In an apparent response to the latest attempt to "cancel" Eminem, the rapper released a new video for his song "Tone Deaf." The rapper released an animated music video with stylized subtitles for the song, where the chorus goes: "I won't stop even when my hair turns gray (I'm tone-deaf) / Cause they won't stop until they cancel me."
Some familiar headlines over the last few weeks have condemned Eminem — whose real name is Marshall Mathers — for his most violent and bigoted lyrics. For those alive during Eminem's rise to fame in the early-2000s, this is nothing new, but the trend seemed to start with young TikTok users from "Generation Z." Discovering the violence, misogyny, ableism and other issues in Eminem's lyrics for the first time, the young listeners began a semi-ironic social media campaign to "cancel" the rapper. Eminem seemed to have one of his most recent songs ready and waiting just for the occasion.
"Tone Deaf" came out at the end of December on Eminem's latest album Music to Be Murdered By: Side B. However, the brand new video came out just a few weeks after a viral TikTok video revived the calls to "cancel" Eminem. It apparently began with a dissection of his 2010 song "Love The Way You Lie" featuring Rihanna, where he fantasized about murdering his romantic partner "if she ever tries to f—ing leave again."
As long-time Eminem fans were quick to point out, this is nothing new for the rapper. However, it also did not make a strong defense when they pointed to the long list of songs that are essentially narrations of domestic violence fantasies and murders. Still, the idea of "cancelling" a performer who has made a career out of thriving on controversy for decades did strike many as preposterous.
Hey @Eminem some child is trying to cancel you on tiktok...I say trying cause I know damn well no one can cancel a Rap God...please just end my generation. If it worth your time 😩 been a fan of yours since I was 5 and my brother would blast your music on the pic.twitter.com/qneTuhqaIc— Kim (@CryBabyKim98) February 26, 2021
The fact that "Tone Deaf" was ready and waiting as a response was just icing on the cake for some fans. In addition to the chorus, the song muses on "cancel culture" in the second verse. Eminem raps: "It's okay to not like my s—. / Everything's fine, drink your wine, b— / and get offline, quick whinin', this is just a rhyme, b—. / But ask me, will I stick to my guns like adhesive tape? / Does Bill Cosby sedate once he treats to cheesecake and a decent steak? / You Think getting rid of me's a piece of cake?"
The release of the new video struck many Eminem fans and defenders as a victory cry from the rapper, though it could have been scheduled before the latest TikTok cancellation campaign rose up. Either way, it seems unlikely that new fan outcry will stop Eminem from releasing music or impact his bottom line in any meaningful way.