Eminem Apologizes to Rihanna, Calls Out Convicted Sex Offenders, Addresses COVID-19 on New Album

Darlene Aderoju
·6 min read

Danny Clinch Eminem

Eminem is laying it all on the table once again on his newly released surprise album, Music to Get Murdered By – Side B.

Dropped on Friday, this marks the rap star's third surprise release since 2018. It comes as the sequel to his previous album with a similar name, Music to Get Murdered By, which dropped nearly one year ago in January. Since then, many fans had been speculating that Eminem (né Marshall Bruce Mathers III), 48, would drop Side B. This album includes guest features from fellow stars Dr. Dre, Ty Dolla $ign, DJ Premier and Skylar Gray. It's a compilation of 16-tracks, 13 full songs and three skits.

In true Eminem fashion, the lyricist — who recently celebrated 12 years of sobriety — addresses several issues of importance on his new album, ranging from the coronavirus pandemic to this year's protests that were in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. He also mentions American activist and former NFL star quarterback Colin Kaepernick and takes several jabs at convicted sex offenders Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby and accused sex offender R. Kelly.

These are some of the most noteworthy highlights from Eminem's latest — and arguably densest — album:

Courtesy Shady Records Eminem cover art

Eminem addresses the Black Lives Matter movement amid the coronavirus pandemic

The Grammy-winner references the COVID-19 pandemic numerous times throughout his tracks, while simultaneously supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. On the song "These Demons," Eminem raps, "This pandemic got us in a recession / We need to reopen America / Black people dying / They want equal rights / White people want to get haircuts."

The rapper apologizes to Rihanna after backing Chris Brown's actions in 2009 assault against the pop star

Eminem and Rihanna, 32, have been longtime collaborators through the years, even jointly landing the No. 1 spot on the Billboard rap singles chart in 2010 for their smash hit, "Love the Way You Lie." The dynamic duo are also one-time tour mates, after successfully completing their 2014 Monster tour.

But in 2019, a previously unreleased verse by Eminem was leaked, in which he was heard saying, "Of course I side with Chris Brown / I'd beat a bitch down too," Entertainment Weekly reports. (Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault and was sentenced to five years probation and community service following the 2009 altercation with then-girlfriend Rihanna.)

Kurt Krieger/Corbis via Getty; Kevin Mazur/Getty Eminem, Rihanna

Eminem's sentiments were shocking to many fans, as the pair had previously teamed up on several incredibly popular music projects and were considered friends. At the time, Eminem's rep Dennis Dennehy said in a statement, per EW, "After Eminem recorded it, he scrapped it and rewrote it."

This time around, Eminem acknowledges his past behavior on "Zeus." He rhymes about the controversial line: "Long as I re-promise to be honest / And wholeheartedly, [I give to] apologies, Rihanna / For that song that leaked / I'm sorry, Ri / It wasn't meant to cause you grief / Regardless, it was wrong of me."

Eminem highlights victims of police brutality and calls out several convicted and accused sex offenders

The award-winner sheds more light on the cases of several Black victims who have died at the hands of police, including Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, Laquan McDonald, and many more on his meaningful song, "Zeus." (In many of these cases, the officers involved in the killings have not faced legal consequences for their actions.)

In "Black Magic," Eminem goes on to mention Kaepernick, who in 2016 famously took a knee during the national anthem amid the ongoing racial tension plaguing the U.S. Raps the star, "I ain't gon' stand for that s– / like Kaep for the national anthem." He also namedrops some of the most famous convicted and accused sex offenders in the U.S., including Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly.

Eminem seemingly mentions Mariah Carey — again 

On "These Demons," Em appears to indirectly reference Mariah Carey. The two have a long history of poking fun at each other on their respective hit songs, including Carey's mega-hit single, "Obsessed." In the 2009 bop, which peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, she sings, "Why you so obsessed with me? Boy, I wanna know." Throughout the hilarious music video, an actor dressed as Eminem is parodied as Carey's stalker who vehemently follows her to major events and even appears at her photoshoots.

In Eminem's brief, near diss, he simply raps, "I got a question/ What rhymes with Pariah?" Stay tuned music listeners, Carey just might release a subtle response of her own.

RELATED: Eminem Celebrates 12 Years of Sobriety: 'Clean Dozen, in the Books!'

Eminem Celebrates 12 Years of Sobriety: 'Clean Dozen, in the Books!'

The star opened up about his near-fatal overdose on Revival, his ninth studio album that was released in December 2017

Did he threaten lame-duck Vice President Mike Pence?

Nope. But he did keep listeners on their toes with his smooth play on words, which showcase his complex lyricism skills. In his new bop "Gnat," Em raps: "Mic, pencil get killed," (which to some listeners could sound like he is referencing Mike Pence.) But, Eminem immediately follows the line with clarification that he wasn't being threatening at all. The verse continues: "If you're hypersensitive / I wasn't referencing the vice president, chill / I mean my penmanship at times, tends to get ill / Violence, but with skill / That's why I hints / What I write / Ends up with the mic and pencil / Gettin' killed."

Eminem lyrically warns other stars about 21st-century cancel culture

Through the years, the real Slim Shady has earned 15 Grammy awards. Still, he's been 'canceled' by the younger generation of music listeners many times. (Cancel culture involves social media users rallying against a particular star, typically after the targeted celeb has shared an opinion in which the general public does not agree.)

In "Zeus," Em warns the new generation of rap giants — namely Drake, Future and the Migos — that criticism by the public, aimed at tarnishing their music legacies, is likely inevitable. In the same song, he directly addresses Snoop Dogg, who was dismissive of Eminem's accomplishments in a Breakfast Club interview over the summer. Raps Eminem: "Last thing I need is Snoop doggin' me / Man, dog, you was like a damn God to me/ Man, not really, I had 'dog' backwards."

Kevin Winter/Getty Eminem

Music to Get Murdered By – Side Bis now available on all streaming platforms.