Eminem has defended his use of the word "faggot" on his new album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2.
During an interview with Rolling Stone, the US rapper insisted he has "no issue" with gay, straight or transgender people and did not consider the term to be homophobic.
"I don't know how to say this without saying it how I've said it a million times," he told the publication.
"But that word, those kind of words, when I came up battle-rappin', I never really equated those words."
During the first verse of his track Rap God, Eminem raps: "I'll still be able to break a motherf***in' table over the back of a couple of faggots and crack it in half."
He goes on: "Little gay-looking boy / So gay I can barely say it with a straight face-looking boy / You witnessing massacre like you watching a church gathering taking place-looking boy / 'Oy vey, that boy's gay,' that's all they say looking-boy / You take a thumbs up, pat on the back, the way you go from your label every day-looking boy."
He justified his lyrics by saying: "It was more like calling someone a bitch or a punk or a**hole. 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.
"And, not saying it's wrong or it's right, but at this point in my career - man, I say so much s**t that's tongue-in-cheek. I poke fun at other people, myself. But the real me sitting here right now talking to you has no issues with gay, straight, transgender, at all."
The hip-hop star, who recently helped Rihanna secure her record-breaking seventh UK No 1 with their collaborative track, Monster, went on to confess that although gay rights had changed, his way of making music had not.
He said: "I'm glad we live in a time where it's really starting to feel like people can live their lives and express themselves. And I don't know how else to say this, I still look at myself the same way that I did when I was battling and broke."
"Well, look, I've been doing this s**t for, what, 14 years now? And 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."