Another surprise Eminem album, another controversy. On the rapper’s 11th studio album, Music to Be Murdered By, he includes an insensitive lyric about the 2017 Manchester bombing at an Ariana Grande concert.
The line comes midway through “Unaccommodating,” the second track from the album released on Friday, January 17.
“But I’m contemplating yelling ‘Bombs away’ on the game / Like I’m outside of an Ariana Grande concert waiting,” the 47-year-old raps before a sound of an explosion is heard.
The lyric is a reference to the terrorist attack that killed 22 people and injured dozens more at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, on May 22, 2017, as concertgoers were leaving an Ariana Grande show.
Grande, 26, spoke out about the attack to Time magazine in May 2018. “There are so many people who have suffered much loss and pain,” the pop star told the publication. “The processing part is going to take forever. … Music is supposed to be the safest thing in the world. I think that’s why it’s still so heavy on my heart every single day.”
Many Twitter users have expressed outrage over Eminem’s lyric. “Eminem literally just made a joke about the manchester bombing at ariana grande’s concert… that is just so f—king sick, y’all better not give this man any attention,” one wrote. “People literally lost their lives, and you’re going to release music and try to make a profit off of them?”
Another user tweeted: “I wish i could unhear this. this is so low & disgusting. this isn’t something to joke about for money & clout! i can’t believe this would even cross his mind.”
Eminem previously referenced the attack in the “Kick Off” freestyle video he posted in November 2018, rapping, “Seeing Ariana Grande sing her last song of the evening / And as the audience from the damn concert is leaving, detonates the device strapped to his abdominal region / I’m not gonna finish that for obvious reasons.”
The 15-time Grammy winner also touches a nerve with his music video for the track “Darkness,” which depicts a shooting at a concert similar to the 2017 Las Vegas massacre. Onscreen text at the end of the video, however, calls for gun reform. “When will this end? When enough people care,” the text reads. “Register to vote at vote.gov. Make your voice heard and help change gun laws in America.”
Eminem courted controversy with his previous album, Kamikaze, which he released by surprise in August 2018. In the track “Fall,” he used a homophobic slur against Tyler, the Creator, rapping, “Tyler create nothin’, I see why you called yourself a f—t, bitch / It’s not just ’cause you lack attention / It’s ’cause you worship D12’s balls, you’re sacrilegious / If you’re gonna critique me, you better at least be as good or better.”
Tyler, 28, said in an October 2019 interview with The Guardian that fans shouldn’t get offended on his behalf since he “knew what the intent was,” and Eminem expressed regret over the lyric in a September 2018 conversation with Sway. “I think the word that I called him on that song was one of the things where I felt like this might be too far,” he said at the time. “Because in my quest to hurt him, I realize that I was hurting a lot of other people by saying it.”
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!