Eminem’s lyrics are some of the most provocative that the music industry has ever seen. Containing intricate rhyme schemes, the lyrics by Eminem are also very complicated by song standards and Eminem is a master of staying on beat while he’s rapping them.
A favorite target of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) censors, Slim Shady’s lyrics, over the years, have cost many radio stations much of their hard earned cash. This was especially true on the song “The Real Slim Shady”, which first appeared on The Marshall Mathers LP in 2000.
The edited version of these Eminem lyrics was played by Colorado Springs FM radio station KKMG Radio and the station was fined $7,000 by the FCC. The FCC would later review and reverse its previous decision saying the lyrics did not violate its indecency standards and were not patently offensive. This kind of scrutiny of the Eminem lyrics has played itself out many times over Mather’s career.
When reading both the edited and unedited versions of “The Real Slim Shady” it is easily apparent why these Eminem lyrics would be offensive to some people. This song, along with many others by Eminem, collectively violate George Carlin’s 7 Dirty Words that you can never say on radio or TV.
Besides pushing this boundary, however, the song also takes a poke at Pam and Tommy Lee, feminist women, Tom Green, Will Smith, Christina Aguilera, Carson Daly and Fred Durst. Besides poking fun at a few celebrities, however, the song is actually an anthem about free speech and expression and saying the things out loud that other people are thinking to themselves.
So far, Eminem has received nine Grammy Awards, five Grammy nominations and one Academy Award in his quest to thwart the censors and push the envelop of free speech and expression that others are also eager to support. Eminem’s lyrics don’t just take a crack at celebrities, however, as they are some of the most self-revealing lyrics of our time.
In the Eminem lyrics, Slim Shady talks about his mother possibly having Munchausen’s By Proxy Syndrome, anger towards his father, on-and-off again wife, Kim, his daughter, Hailie Jade, his friends and using drugs. Critics denounce the Eminem lyrics as being to violent, anti-women, racist and homophobic.
While some of this is true, as Eminem will concede having made public apologies, much of Eminem’s lyrics need to be taken with a grain of salt. Speaking from a place of rage or venting or even humor, the Eminem lyrics give us a look inside the artist’s world as long as we can hold off judging him. Without judgment, you start to get to know a person, and Eminem, through his lyrics has given us all an invitation to know him and all his human vulnerabilities, a little better.