.”
Rose cited “very bad experiences with homosexuals,” and said he’s “not against them doing what they want to do as long as it’s not hurting anybody else and they’re not forcing it upon me.”
GNR is reissuing Appetite in various formats, including a massive box set called Locked N’ Loaded, retailing for C$1,299.99.
As of this writing, GNR has not commented on the song removal or what propelled the band to do so.