Manchester mayor Andy Burnham condemns Eminem for ‘unnecessarily hurtful’ Ariana Grande bombing lyrics

Ellie Harrison

Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has condemned an Eminem lyric that appears to make light of the Manchester bombing attack.

The rapper released a surprise album, Music to be Murdered By, on Friday 17 January. One of the tracks on the new record, “Unaccommodating”, includes the lyric: “I’m contemplating yelling ‘bombs away’ on the game like I’m outside an Ariana Grande concert.”

The line is followed by the sound of an explosion and Eminem continues to make references to suicide attacks and terrorism.

Eminem was referencing the attack on 22 May 2017, when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena, killing 23 people and injuring hundreds.

In a statement to BBC News, Burnham said: "This is unnecessarily hurtful and deeply disrespectful to the families and all those affected."

Figen Murray, whose son Martyn Hett died in the attack, criticised the rapper’s new album, too.

"Feels like he is piggybacking on the fame of Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber and says distasteful things about other celebrities," she wrote on Twitter.

"Not clever. Totally pointless. And before all Eminem fans pounce on me, I am not interested and will not engage."

Grande’s fans also took to social media to call out the rapper.

Eminem previously pledged his support to victims of the bombing, urging his fans to donate money to families whose loved ones had died in the attack.

Music to be Murdered By is Eminem’s 11th studio album and his first since 2018’s Kamikaze. It is also the rapper’s third consecutive “surprise” album, and features collaborations with Anderson .Paak, Skylar Grey, Ed Sheeran, and the late rapper Juice Wrld.

The album was awarded two stars by The Independent’s critic Roisin O’Connor, who said its “bitter diatribes show he is incapable of moving on”.