Gen Z Is Trying To Cancel Eminem — Rapper Responds With New Song Titled 'Tone Deaf'

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Why Gen Z Is Trying To Cancel Eminem — Rapper Responds In New Song

In a turn of events Gen X and Millennials had been warning them was coming, Eminem just released a new song — cheekily titled "Tone Deaf" — calling out Gen Z for trying to cancel him over past lyrics.

The campaign to make Eminem the next target of cancel culture grew traction on TikTok after young music fans took issue with lyrics they say glorify domestic violence.

The calls to cancel Eminem are the latest addition to an ongoing culture war between Gen Z and older Millennials/Generation X, who were outraged by the call to action against the Detroit-based rapper whose music was instrumental to the soundtrack of their youth.

Why does Gen Z want to cancel Eminem?

The movement to cancel Eminem, 48, stems from Gen Z somehow sudden discovery of the lyrics from his 2010 song, “Love The Way You Lie,” featuring Rihanna.

In the song, which appeared on his massive hit album, "Recovery," the two artists sing and rap about a destructive, violent relationship. Many believe the song was inspired by Rihanna’s relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Chris Brown, as well as Eminem’s tumultuous relationship with ex-wife Kim Scott.

Taking on the role of a violent and possessive boyfriend attempting to force his partner to stay with him during an argument, Eminem raps, “If she ever tries to f—ing leave again, I'm a tie her to the bed and set this house on fire.”

Gen Z critics felt that such lyrics make light of domestic violence and called for the rapper to be “canceled.”

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Considering Eminem (real name Marshell Mathers) has been using his lyrics to stir up controversy and call out targets of his own since the '90s, Millennials responded on TikTok by pointing out that the rapper just might be uncancellable.

"if 'I don't give a brown rat's a— what people think of me was a person, it would be Marshall Mathers," said Savannah Edwards, schooling Gen Z TikTokers.

"This man will make a whole album out of your whole generation and have y'all crying," said another Millennial with the username @morriscode_. "Y'all are seriously about wake a demon."

Having listened to "Tone Deaf," it would appear that waking a demon is exactly what they did!

His latest song, in which he responds to the TikTok campaign, is further proof that the rapper doesn’t care what Gen Z has to say about him.

In the song, Eminem calls out cancel culture, proving Millennials' point that no one can cancel the man who has made a career out of ending careers.

"I can't understand a word you say (I'm tone-deaf)/ I think this way I prefer to stay (I'm tone-deaf) / I won't stop even when my hair turns grey (I'm tone-deaf)/ 'Cause they won't stop until they cancel me,” he raps in the chorus.

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The song title and lyrics seem to suggest that Eminem does not plan on pandering to Gen Z’s political correctness anytime soon.

The lyrics of "Love The Way You Lie" are just one example of the many times Eminem's music has stirred controversy over the years. His love of explicitly off-color insults, violent threats made toward the mother of his children (as well as his own mother), and unflattering (to say the very least) mentions of other celebrities have been the subject of outrage for decades now.

Which is exactly how Em likes it.

The rapper has kept somewhat quiet recently but is clearly seizing the opportunity to make sure the next generation is equally aware he'll never go down without a fight.

In many ways, the debate over Eminem’s possible cancelation has become more about the differences between Gen Z and Millennials.

Just like the feud they started over side parts and skinny jeans, Gen Z has been making jokes about how Millennials are quick to be outraged by any slight change to the status quo, even though trends on what and who is popular or liked change every day.

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What about Rihanna's role in "Love The Way You Life"?

Of course, one key point Gen Z seems to be missing, and which Eminem himself also did not address, is Rihanna's involvement in the song that has people across generations up in arms.

They might not know it yet (so shhh) but she and Em even recorded a flip-side version, "Love The Way You Lie, Part 2," which sources say Eminem specifically wanted to record in order to show listeners "aspects of a relationship from a female perspective, unlike the original, which [was] from a male perspective."

Fraser McAlpine of the BBC wrote at the time, "The song would not work if it was just a first-person account of the guilt/need/anger triangle at the heart of an abusive relationship... But by getting Rihanna in ... well that's like proper storytelling."

"And worst of all," he continued, "it's the kind of situation which could be taking place within a 50-yard radius of where you're sitting right now."

Finally, he concludes, "I'd like to think this is why this song has become as popular as it has. I'd like to believe that everyone is buying this song and listening to it as a kind of warning, or to exorcise a demon or two, or even as a deliberate tribute to anyone who has ever found themselves in this kind of desperate situation, or knows someone who has, or worries that they could."

As for today's Millennials and Gen Xers, they seem pretty much OK allowing Gen Z to have their middle parts and mom jeans.

They just want Eminem, one of the most influential rappers of all time, to be left alone!

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Catch her covering all things social justice, news, and entertainment.