10 Artists Who Changed Their Problematic Song Lyrics


“Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language.”

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What she said about it later: “Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language. As a fat black woman in America, I’ve had many hurtful words used against me so I understand the power words can have (whether intentionally or in my case, unintentionally),” Lizzo said in a statement. “I’m proud to say there’s a new version of ‘GRRRLS’ with a lyric change. This is a result of me listening and taking action. As an influential artist I’m dedicated to being part of the change I’ve been waiting to see in the world.”

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What she said about it later: “Now, the way that I would say that and the way that I would feel that kind of pain is a lot different,” she told MTV in 2011.

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What they said about it later: “I’m a 26-year-old person. And yes, a proud feminist. Just maybe not a perfect one,” lead singer Hayley Williams told Track 7. “The thing that annoyed me was that I had already done so much soul -searching about it, years before anyone else had decided there was an issue. … I was a 17-year-old kid when I wrote the lyrics in question, and if I can somehow exemplify what it means to grow up, get information, and become any shade of ‘woke,’ then that’s A-OK with me.”

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What they said about it later: While the band never apologized for the song, they did rerelease it a year later with the new name and lyrics.

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What she said about it later: “I don’t like it. I don’t. I don’t sing it. I sing ‘Ultraviolence,’ but I don’t sing that line anymore. Having someone be aggressive in a relationship was the only relationship I knew, “she told Pitchfork in 2017.

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What they said about it later: “I share responsibility and offer my sincerest apologies for the pain this has caused. Individuals with autism have brilliant and creative minds, and their gifts should not be disparaged or discounted,” Drake wrote in a statement. “This was a learning lesson for both of us, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to try to right this wrong. J. Cole and I believe that it is the right, responsible, and respectful decision to remove the lyric from the song .”

J. Cole also issued an apology.

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What he said about it later: “It has come to my attention that lyrics from my contribution to a fellow artist’s song has deeply offended your family,” Lil Wayne wrote in an open letter to the Tills. “As a father myself, I cannot imagine the pain that your family has had to endure. […] I will not be performing the lyrics that contain that reference live and have removed them from my catalogue.”

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What he said about it later: For the 10-year anniversary of the Born This Way album, Lady Gaga hand-picked several LGBTQ artists to record their own versions of some of the songs. In his rerecording, Orville Peck took it upon himself to update some of the track’s poorly aged lyrics. He never publicly addressed the lyric change.

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What they said about it later: Because of its homophobic language, the 1985 song featuring Sting was banned from airplay on Canadian radio stations. The decision, however, was reversed in 2011. Former Dire Straits singer and lead guitarist Mark Knopfler has changed it when he performs it live. Dire Straits never publicly addressed the lyric change.


What he said about it later: Unaware of just how antisemitic his lyrics were, the King of Pop told Diane Sawyer in an interview that “it’s not antisemitic because I’m not a racist person.” Thankfully, Jackson later came to his senses and rerecorded the insensitive lyrics. Even so, the original lyrics still made their way into both of the song’s music videos — the Brazil version and the prison version — but have loud sound effects layered over the slurs.


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