Eminem released his long-awaited 8th studio album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, earlier this week, creating a storm of controversy akin to the negative publicity he was handed following the release of his first two albums more than a decade ago. The bulk of this controversy comes from his choice of language, as he continues to dust his lyrics with toxic, homophobic sytax, prompting an outcry from many.

Think of this episode of South Park when Em says 'fag'

Despite re-shaping his image as a more family-friendly (well, as family friendly as Eminem could ever be) performer since 2000's The Marshall Mathers LP, going on to publicly support same sex marriage, befriending homosexuals, including Elton John and telling interviewers that he doesn't have a problem with gay people, Em has had to jump on the defensive once again. This is because, despite all the attempts to wash himself of this homophobia stigma, the Detroit rapper's lyrics are still regularly littered with rants that could easily been construed as being homophobic, in particular the album track 'Rap God.'

"I don't know how to say this without saying it how I've said it a million times. But that word, those kind of words, when I came up battle-rappin' or whatever, I never really equated those words [to actually mean 'homosexual']," the rapper recently told Rolling Stone. He continued, "It was more like calling someone a bitch or a punk or asshole. So that word was just thrown around so freely back then. It goes back to that battle, back and forth in my head, of wanting to feel free to say what I want to say, and then [worrying about] what may or may not affect people."

Throughout his career, the rapper has used different personas to rap through, his most famous being the Slim Shady persona, which he has long claimed was solely invented to annoy people. When asked whether his controversial lyrics are a byproduct of these types of personas, he explained, "I think people know my personal stance on things and the personas that I create in my music. And if someone doesn't understand that by now, I don't think there's anything I can do to change their mind about it."

The full interview appears in the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone, which arrives in stores on 22 November. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is out now.

Listen to Eminem's latest single 'The Monster' (featuring Rihanna)

Eminem live
The full interview is out later this month