On October 11, Paul Joseph Watson, Infowars editor-at-large and a self-described “nativist polemicist” with the Twitter handle @PrisonPlanet tweeted, “Eminem was only politically incorrect when it was safe to be. Now he’s a middle-aged sellout pussy.”
What Watson, of course, is referring to is Eminem’s now-viral freestyle cypher called “The Storm”. In it, the white male rapper from Detroit, Michigan spits scathing rhymes like, “The fact we’re not afraid of Trump/Fucking walkin’ on egg shells, I came to stomp/That’s why he keeps screamin’ ‘Drain the swamp’/’Cause he’s in quicksand/It’s like we take a step forwards, then backwards/But this is his form of distraction/Plus, he gets an enormous reaction/When he attacks the NFL so we focus on that/Instead of talking Puerto Rico or gun reform for Nevada.”
On Twitter, it’s easy to see the storm brewing for many Trump supporters who were also Eminem fans. “I used to like Eminem’s music but if you have to trash the President to stay relevant, I’m done! BYE FELICIA BYE!” the user Deplorable CKC Tweeted. “I was a fan of Eminem. He drew a line in the sand. I’m out. #MAGA”, another former-fan said.
One fan even filmed himself looking down, feeling like he needed to choose between his “Make America Great Again” hat and a stack of Eminem CDs, only to finally decide to throw the stack out. “Thanks #Eminem for deciding for me! #butthurt #WhyCantILoveYouBoth”? the caption reads.
Thanks #Eminem for deciding for me!
— This Information (@ThisInformed) October 11, 2017
For many, particularly those familiar with Eminem’s fan base (as Think Progress reported, Eminem’s the most popular musical artist in states known for their deep ties to alt-right and white supremacist movements, like Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming) these reactions came as no surprise. In fact, leftists and mainstream users seemed to be egging them on, relishing the potential for catching a Trump supporter in a fit of anger. Late night hosts mocked themselves and dejected Eminem fans with their own personal “ultimatums,” while liberal Twitter users compared “talking to anyone that supports Trump” to “talking to a balloon. Full of hot air and no substance.”
And while many fans on Twitter were angry and upset with Em (just see Billboard’s compilation here), many, particularly on Reddit, weren’t.
On Wednesday, the day after the freestyle, user iReactionV2 started a subreddit called “Huge Eminem Fan and a Trump Supporter”. “I watched the cypher and obviously heard the ending yet I will still listen to Eminem’s music because he is incredibly talented and I can’t wait to hear what he comes out with next. I’m just curious if there is anyone else who falls in this category or those who don’t. What are your thoughts about his cypher and his opinions,” he wrote in the summary.
Comments flooded in—at first, most trying to lambast the user for being an Eminem fan, telling him the rapper is going to “shit on people like you and your dear leader relentlessly on the next album, and I can’t fucking wait” or that “they”, referring to Trump supporters, “always do this this. They purposely try to seem level headed in certain situations so that you don’t get combative with them.”
But as conversations went on, the consensus seemed to grow: if you’re an Eminem fan and know the kind of artist he is, you know he does not hold back, and that’s precisely why you love him. “So you should change your opinion because your favorite artist thinks a different way? Or should you just stop listening because they think differently? Perhaps you hear a different opinion and research for yourself and maybe change your opinion…,” iReactionV2 wrote.
On another subrredit thread, “Eminem’s Trump Blast proves that he doesn’t make music for the masses, but for himself,” the argument initially from user DarkRelik was that Trump will lose fans and that there is “no doubt that his next album sales will not be as high.” When other fans argued that he “gained more fans than he lost” and the 60% Trump disapproval rating means Eminem just positioned himself for a mainstream comeback, Eminem fans agreed. “People are gonna be curious as to what he has to say about Trump on the album. Hope we get another 1 mil sales week,” one user wrote, while another said, “Not saying I want 40 more Trump bashing songs but from another perspective I’m seeing that this is an unapologetic Em. Gotta take it or leave it.”
But it seems Reddit user ShadyRedDevil said it best. “After an initial mixed reaction to the freestyle, I’ve listened to it a few more times,” he wrote. “Man, this shit is awesome.”
Are Eminem’s Conservative Fans Ready to Accept That ‘Line in the Sand’? Not So Fast – Billboard