Top 10 Eminem Songs
In 1999, Eminem came out swinging at anyone too close to the top. He annoyed everyone from Christina Aguilera to boy band 'N Sync. The playful teasing by the Detroit native rubbed many the wrong way but underneath the jabs was an incomparable rapper. It may have seemed like Em was just here for the chuckles but he came to hip-hop with one goal in mind: to become the best to hold a mic. Based on his debut album, 'The Slim Shady LP,' hip-hop heads watched him go from wisecracking to maniacal and cryptic within a few bars, all while keeping to the emcee basics. He's simultaneously been MTV's unpredictable darling and the bane of Middle American moms' existence.
Em gave new energy to rap music. After more than a decade in the public eye, the Shady Records head can still draw fans in with his slick flows and clever wordplay. Whether he spits alongside Slaughterhouse or as one-half of Bad Meets Evil, Eminem pushes himself as if he's still battling unknowns in seedy Detroit clubs. As long as he keeps rapping, we'll keep listening, just to see where he lands amongst his peers. Here, TheDrop.fm counts down the top Eminem songs since he hit the scene in '99.
When Eminem released his debut single 'My Name Is,' many thought he was out of his mind. The Detroit native name-dropped everyone from Pamela Anderson to his own mother and insulted them all. He built a buzz for himself by poking fun at everyone else over this Dr. Dre-produced beat. Not bad for a newcomer. Em proved that he could be hilariously uncouth and obnoxious while yielding a monstrous rap flow.
Eminem's 'Guilty Conscience' proved that the Aftermath emcee had no boundaries when building song content. Em could literally write a rap about anything. Here, he and Dr. Dre play against each other in a three-part story about three men faced with life-altering situations. Dre plays the level-headed angel on one shoulder and Slim Shady plays the mischievous devil on the other. Perhaps the best part of the song is towards the very end when Em taunts Dre into seeing things his way. They have a clever back-and-forth while following the rhyme scheme the whole time.
Fans have seen how quickly Eminem can go from zero to 60 in a song, but nothing illustrates that fact better than 'Kim,' an album cut from 'The Marshall Mathers LP.' At the start of his career, he and his then-spouse had been going through tumultuous times, perhaps made worse by his affinity to air their dirty laundry on wax. Nonetheless, it's always intriguing to hear him speak on what moves him emotionally, even if it's a bit scary. He eases into the track coolly enough, cooing at his daughter but before a full minute passes, he ends up tearful, screaming threats at Kim. Equally shocking and lyrically complex, 'Kim' pulls the listener in for the entire ride.
'Drug Ballad' was Em's "love song." The mid-tempo track is clearly dedicated to his addiction to uppers, downers and everything in between. He speaks on everything from huffing glue as a kid to the unsavory results of growing older and being high at a party. "Ecstasy got me standing next to you / Getting sentimental as f--- spillin' guts to you / We just met, but I think I'm in love with you / But you're on it too, so you tell me you love me too / Wake up in the morning like, 'Yo, what the f--- we do?'" he raps.
There's something intensely ominous about hearing Eminem over a piano loop and the occasional chime of a bell. With 'The Way I Am,' the Detroit emcee demonstrated that he could be just as amazing behind the boards. The track was his first production effort and it was an instant hit, as he relayed the details surrounding the breakout success of 'My Name Is' and the pressure from all directions to continue winning at impossible levels.
Every battle rapper can't make great songs, and even less of them can actually tell detailed stories in them. Marshall Mathers has made a career of painting clear pictures of whatever scene he wants to portray on any track. 'Stan' is one of the most bone-chilling songs Em has penned and he was just on his second album. He takes on the point of view of one of his biggest fans, gradually growing frustrated at the rapper not responding to his fan mail. Stan then kills himself and his girlfriend. The tragedy sobers up Em at the end of the track, as he realizes that the kid he's finally replying to is the same one he saw on the news.
This track finds Em returning to the playful roots he'd started with back in 1999. The bass-heavy production featured the rapper bouncing through several topics per verse, from his issues with the FCC to his beef with Moby. His spitfire flow still intact, he breezes through bars, even poking fun at himself. "Though I'm not the first king of controversy / I am the worst thing since Elvis Presley, to do Black Music so selfishly / And use it to get myself wealthy (Hey) / There's a concept that works / 20 million other white rappers emerge / But no matter how many fish in the sea it'd be so empty without me," he rhymes.
'Cleanin' Out My Closet' was a fan favorite from 'The Eminem Show.' By this time, Em had started touching the studio equipment even more and he was churning out hits. This song earned him a platinum plaque. But outside of the commercial success, it was clear that the emcee wanted to dedicate a song to his personal skeletons. The family business that could make anyone cringe is what he reveled in as if rapping about it all is simply therapy. There's a verse dedicated to each detractor including his critics, his absent father and his pill-popping mother.
On occasion, Eminem will reconnect with Dr. Dre musically and create magic. 'Just Lose It' went platinum twice, and it ended up landing high on the Billboard charts. Arguably, the track is his simplest rhyme but was still a pretty good one. An obvious party banger, Em takes it easy on this one, joking around to himself, as Dre pops in once every few bars to call him "crazy." Take a look at the accompanying video to witness some of Slim Shady's hilariously crazy antics.
When Eminem dropped the 'Recovery' LP, he seemed much more mature than he was when he was going through his very public divorce from Kim Mathers a decade ago. He's still just as deliberate with his words but with 'Love the Way You Lie,' the emcee acknowledges his personal issues with anger but seems remorseful. Bringing Rihanna in for the hook was a brilliant move on his part, a sort of nudge to listeners that each of them experienced domestic violence from either side of the looking glass.