I have been a longtime fan of Eminem since I’d say about 5th grade. The Eminem Show was one of the first albums I ever bought and I listened to it from start to end nonstop. I was pretty badass for being that guy in my 5 person friend group who had a record with swears on it.
As time passed I ranked Mathers’ albums, listened to his emotions and his quirks and play on words and overall genius. Each time he releases a new album, I find myself adding a song or three amongst my favorites. So for all of you wondering which songs stuck out for me, I will rank them from 10 to 1, provide the track name and the record it’s from, a brief detail as to why, and then an embedded URL to the song. So without further adieu, my top 10 Eminem songs.
10. My Dad’s Gone Crazy; The Eminem Show
My favorite part about this song is the fact that Mathers’ daughter, Hailie, is featured on the track during the chorus and various points. This track focuses on how Eminem is focused on the fact that his ways will never change, and he won’t stop saying the words he says or doing the things he does. His passion for rap has sent him into a descent to insanity but it’s what Marshall Mathers wants. Foul tone and terrible words surround this song but you can’t help but see his point and enjoy his play on words.
9. When I’m Gone; Curtain Call: The Hits
Released on his greatest hits album as a new single, “When I’m Gone” is a very emotional Eminem song. Marshall goes in depth about his struggle to balance family and work. He talks about the unbalance in his family and how he cannot be there for his daughter and ex-wife, Kim. You hear Mathers’ soul behind each of these words, such as literally giving an arm for his daughter.
8. Cleanin’ Out My Closet; The Eminem Show
“Cleanin’ Out My Closet” covers a lot of ground in three verses. The first verse, he delves into the activism and discrimination of his lyrics and how nobody understands why he says what he says; but it comes back to his background. The second verse he then talks about his father leaving him when he was an infant and how he would never think twice about doing that to his own daughter. The end of the verse, Eminem retells the story of how he was arrested for allegedly pistol whipping a bouncer, which is a recurring theme of the whole Eminem Show record. Finally the third verse is an ode to Mathers’ mother and how he does not, “Diss her just to get recognition.” He then goes on to allege her of abusing herself with medicinal drugs and causing him Münchausen syndrome by proxy. It’s one of my favorite tracks on The Eminem Show and really gives you an insight to the background of Marshall Mathers and why he is who he is.
7. No Love (feat. Lil Wayne); Recovery
The song begins with a thirty second prelude, sampling Hadaway’s hit single from the 90s, “No Love.” Then Lil Wayne proceeds to rap and his words are good but nothing to write home about. Eminem starts the chorus with Hadaway sampled once again. Then Em’s verse begins. This is hands down one of the greatest verses Eminem has ever spit. Every time you think it’s over, the rap just keeps going and he gets faster and faster. It’s verse that shows pride and how Marshall is alive now more than he ever has been. He makes it apparent that he is above all the competition and isn’t afraid to rub it in some of their faces. Lil Wayne tries to chime in a little bit throughout Eminem’s verse, but you can’t help but want to tell him to shut up and let MM rap.
6. W.T.P.; Recovery
This is one of the more fun Eminem songs from his discography (I have no idea if, “More fun,” is proper grammar there, I hope so). The acronym stands for White Trash Party as stated in the chorus of the song. In the opening verse Eminem flat out states that he’s a boss and he wants to get that across. This is my favorite side of Marshall Mathers. Not as serious as “No Love” or emotional as songs to come on this list, it’s a lighter rhythmic frame and it shows traces of his early records. Probably my favorite song on this album. Not to mention it’s playing in the background during Eminem’s cameo on Entourage, which is arguably one of the greatest cameos in television/film history.
5. Bad Guy; Marshall Mathers LP 2
This is the opening song to Eminem’s newest album that came out less than a month ago. It’s also the longest, and in my opinion the best song on the entire record. “Bad Guy” is the sequel to “Stan,” which is arguably the best song on the original Marshall Mathers LP. It tells the story of Stan’s younger brother, Matthew Mitchell, taking revenge for his brother’s death and how he blames Eminem for it because Em didn’t get back to him (Stan) in regards to the letters he was sending. The song tells a good story but it’s more angry, as opposed to “Stan,” which is more emotionally gripping. Then the outro comes at the end. The final two minutes of this song are nothing short of jaw dropping. It is what made this song my favorite on Mathers’ new record and it is why it immediately made it into my top 5. He makes it sound like this may be his last album and he’s just putting all the cards on the table. And who knows, it may be! The guy over 40!
