Eminem has entered the debate about face masks in a collaboration with Kid Cudi, tackling an issue that is the subject of fierce disagreement in the US and UK.
The single, The Adventures of Moon Man and Slim Shady, is the first time the two rappers have joined forces. They reflect on rehab and recovery as well as current events including police brutality and the coronavirus pandemic.
On the song, Eminem raps: “Bunch of halfwits up in office. Half of us walking around like a zombie apocalypse. Other half are just pissed off and don’t want to wear a mask and they’re just scoffin’. And that’s how you end up catchin’ the shit off ’em.
“I just used the same basket as you shoppin’, now I’m in a fuckin’ casket from you coughin’.”
Eminem’s lines are a long way from any that the Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, would ever use but they articulate similar sentiments. It became compulsory from Friday in Scotland for people to wear face coverings in shops because, Sturgeon said, “we usually don’t know the people we have been in contact with”.
Downing Street has faced questions about why more cabinet ministers are not wearing masks. There have been no public sightings of Boris Johnson wearing a face covering, while the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, was pictured serving food to customers at Wagamama with nothing on his face but a grin.
The president of the Royal Society, Venki Ramakrishnan, said on Monday that refusing to wear a mask in indoor public settings should become as socially unacceptable as drink-driving or not wearing a seatbelt.
The collaboration between Eminem and Kid Cudi was announced on Twitter on Wednesday by Kid Cudi’s daughter, Vada.
The track also refers to the deaths of George Floyd, who was killed by a white police officer who knelt on his neck for nine minutes, and Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot and killed in February while out jogging.
“Prayers to George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. How the fuck is it that so many cops are dirty? Stop, man, please officer, I’m sorry/But I can’t breathe when I got you on top of me/Your goddamn knee’s on my carotid artery.”