Why Eminem Was ‘Canceled’ on TikTok

Rapper Eminem built his career on the shock value of his incendiary lyrics, so some find it funny that critics on TikTok are “trying to cancel Eminem.” The rapper has employed bigotry, threats of violence and personal attacks for decades now, including graphic descriptions of highly personal criminal fantasies. To some, that almost insulates him, in a way, from today’s common form of unironic social media scrutiny.

Eminem has been “canceled” often throughout his career, depending on how you define the term. He has faced criticism from parents, politicians and advocacy groups, and been blamed for the violent actions of his fans over the years. In general, this has never affected his popularity or his bottom line in the long term, and it has led some fans to feel that he is virtually invincible. Many are treating this new round of “cancellation” as a generational thing, pinning it on TikTok and “Gen Z” in particular.

Eminem has made waves since his very earliest musical releases, which took a shock-jock approach to gain attention. In 1997 his first major studio album, The Slim Shady LP, featured the song “’97 Bonnie and Clyde,” where he narrated his fantasy of murdering his wife and having his toddler-aged daughter help him hide her corpse. The follow-up, 2000’s The Marshall Mathers LP, featured “Kim,” an even more violent fantasy about murdering his wife in real-time.

The controversies are by no means restricted to his earlier work, either. Even in his most recent releases, domestic violence remains a constant theme in Eminem’s lyrics, and homophobic and ableist slurs persist as well.

Some of Eminem’s defenders tried to frame these controversies in the past tense, but many others simply said that controversy was a part of his brand, and could not be taken too seriously. Throughout all these online discussions it was hard to judge who was serious and who being ironic. Scroll down to see the latest debates about Eminem’s lyrics for yourself.

Constant Cancellation

For better or worse, many users argued that Eminem thrives in a state of constant cancellation, and has done so since the 1990s. Any attempt to “cancel” him cannot be taken genuinely, by their logic, since it will only fuel his defenders and his personal narrative.


Other Celebrities

Many users brought up the views other celebrities — particularly rappers — have of Eminem, holding them up as evidence of his cancellation status. Defenders then compared those stars’ record sales and other metrics to that of Eminem.



Others did not argue with Eminem defenders, but pitied them, saying there was “second-hand embarrassment” involved.



Some Eminem defenders pointed out his longevity in the music industry, citing that as an accomplishment in and of itself. Detractors pointed to other rap music sensations who have done the same, with less controversy along the way.


Bad Lines

Ignoring his problematic moments, some joked that Eminem should be “canceled” for his worst lyrics. Fans and detractors alike had fun sharing their least favorite lines from Eminem songs and freestyles.


Just Words

Some users defended Eminem’s most outrageous lyrics as nothing more than words, and argued that they should not be taken so seriously.


Good Luck

Finally, many users wish Gen Z at large good luck in successfully canceling Eminem, warning that others had tried and failed. Still, they thought maybe the new generation could pull it off. However, at the time of this writing, Eminem has not lost any record deals or sponsorships over this latest retroactive cancellation campaign.


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