4. Mockingbird; Encore
Much like “When I’m Gone,” Eminem focuses on the struggle between his career and his family. He recounts his relationship with his wife and daughters and touched on his divorce and rise to fame. Mockingbird is a cut dry example of Eminem’s ability to tell stories through lyric. You see it here, you see it in “Bad Guy,” and other songs as well. the lyrics are personal and undisguised. The emotional aspect of the song is heightened even more with the melodic, “Hush Little Baby” tune in the back throughout the song.
3. Kim; The Marshall Mathers LP
Terrifying. That is the word to use to describe this song. Eminem and Kimberly Anne Scott have always had an on and off relationship. The two had their daughter, Hailie in 1995, married in 1999, divorced in 2001, re-married in 2006, and then divorced again that same year. “Kim” is undoubtedly the angriest Eminem has ever been. The song starts with Mathers talking softly to his daughter, an infant at the time, and then immediately bursting into a fit of rage at Kim. In the song he has just murdered Kim’s husband and stepson, and now he plans to kill her too. Whenever I am just really pissed off about somebody or someone, this is the first song to go on. It actually gets uncomfortable to listen to sometimes and I love that. One girl who I showed this song to practically broke down and cried upon a first listen. Maybe I like it so much because I’m an angry human being. Regardless, it is angry, scary, twisted, and yet so so good.
2. Stan; The Marshall Mathers LP
Considered the best song on The Marshall Mathers LP, and the greatest Eminem song of all time, Mathers portrays a longtime Eminem fan named Stan Mitchell who keeps writing him fan mail. A modified break from Dido’s “Thank You” is used as the base sample for the chorus. Stan makes up excuses for himself as to why Em hasn’t written him back yet in the first letter (each verse pertains to a different letter) and says his girlfriend is pregnant and they wanna name the baby Bonnie if its a girl after Marshall’s uncle Ronnie. Eventually Stan gets angrier and ends up killing his pregnant wife and himself by driving off a bridge. Mathers finally writes back to Stan with all the sincerity he can only to realize towards the end of the letter that he read about Stan dying recently. The song is the perfect picture of not knowing what you have until it’s gone. Emotions run deep in this song. At first you want to blame Eminem for everything; but when Em writes his letter, you cannot help but sympathize for him. Incredible songwriting and undoubtedly the best example of Mathers’ ability to tell story through lyrics. Nothing is more chilling than in the chorus when Dido sings, “It reminds me that it’s not so bad, it’s not so bad.”
1. Without Me; The Eminem Show
There are probably a lot of people yelling at me right now, saying I’m an idiot for not putting “Stan” as my number one. Well like I said, The Eminem Show was my first Eminem album I listened to. Well “Without Me” was the VERY FIRST Eminem song I ever listened to and it’s what made me fall in love with him as a rapper. the whole album is just Mathers having fun after the emotional rollercoaster that is The Marshall Mathers LP. Not to knock down MMLP, IT’S A FANTASTIC RECORD. I just love the enthusiasm brought by The Eminem Show and “Without Me” specifically. The song was Eminem’s big return after the success of MMLP and is an intended sequel to “The Real Slim Shady.”The song mocks a number of Eminem’s critics, including then-Vice-President Dick Cheney (including his recurring heart problems) and his wife Lynne, the FCC and MTV, Chris Kirkpatrick, Limp Bizkit and Moby. He eve n compares himself to Elvis Presley, for being white in a predominantly black art form. From the opening lyrics, “Two trailer park girls go round the outside,” to the saxophone riff, the song always puts a smile on my face and it’s the fun loving Marshall Mathers that I have come to know and love.
If you’re still here, I hope you enjoyed this post and feel free to contact me and I’ll give you insight on more Eminem songs I love.