Eminem's stellar songwriting is just one part of what makes him one of the greatest emcees of our time. His flow is one of the best in the game. And his animated delivery forces you to pay attention. Whether he's dissing Mariah Carey or doting on his daughter, Eminem always seems to find the right combination of words and music. His catalog is bursting with such moments of brilliance. Here are Eminem's 10 best songs of all time.
Taking a page from Aerosmith's songbook, Eminem creates a sprawling eye-opener about the hazards of monkey-see-monkey-do. Over the backdrop of Joe Perry's piercing guitar strokes, Em quips: "They say music can alter moods and talk to you./Well can it load a gun up for you and cock it too?/Well if it can, and the next time you assault a dude,/ Just tell the judge it was my fault, and I'll get sued."
Having enraged everyone, including his (now estranged) wife and his mom, you would least expect Eminem to have a soft spot in his heart. Turns out he does. "Rock Bottom" has Em kicking his angry blonde image to the curb for a moment of introspection and self-pity, obviously penned at a time when life was "full of empty promises and broken dreams."
Sure, Eminem initiated a shift towards political candidness on The Eminem Show, but this pre-"Mosh" thump truly solidified his no-holds-barred attitude. Over the backdrop of riveting piano loops, Em spites everyone from the police department to the president.
Highlighted by a sprightly sound clash and stained with enough frustration that reveals Marshall's unwillingness to abandon his hip-hop roots, the Nate Dogg-assisted "Till I Collapse" is a special song indeed. Despite his fury, Slim stops to salute his elders: "I got a list here's the order that my list it's in;/It goes Reggie, Jay-Z, Tupac and Biggie Andre from OutKast, Jada, Kurupt, Nas and then me."
"I'm cancerous, so when I diss you wouldn't wanna answer this/If you responded back with a battle rap you wrote for Canibus//"
Some say this was the one that jumped off a battle between Eminem and Canibus. Whatever the case, "Role Model" stands as a testament to the impeccable chemistry between Eminem and his producer-mentor Dr. Dre.
The "N" word is already at the heart of a burning controversy within the African-American populace. So, imagine what the world's most famous white rapper was up against when a couple of kids came forth with a tape of him using the racial epithet. Rather than hop on a podium and yell "I'm not racist!," Em opted for a viable approach: a song indexing his upbringing in a pre-dominantly black Detroit neighborhood. "Yellow Brick Road" chronicles what that tape forgot to tell you.
With Dr. Dre posturing as the antithesis of Em's evil-minded conscience, both doctor and patient conceive a cure for dry hip-hop collaborations. Slim Shady instructs a young party-crasher to rape a 15-yr old girl, while Dre battles him to prevent the disturbingly immoral act from occurring. Hip-hop emerges victorious.
No targets. No punching bags. Just Eminem defending his sheer existence as an unapologetic, foul-mouthed, lyrically-equipped artist who can't stand boy bands.
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Eminem's songwriting prowess is part of what made him one of the premier MCs of the 2000s. "Lose Yourself" has the double gift of being both an inspirational speech and an instructional manual. Em instructs you to "lose yourself in the moment," while the beat motivates you to move your feet. Perfect for a mid-tempo workout session. Plus, the songwriting is pure genius.
You only need to listen to "Stan" once before realizing that this ill-fated account of a psychotic Eminem worshipper is simply unforgettable. "Stan" unmasks a vulnerable Eminem, one that turns up the pathos several notches while barely raising his voice. Dido's ethereal crooning adds more soot to the tale.