Rapper Eminem is infamous for his provocative, politically incorrect lyrics – but a recent freestyle performance in which he threatens to “punch” singer Lana Del Ray “twice like Ray Rice” may be a bridge too far, even for some of his most ardent fans and defenders.
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The 42-year-old hip-hop superstar made the reference just over 15 minutes into an extended improvised promotion for his upcoming compilation album “Shady XV”. The incendiary lyrics make reference to Ray Rice – the former Baltimore Ravens star player currently under indefinite suspension by the NFL – knocking out his then-fiance Janay in an Atlantic City casino elevator in February:
But I may fight for gay rights, especially if they d-ke is more of a knockout than Janay Rice/ Play nice? B-tch I’ll punch Lana Del Rey right in the face twice, like Ray Rice in broad daylight in the plain sight of the elevator surveillance/ ’Til her head is banging on the railing, then celebrate with the Ravens.
Lana Del Ray has yet to respond to Eminem’s remarks but has had very positive things to say about the “Lose Yourself” rapper in the past. ”He really changed my life. I didn’t know music could be intelligent. He wasn’t just rhyming for rhyme’s sake. That made me think I could actually talk about the way things actually were. He’s a genius,” she said in a 2012 interview.
Eminem has been one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful hip-hop artists of all time. He has also been routinely criticized for misogynistic and homophobic lyrical content. Eminem and his defenders have always maintained that his music is often satirical in nature and not meant to be interpreted as his actual views or intentions.
Still, he has shown a tendency to reserve particular ire for female pop stars, with Christina Aguilera and Mariah Carey both previous targets of some of his most vicious barbs. And his history of alluding to spousal abuse of his ex-wife Kim Mathers has consistently been a source of controversy.
Msnbc reached out to Eminem’s label, Shady Records, for comment, but have not heard back by publication time.
In the wake of the Ray Rice incident, the NFL has been forced to re-evaluate its treatment of domestic violence. The league came under fire after initially only suspending RIce for two games for striking his wife. The punishment was elevated to suspension once security footage showing his assault on his then-fiancee went public in September.
Rice is currently fighting to reinstated in the NFL, while the league is under an independent investigation into how it handled his case.