Thea Lim at Racialicious started an open thread to revisit this spring’s feud between Eminem, Mariah Carey, and her husband Nick Cannon.
The dispute began with a leaked track from Eminem’s upcoming album called “Bagpipes from Baghdad,” in which Eminem dissed on Mariah (calling her a “cunt” and a “whore”) and her husband Nick Cannon. And while one Racialicious commenter described the song as “probably the most bizarre, nonsensical song on the entire CD, and that’s including the one where he sings about his stepdad raping him and the one where Christopher Reeve comes back from the dead to challenge him to a breakdancing match,” Cannon responded on his own blog calling Eminem out not just for insulting his wife, but for being a white man publicly insulting a woman of color, writing “I thought we got passed the days when white men could spew vulgar obscenities at our beautiful queens and get away with it.” (The post was taken down but you can read the full–and at times problematic–post here).
Mariah’s response was the single “Obsessed,” where she dresses in drag as a Mimi-obsessed stalker, lightly referencing Eminem (and Mean Girls). (Tangentially, the video reminded me of the Buffy vs. Edward remix–funny at the onset but then you start to wonder why we don’t question seemingly socially-sanctioned creepy behavior more).
Image via JustJared.com
While Eminem later claimed Nick Cannon misinterpreted the song (“What I actually meant to say is, I wish them the best”) Mariah has a bit more authority when she ended up claiming the video wasn’t a response to Eminem (“I look like my brother and my cousin Chris.”) The fact that both Eminem and Mariah backed away from any open conflict seemed to indicate it was another passing celebrity feud.
But there’s not room for speculation on Eminem’s new single, “The Warning,” a three-and-a-half minute diatribe against the couple–specifically Mariah. Thea’s description of the song as “extremely violent and misogynist” and “frighteningly graphic and seething” are spot-on–more than your average emcee dissing on a rival rapper (as some are dismissing the whole conflict), Eminem graphically describes sex with the pop diva, as well as hinting at alcoholism and mental instability. (You can listen to the song in its entirety and follow along with the lyrics here, but do so only if you’re ready to get offended).
If this was a feud between, say, two white dudes, would the massive difference in response also go unnoted? Are race and gender playing into how this feud is being reported? Is MC getting no credit for being lighthearted while Eminem threatens physical violence because she’s a woman of colour?
At least one commenter from Hip Hop DX brought up gender in response…
I think it’s funny how eminem is the one rapping and dissing mariah carey (a girl) and ur calling nick a faggot.I bet [Eminem] wouldn’t rap about Jay-Z or someone like that becaused he know his ass would get it!! So he goes for mariah! that’s some pussy shit right there…
Commenters on MTV.com also bring up the fact that Eminem spends to much time dissing on female pop stars (“he has no respect 4 women. when’s da last time he picked a fight wit a man…oh neva.”).
In addition, most of the coverage of the first half of the feud almost seemed to center around just Eminem and Nick Cannon. Was it because Nick was more outspoken on the issue by making blog and Twitter posts in response? Or is Mariah getting phased out as a real contender in the debate, even though she (and her body and her reputation) is at the center of the whole ordeal? What do you think?