Teen Arrested Over Eminem Lyrics: We Need To Talk About Hip Hop Lyrics (and Click-Bait)

Teen arrested after Instagram-ing Eminem lyrics

Somewhat misleading derivatives of the above headline shot across the internet today. And as it says, a teenage boy was arrested after posting columbine related Eminem lyrics on his instagram account. What none of these headlines say, is the fact that the boy was found to be in possession of multiple unregistered firearms as well as a bulletproof vest, and seemingly, although unproven as of this moment, was gearing up to commit a school massacre in the same vein as the columbine shootings. All of the articles do delve into this information once the nifty headline has caught your attention, but they all, just like this one, lead their story with a picture of the acclaimed, maligned, respected, rapper, Eminem.

Just about all of them also quote the Eminem lyrics from the boys account and the song I’m Back. So I’d better do the same.

I take seven kids from Columbine, stand ’em all in a line,
Add an AK-47, a revolver, a nine,
A MAC-11 and it oughta solve the problem of mine
And that’s a whole school of bullies shot up all at one time
Cause I’m just like shady and just as crazy as the world was over this whole Y2K thing

Now, why am I simply re-hashing the formulaic retread articles like above? We’re all guilty of looking for click-bait right? And that’s where the dilemma comes in. Obviously the story is related to Eminem, and leading with an angle about him is far more likely to reach a maximum viewership. But don’t articles like this just perpetuate the idiotic notion that rap lyrics in any way are to blame for people committing or potentially planning to commit violent acts? Not that they intend to, but it does read like that right? Or am I crazy?

Never mind that posting Eminem lyrics is now considered a terrorist threat. But moreover, are we looking at the idea that perhaps getting search warrants based off lyrics posted on an instagram account is inherently problematic? Look, my faith in humanity leads me to believe that is surely not the case, and that the police had far more evidence, but all of the articles covering the case certainly make it seem as if that was the main motive of the police investigation. And just because they appear to have been correct in this situation, doesn’t make that any less worrying.

For starters, it all seems likely to boil over into yet another useless debate about rap lyrics causing violence in teenagers. Even though, as is constantly stated, teen crime makes up a fraction of violent crime statistics. Somewhat similar to the do violent video games cause violence debate, haven’t we already been through all of this? Hell, we went through this with Eminem already! But we seem doomed to continue this argument forever. Especially with Tyler the Creator being banned from Australia and Action Bronson having shows cancelled due to gratuitous lyrics. Despite a million times over, artists and fans alike proclaiming that correlation, despite what un-researched dolts will tell you, does not equal causation. There is a mountain of research on the topic but for simplicity and comedic effect (see here.)

So while Eminem’s lyrics are at the forefront of this article, and the hundreds of others like it, I will at least try my best to avoid misleading any readers into thinking that rap lyrics have anything to do with causing violence. As a brief retort to the unsaid counterpoints, do some people who commit violence listen to rap? Yes. But wouldn’t it seem more likely that people with violent tendencies would seek out violent media to satiate their violent thoughts? I don’t know, maybe? Or maybe mental health, or socio-economic factors play a part in violent crime? Hmm, that sounds logical to me. A lot more logical than rap lyrics, and rappers brainwashing poor helpless teenagers into committing random acts of violence. Obviously the kids who commit these type of acts have a lot more going on than their record collection, and maybe focussing on violent media is being ignorant, oblivious, and a whole range of other adjectives related to generally being fucking stupid.

But either way, it looks like some good may have come out of this situation, with a shooting potentially being prevented. So in my books, Eminem is a hero. Keep making violent lyrics Slim, soon there will be no crime at all!

Maybe Eminem knows more about this than most considering he’s been through similar situations before with his music, so I’ll post these lyrics here, but not on my instagram account.

They say music can alter moods and talk to you
Well can it load a gun up for you , and cock it too
Well if it can, then the next time you assault a dude
Just tell the judge it was my fault and I’ll get sued

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