Miley Cyrus says she was misunderstood. Cyrus has seemingly changed her tune about hip-hop, but in the aftermath of the backlash she received after her recent Billboard interview on the topic, the singer blamed the controversy on out of context quotes.
In the already-infamous interview, Cyrus revealed that her new album Malibu, due out May 11, was influenced by her pal, folk singer Melanie Safka, and she added that she loves Kendrick Lamar’s song “Humble” because it refers to something natural like women’s stretch marks instead of raunchy lyrics about male rappers’ body parts.
“I can’t listen to that anymore,” Cyrus said of the rap industry’s vulgar lyrics. “That’s what pushed me out of the hip-hop scene a little. It was too much ‘Lamborghini, got my Rolex, got a girl on my c—’—I am so not that.”
Miley was immediately slammed by hip-hop fans who accused her of using the genre to further her career during her Bangerz era.
One angry Twitter user called Cyrus out, writing “Miley Cyrus legit used the f**k outta black culture to reinvent her image and once again become relevant… now it’s not for her anymore.” Others accused Miley of pushing her newfound “hippie” agenda.
All the rappers who stood up for Miley Cyrus, caking like overzealous butlers, now must live w/ the fact she threw them under a bus.
— Ferrari Sheppard (@stopbeingfamous) May 6, 2017
.@MileyCyrus, sis, I really want you to stop saying you are over hip hop.
You NEVER did hip hop.
You had black people rap on your tracks.
— PrestonMitchum (@PrestonMitchum) May 5, 2017
no one cares that she's over it, she acted like Bangerz was the real her, but now the real her is country I guess and she's "growing".
— park chaeyoung (@clearlyiconic) May 4, 2017
Miley has been over hip hop ever since Nicki Minaj challenged her to a fight. Lmfao! She switched lanes and went back to what she knows.
— Brandy-Tennille (@BtSquared2) May 4, 2017
Cyrus later posted an explanation to Instagram, explaining that she respects all genres of music and that everyone should have a voice. Miley also pointed out that her comments about rap were just a small snippet of an interview that took hours.
“When articles are read it isn’t always considered that for hours I’ve spoken with a journalist about my life, where my heart is, my perspective at that time, and the next step in my career,” Miley wrote.
“Unfortunately only a portion of that interview makes it to print, & A lot of the time publications like to focus on the most sensationalized part of the conversation. So, to be clear I respect ALL artists who speak their truth and appreciate ALL genres of music (country, pop, alternative …. but in this particular interview I was asked about rap) I have always and will continue to love and celebrate hip hop as I’ve collaborated with some of the very best!”
Miley went on to explain that at this point in her life she is “expanding personally/musically and gravitating more towards uplifting, conscious rap.”
When articles are read it isn't always considered that for hours I've spoken with a journalist about my life , where my heart is, my perspective at that time, and the next step in my career. Unfortunately only a portion of that interview makes it to print, & A lot of the time publications like to focus on the most sensationalized part of the conversation. So, to be clear I respect ALL artists who speak their truth and appreciate ALL genres of music (country , pop , alternative …. but in this particular interview I was asked about rap) I have always and will continue to love and celebrate hip hop as I've collaborated with some of the very best! At this point in my life I am expanding personally/musically and gravitating more towards uplifting, conscious rap! As I get older I understand the effect music has on the world & Seeing where we are today I feel the younger generation needs to hear positive powerful lyrics! I am proud to be an artist with out borders and thankful for the opportunity to explore so many different styles/ sounds! I hope my words (sung or spoken) always encourage others to LOVE…. Laugh…. Live fully…. to be there for one another… to unify, and to fight for what's right (human , animal , or environmental ) Sending peace to all! Look forward to sharing my new tunes with you soon! – MC
In the Billboard interview, Miley acknowledged the fact that some people felt she was “taking advantage of black culture when he teamed up with hip-hop producer Mike Will Made-It for Bangerz and used black backup dancers at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards.
“That wasn’t true,” Cyrus said. “Those were the dancers I liked!”
Mike Will Made-it previously defended Miley’s rap authenticity in his own interview with Billboard.
“People told me that Miley’s ’23’ wasn’t hip-hop,” he said.
“Let me tell you, she went in and owned that track. She smoked more weed in one week than most rappers I know. That song was not some far-fetched thing she had to reach for. She was ill as hell. When people question me about whether something is hip-hop, I ask them, ‘Does it sound hard? Does it hit home? Is it raw and real?’ If it is, I did my job. And you can call it whatever you want.”
This is not the first time Miley Cyrus has said her interview comments have been misconstrued. In a 2015 interview with the New York Times, Miley slammed Nicki Minaj over her beef about the MTV Video Music Awards nominations. After Nicki said the VMA nominations being unfairly given to “slim,” white female artists like Taylor Swift., Cyrus slammed Minaj for making the nominations all about herself, saying, “What I read sounded very Nicki Minaj, which, if you know Nicki Minaj is not too kind. It’s not very polite…. You don’t have to start this pop star against pop star war.”
When Minaj actually won an award at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, the rapper used her acceptance speech time to call out Miley for her interview. While accepting the award for best hip-hop video for “Anaconda,” Minaj threw shade to Cyrus, who was serving as host of the annual awards show.
“You know who I want to thank tonight? My pastor,” Minaj said. “I love you so much. And now back to this b***h that had a lot to say about me the other day in the press. Miley, what’s good?”
— Nigeria Newsdesk (@NigeriaNewsdesk) September 1, 2015
Cyrus didn’t miss a beat when responding to the rapper. The camera quickly cut to the Miley, who said, “Hey, we’re all in this industry, we all do interviews and we all know how they manipulate s**t. Nicki, congratulations.”
With hip-hop off her radar, Miley Cyrus has gone back to her country roots with Malibu. Of the album, Miley’s dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, told Billboard, “This is Miley leaning into her roots more than I’ve ever heard.”
By the way, Miley Cyrus didn’t just call out rap music in the Billboard interview. Cyrus admitted she’s not into “granola” either.
“I don’t listen to Ed Sheeran and John Mayer and stuff,” Miley said.
You can see Miley Cyrus’ hip-hop era in the video for “23” below.
[Featured Image by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for iHeartMedia]