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White America

Eminem disavows old racist rap lyrics. He says the freestyle tape was made at least a decade ago, when he was young and foolish

Eminem | YOUTHFUL INDISCRETION Eminem says the lyrics were rapped by a ''stupid'' 16 year old
Image credit: Eminem: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images/NewsCom
YOUTHFUL INDISCRETION Eminem says the lyrics were rapped by a ''stupid'' 16 year old

For perhaps the first time, Eminem has apologized for his lyrics. On Tuesday, hip-hop magazine The Source released a tape of two rap tracks Eminem made at least a decade ago that contain racial slurs -- racism being about the only kind of bigotry he hadn't previously been accused of including in his lyrics. At the New York press conference, rapper and magazine co-owner Ray ''Benzino'' Scott cited the tape as proof of allegations he's been publishing for a year: that Eminem is a race-baiter whose success is the result of a media double standard that has let him get away with lyrics for which black artists would be held accountable.

Sample lyrics from the two tracks include such rhymes as ''All the girls I like to bone have big butts/ No they don't, 'cause I don't like that n----- sh--/ I'm just here to make a bigger hit'' and ''Blacks and whites, they sometimes mix/ But black girls only want your money, 'cause they're dumb chicks.'' A brief snippet of one tune is available online at The Source's website, and Benzino and co-owner David Mays said that they'd include a CD pressing of the Eminem recordings with February's issue of the magazine.

Benzino and Mays said that the future Slim Shady made the recordings in 1993, when he was 21, and that they were given to the magazine by ''three white hip-hop fans from Detroit who were peers of Eminem in the early '90s.'' Eminem, however, said in a statement that the tracks dated back to 1988, when he was 16, and he dismissed their release as part of what he's called (in past interviews and lyrics dissing Benzino) The Source's ongoing efforts to sell magazines and boost Benzino's rapping career by attacking him.

''Ray Benzino, Dave Mays and The Source have had a vendetta against me, Shady Records and our artists for a long time,'' Eminem said in his statement. ''The tape they played today was something I made out of anger, stupidity and frustration when I was a teenager. I'd just broken up with my girlfriend, who was African-American, and I reacted like the angry, stupid kid I was. I hope people will take it for the foolishness that it was, not for what somebody is trying to make it into today.''

Originally posted Nov 19, 2003