When it comes to provocative, anti-establishment genres such as hip-hop and rock, there are bound to be problems and individuals unwilling to accept the music for what it is. However, in the 21st century, rappers are getting ostracised more frequently than ever due to their lyrics. However, some artists get severely punished, and one rapper, in particular, was even banned from a university campus. One particularly controversial rapper is Eminem (real name Marshall Mathers).
When he first erupted in 1999, there was a vast amount of backlash concerning his music, especially his alter-ego Slim Shady. The Detroit rapper has always claimed that his music has a sense of dark humour and that Slim Shady was merely a twisted, demented character that he played. However, many didn’t buy into the alter-ego and insisted that the rapper was happily promoting violence against women, self-harm, homophobia and more.
In a 2013 interview with renowned music magazine Rolling Stone, Mathers spoke about his controversial lyrics stating, “It goes back to that battle, back and forth in my head, of wanting to feel free to say what I want to say, and the [worrying about] what may or may not affect people. And not saying it’s wrong or right, but at this point in my career, man – I say so much shit that’s tongue-in-cheek. I poke fun at other people and myself…I think people know my personal stance on things and the personas that I create in my music.”
However, many don’t understand and don’t want to, so it’s no surprise that the University of Sheffield decided to ban all of Eminem’s music from being played on their campus. Speaking to ABC News about her decision to enforce to ban, Rachel Agnew, the Union’s Women’s Officer, stated, “Eminem’s misogynistic and hate-filled language is intimidating and extremely threatening!”
Agnew continued, “We are trying to build a union for all our students. Women and homosexuals should have the right to go out in the union without having to face these sorts of attitudes.” This prohibition was highly polarising, and many of the university’s students felt it infringed on their rights, holding the sentiment that they should be free to listen to whatever artist they want. However, irrespective of these feelings towards the ban, it remains in place, and students of the University of Sheffield are no longer allowed to listen to any Eminem on campus.