Meaning of “’97 Bonnie & Clyde” by Eminem

’97 Bonnie & Clyde is a rap song by rapper Eminem with lyrics that see the rapper rapping controversially about murdering his former wife Kimberly Anne Scott and proceeding to enlist the help of his unknowing accomplice, his young daughter Hailie Jade to dispose of the corpse in a lake. Hailie was only a little toddler then. Eminem wrote this song about Kim’s murder as a result of the anger and frustration he felt when Kim prevented him from seeing his daughter Hailie.

In a 1999 interview with Q magazine – shortly after Eminem and Kim got married for the first time, Eminem said he wrote the lyrics just so he could get back at Kim. He went on to explain that the song no longer meant anything to him and that he totally still loved Kim.

The song, which is a prequel to his 2000 song Kim, gets its title from the notorious American outlawed duo Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow, collectively remembered as Bonnie and Clyde.

Bonnie and Clyde

Facts about “’97 Bonnie & Clyde”

  • ’97 Bonnie and Clyde was written by Eminem and the Bass Brothers (Mark Bass and Jeff Bass).
  • Contrary to popular belief, Eminem and Kim weren’t married at the time the song was written. The couple got married for the first time in 1999, a year after the song was released.
  • Since its release till date, the song, whose lyrics are loaded with misogyny, has been heavily criticized for supporting and glorifying violence against women.
  • The song appeared on Eminem’s 1997 debut EP titled Slim Shady EP and on his 1999 major label debut album The Slim Shady LP. In the former album, the song was titled Just the Two of Us.
  • In 2014, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. recited a few lines from ’97 Bonnie and Clyde while putting up an argument for the need to protect free speech on social media in the famous case of Elonis Vs. United States, in which one Anthony Elonis from Pennsylvania posted threatening comments on Facebook about a number of people, including his ex-wife. Elonis was initially sentenced to serve 44 months in jail. However, after appealing to the Supreme Court, his conviction was reversed.

 

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