It’s been four whole days since the diabolically constructed controversy-generating machine that is Eminem’s Relapse leaked to the Web, and finally someone’s taken a bit of the abundant bait that Em is tossing at us all. Yes, America’s Got Talent host Nick Cannon has heard "Bagpipes from Baghdad," the Relapse track about him and his wife Mariah Carey, and he likes it about as much as you’d guess.
A sternly worded post this weekend on Cannon’s blog, which seems to have since disappeared (hmm), dismissed Em as being "still obsessed with my wife, the same female that wouldn’t let him get to second base from 8 years ago" and summed up Relapse as Eminem "rapping about when he used to be hot…Like when Al Bundy gloats about his High school football prime." Most explosively, Cannon accused Eminem of being racially insensitive: "I realized, that this so-called man has just disrespected and slanderized one of the world’s most significantly influential artists, one of the most notable BLACK females of our time, the incredibly cherished, globally loved and world-embraced woman of color, Mariah Carey…You sold your little records and made a little bit of change but now you are stepping in the wrong territory. You may have been able to rape and pillage our artform like an old school Caucasian con man and nobody said anything because we respected your talent, but now you’ve made the ultimate mistake."
Damn. I’m reluctant to side with Nick Cannon on anything, though I do give him points for admitting later in this blog post that he himself is "a corny, wack rapping, boy toy from Nickelodeon." But Cannon is right that "Bagpipes from Baghdad" is one of several Relapse tracks where Eminem crosses lines that don’t really need to be crossed — lines that he already crossed much more cleverly a decade ago. The funniest/saddest part is, this whole blow-up is probably more or less exactly what Eminem was hoping would happen when he dredged up his ancient alleged fling with Mariah on Relapse. So whose side are you on in this debate? Do you sympathize with Cannon’s spousal loyalty, or do you think he should learn to laugh at Eminem’s out-of-bounds jokes? And — gulp — what do you think of comparing Em to "an old school Caucasian con man"?
UPDATE: Read EW’s interview with Cannon about the whole flap here.
addCredit(“Cannon: Scott Harrison/Retna Ltd”)