Eminem’s fiercest political moments

Slim Shady has had plenty to say about Trump, Clinton, Obama and Bush

Eminem has never been one to mince his words. And while his output’s been less prolific in recent years, the Detroit rapper still chooses his moments when it comes to turning heads – especially when it comes to politics. On October 10, he told fans, “You’re going to want to tune into” last night’s BET Awards. And so it proved, when he delivered one of his most upfront freestyles ever, blasting the “racist” Donald Trump in a series of brash, take-no-prisoners lines. His political stance was so clear, in fact, that he told Republican fans it was a choice between him or the POTUS. “Any fan of mine who’s a supporter of his, I’m drawing in the sand a line, you’re either for or against,” he raps. This isn’t the first time he’s been so candid about his views, though. Here’s how Eminem has tackled politics over the years:

2002: He tears the U.S. Constitution to shreds

Taken from 2002’s ‘The Eminem Show’, ‘White America’ directly addresses Eminem’s never-ending fight against censorship. After rising to fame, huge sections of an anti-rap brigade tried to shut him down. He was even subject to a Congressional hearing. This song is the first time he directly took on government (“I musta struck a chord with somebody up in the office / ‘Cause Congress keep tellin’ me I ain’t causin’ nothin’ but problems”) but its accompanying video goes further. A cartoon version of Slim Shady rips up the U.S. constitution, all but confirming his place as an enemy of The Man. Ironically, you can watch a censored version of the video above.

2004: He goes after George W. Bush

Follow-up to ‘The Eminem Show’, 2004’s ‘Encore’, arrived just in time for George W. Bush’s second term – landing in the wake of 9/11 and Bush’s subsequent rights-abusing Patriot Act. The Detroit rapper’s anti-Iraq War stance wasn’t exactly wrapped in cotton wool. “Let the president answer on higher anarchy / Strap him with an AK-47, let him go fight his own war,” he rapped. Bush might have seemed like an easy target at the time, but Eminem already ran into trouble in 2003, when an unreleased song found itself the subject of a Secret Service investigation. The line “I don’t rap for dead presidents, I’d rather see the president dead,” was perceived as a potential threat, although the investigation didn’t amount to anything.

2012: Slim Shady backs Obama

Eminem was never the most vocal supporter of Barack Obama – probably because he didn’t see it as his place – but in a 2012 interview, he confirmed he’d voted for the President, and planned to do so twice. “Obama’s great. Obama is giving people hope. Not to sound too political… He seems like he’s a great fucking guy. He’s got a great head on his shoulders. He speaks with authority and confidence. He’s got an aura about him that’s just incredible. I’d never followed an election like [2008] like I did. He’s given us a sense of hope.” Obama returned the favour in 2014, when he reportedly played ‘Lose Yourself’ to psyche himself up for a Democratic National Convention speech. 

2015: He sends for Trump and Clinton

Unimpressed by either of 2016’s Democrat and Republican frontrunners, Eminem laid down sharp critiques of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. On a Sway in the Morning freestyle, he declares himself “fucked worse” than the future President, while dissing Clinton’s hacked emails controversy (“I promise to wipe my server clean if you face subpoenas).”

2016: He predicts Trump’s ascent

On the controversy-stamped ‘Campaign Speech’, a loose-footed freestyle, he sees a terrifying future ahead. Calling the future President a “fuckin’ loose cannon who’s blunt with his hand on the button,” he notes the danger in electing someone “who doesn’t have to answer to no one.” The track itself comes across as confused, reflecting the pre-election mania that defined 2016.

2017: He starts a ‘Fuck Trump’ chant at Reading Festival

This year’s Reading & Leeds headline sets weren’t televised, but Eminem still used the platform to make a big political statement. Sporting a T-shirt with the slogan “FACK TRUMP”, he addressed the Reading crowd directly. “I’m not about to stand up here and use this fuckin’ stage for some kind of a platform to be all political and shit, and I don’t want to cause any controversy so I won’t say no names,” he began, before doing exactly that, “but this motherfucker Donald Trump I can’t stand.”