And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week

CMU Beef Of The Week #212: The Queen v Eminem

By | Published on Friday 27 June 2014


So it’s official, whilst Her Maj was rather generous to the music community with her annual round of birthday honours earlier this month, sometimes Queen Liz has to put her foot down when it comes to pandering to the pop fraternity. And having that cheeky potty-mouthed rap boy Eminem shouting his cheeky potty-mouthed rap all over the play-park next to her main London pad, that is a step too far.

So yes, the Queen vetoed plans for Slim Shady to play in Hyde Park this summer. Well, technically the Royal Parks organisation vetoed plans for Eminem to headline AEG Live’s British Summer Time festival this year, citing a requirement to protect the ears of Hyde Park’s users and neighbours. But what neighbour matters more than our glorious head of state, with Buck House just around the corner?

That Royal Parks bosses had vetoed a BST gig for Eminem was rumoured when the rapper announced his Wembley dates last month, but the whole affair has been confirmed via a Freedom Of Information request filed by the Daily Mirror, which has now seen correspondence between AEG, the Royal Parks organisation, and even the offices of Boris Johnson, who was asked to intervene.

In one email discussing AEG’s proposed line-up, Royal Parks CEO Linda Lennon wrote: “This artist flagged risks across the board. In particular in respect of our public reputation. The nature of any act with potential for lyrics to be deemed offensive and/or unsuitable language being audible within the park as a whole, let alone the surrounding residential areas, is unacceptable”.

Of course, with Pete Doherty and Ozzy Osbourne on the BST bill this year, the festival isn’t without stars who have courted some controversy back in the day, though it does seem to be Eminem’s lyrics that have concerned Lennon. Maybe it’s the misogyny and homophobia the rapper has been accused of including in his raps over the years. Or maybe just the swear words.

AEG’s Jim King countered Lennon’s letter by noting that “only a very small amount of [Eminem’s] repertoire has been deemed by some commentators to be controversial. Claims of homophobia are consistently denied. [And] I don’t want to split hairs but I do question how easy it is for any offensive lyrics to be heard and actually understood outside of our event site”.

But the Royal Parks had spoken. I mean, little Prince George, with his super-human hearing, could be having a little play in the Buck House gardens, resulting in our future king’s first words being “Shady will fucking kill you”.

There was a glimmer of hope in the BST camp that London mayor Boris Johnson might stick up for Slim Shady and rescue the day. Though his chief of staff responded to a request for intervention as follows: “Until receipt of both emails I had no knowledge of Eminem and his style of music and still do not”.

Still, while the British establishment may be refusing to embrace Shady and all his offensive raps, Eminem himself seems quite pleased with the snub. Responding to the rumours last month he said: “I heard that I wasn’t going to be approved to play in Hyde Park and it made me even more excited to play in London this summer. The easiest way to get me to do something is to tell me I can’t do it. Thanks to the Royal Parks for making it all possible… for Wembley”.

But don’t be fooled by that happy talk at all Maam. I’ve heard it said that “Shady will fucking kill you”. I’d send him to the Tower forthwith.