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Eminem releases statement after backlash over Manchester shooting lyrics

Eminem performs at Samsung Galaxy stage during 2014 Lollapalooza Day 1 at Grant Park on Aug. 1, 2014 in Chicago, Ill.
Eminem performs at Samsung Galaxy stage during 2014 Lollapalooza Day 1 at Grant Park on Aug. 1, 2014 in Chicago, Ill. Barry Brecheisen/WireImage

It’s been one week since Eminem dropped his surprise 11th studio album Music to Be Murdered By, and within that span of time, the rapper has been subject to a wave of criticism after rapping about some particularly sensitive events, including the Las Vegas shooting and the Manchester bombing.

As a result of the backlash, the 47-year-old, whose real name is Marshall Mathers, issued an official statement to his Instagram page addressing the overall taboo nature of the record on Thursday.

The Lose Yourself rapper addressed his “gentle listener(s)” by first explaining that his decision to write Music to Be Murdered By came from what he called society’s obsession and fascination with the topic of murder.

“In today’s wonderful world, murder has become so commonplace. I thought why not make a sport of it, and murder over beats? So before you jump the gun, please allow me to explain,” Eminem wrote.

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READ MORE: Eminem drops surprise album, receives backlash for Manchester bombing mention

“This album was not made for the squeamish,” the rapper continued. “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.”

Initially, Music to Be Murdered By stirred up controversy online after the release of its lead single, Darkness, which is written from the perspective of the Las Vegas shooter who killed 58 concertgoers in 2017.

It was released alongside a music video that depicts Eminem as the gunman before and after his shooting rampage, which subsequently prompted further backlash against the rapper.

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Following the response to Darkness, another Eminem song — for the second time in a year — referenced the horrific events of the 2017 Manchester bombing, which took place at the end of a sold-out Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena and killed 22 people.

“I’m contemplating yelling ‘bombs away’ on the game / Like I’m outside of an Ariana Grande concert waiting,” he raps on the album’s second track, Unaccommodating.

In response, many social media users criticized Eminem’s decision to mention the events again, voicing disappointment and accusing him of using “controversial lyrics” for his own gain.

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It wasn’t all negative criticism of Eminem’s new music, however, and it isn’t the first time he’s been in this situation, either. The Slim Shady rapper is notorious for sparking debate among his listeners.

Eminem tears into the NRA during performance at iHeartRadio Awards
Eminem tears into the NRA during performance at iHeartRadio Awards

Though he did not explicitly acknowledge it on the track, Eminem was praised for advocating gun control in the U.S. at the end of the eye-opening Darkness video. He also included a variety of links providing information on how his audience can help make a difference.

Eminem didn’t explicitly apologize to those offended by his latest body of work, either, signing off the statement with “deepest sympathy” and adding that his lyrics, or “these bars,” were only intended “for the sharpest knives in the drawer. ”

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“Murder in this instance isn’t always literal, nor pleasant,” Eminem wrote.

“For the victims of this album, may you rest peacefully. For the rest of you, please listen more closely next time.”

Eminem performs onstage during the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards which broadcasted live on TBS, TNT and truTV at The Forum on March 11, 2018 in Inglewood, Calif.
Eminem performs onstage during the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards which broadcasted live on TBS, TNT and truTV at The Forum on March 11, 2018 in Inglewood, Calif. Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

The full album is now available worldwide through all major streaming platforms.

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adam.wallis@globalnews.ca