Bad-boy rap artist Eminem has lobbed a four-letter word at Vice President Dick Cheney’s wife on his upcoming album, but the second lady is hardly running away to a secure, undisclosed location.
The Detroit-based recording star, a favorite target of Lynne Cheney in her criticism of the recording industry, unleashes the offensive word against her on the “White America” track to his soon-to-be released LP, “The Eminem Show.”
She fired back through her spokeswoman, again condemning his lyrics as a “glorification of violence” against women and homosexuals.
Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Bruce Mathers III, won three Grammys last year for his last album despite criticism from women’s groups and gay activists who condemned his lyrics as violently misogynist and homophobic. On one single off that album, he raps about killing his pregnant wife.
The new album, his third major-label release, is due out June 4 from Interscope Records, a unit of Vivendi Universal. The album’s first single, “Without Me,” is currently getting strong airplay on the radio and stands at No. 20 on the latest Hot 100 chart.
But the yet-to-be-released track “White America” is drawing headlines. In it, Eminem declares: “F– you, Miss Cheney!… with the freeness of speech this Divided States of Embarrassment will allow you to have.” The lyrics came to light in a report by Internet gossip columnist Matt Drudge.
The song, written and recorded by Eminem in June 2001, “addresses personal attacks against him, his music and his right to artistic expression,” an Interscope spokesman said.
“He is reacting to testimony before Congress in September 2000 in which his lyrics were condemned and his right to free speech questioned,” the spokesman added.
Natalie Rule, a spokeswoman for the vice president’s wife, said Mrs. Cheney had “no response to the personal attacks, but she sees this as a larger issue – mainly Mr. Mather’s repeated glorification of violence against women and gay people.” Rule added: “That deserves to be widely condemned.”
Mrs. Cheney, a leading critic of violent lyrics in songs promoted by the recording industry, singled out Eminem in congressional testimony in 2000, months before her husband was elected vice president, and in numerous media interviews since then.
She is not the first vice president’s wife to be name-checked in a rap song. Rapper Ice-T’s hard-rock band Body Count made a vulgar reference to Tipper Gore’s nieces in the 1992 song “KKK Bitch.” Eminem himself mentions former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton on the “Role Model” track to his first album.