Happy Birthday Eminem: His Top Ten Songs
On this day in 1972, a man was born. A man that would go on to change my life in many ways. He changed hip-hop and arguably the entertainment business as a whole. He reminded us that we do have a first amendment. He told us what his name was when he first bursted into the scene and it’s a name we’ll never forget. We’ve all stood up with him, helped him clean out his closet, sang for the moment, lost ourselves, and helped him recover. Happy birthday to Marshall Bruce Mathers III. From “Infinite” to “Hell: The Sequel” this is your day.
With that being said I figured in order to do this day justice, we can reminisce and touch up on what I believe to be his top ten songs.
Cue the controversy. Man, I remember the first time I heard this shit (on my edited cd) I couldn’t even fill in the blanks that were left. Then when I heard it unedited and all those blanks were filled, I was like “WOAHHHHH!” Three words. Freedom of speech. He disses pretty much everything and anything on this song, including himself. He puts a gun to his mentor’s head, robs a bank, shoots the eyewitness, “private eye hired to pry in my business,” and even a puppy? Lyrically this shit is insane, production from Dre at his finest, and stirred up a WHOOOOLE bunch of controversy in the first verse of this song. Luckily it was a rapper that he made it as, so he wasn’t a “rapist in a Jason mask.”
9. ’97 Bonnie and Clyde
Still trying to figure out if it’s wrong that you record your daughter wining, googoo-gagaing, and saying “momma” on song about killing your wife and dumping her in the ocean? The fact that his baby daughter is his “accomplice” is not only entertaining, but really quite genius. All the things he tells her to cover it up is amazing too. “Momma just spilled ketchup on her shirt,” and “Where’s momma? She’s taking a little nap in the trunk. Oh and that smell? Dadda must ran over a skunk.” He finds a way to talk about this grotesque murder scene, keep his daughter calm, and make it cool to “roll mommy off the dock” cause she wants to “show you how far she can float.” Name me another rapper that could do all that. I’m waiting.
8. The Real Slim Shady
I’m pretty sure I listened to this song for literally a year straight. Every day. I wanted to be Slim Shady so damn bad. I stood up every damn time he said “So won’t the real slim shady, please stand up.” Now that I got my extremely nerdy confession out of the way, I think we can all agree this has to be a top ten Eminem song. This was the radio smash, TRL phenomenon, rebellious, celebrity bashing best of Marshall. I went probably, 7 years without listening to this song. I mean, after every day, it does kind of get played out. One night was in the car with my boys and this pops up on the iPod. WHOA! This song was THAT good?! Yes, yes it was.
7. Kill You
Oh, you think Eminem talks about killing his wife, violence, drugs, alcohol, and uses too much vulgarity? Cool. He’s just going to make “Kill You” the first song on his 2nd album. The first few lines of this song you get an eery look into past and how fucked up it was. “When I was just a little baby boy my momma used to tell me these crazy things.” You’re instantly hooked right there. Once he realizes it’s his mom thats the crazy one, he goes on to hate all women in general. Not that I condone the actions he speaks of at all, but the way he crafts his lyrics and delivery in this song to match the beat is outstanding. But hey, he makes it all okay at the end of the song though. “I’m just playing ladies, you know I love you.”
6. Guilty Conscience
The art of storytelling in hip-hop at its finest right here. Does it make anyone else envious that these three dudes have Em and Dre as their “good” and “bad” conscious? I love the fact that they give three different scenarios, Dre winning the first one, Em winning the second, and them both agreeing on the last one. The beat leaves a very mysterious, crime ridden feel that you know some shit is going down. The chemistry between Dre and Em is untouchable though. They go together so damn well in everything they do, but I feel this was them at their finest together. A hilarious, compelling, and classic song that had to make my top ten.
5. Sing for the Moment
I’m a big fan of classic rock also. The first time I heard the snippet of this song, it was only the hook. “Sing with us..” man I was pumped. The whole song came out and I was left in love. Eminem doing what he does best in talking about the darker times, and the shit that comes with fame. Talking about how he’s aware the influence he has on his fans and he understands their parents hate him for it. “Alone in his own zone, cold and he don’t care.” When this song came out I was in 5th grade. I had just got the “Eminem Show” and my class had a field day at the local park. While all my friends were playing kickball, I was sitting against a tree trying to learn every lyric to this song, and all the others. This is one of those songs you just throw on the headphones, close your eyes, kick back and head nod. A more mature sounding Marshall speaking on real life shit makes this song a classic.
4. Till I Collapse
The beat kicks in, you can feel it building up. Soldiers chanting in the background. Eminem giving motivational words before he goes in. Then BOOM, your smacked in the face with a “boom boom clap” instrumental with Eminem spitting with enthusiasm, anger, and passion. On a run and running out of steam? Yeah, this is your go to song at moments like that. Not only does this song amp me up, but it has a hidden gem in finding out Eminem’s top rappers list. “It goes Reggie, Jay-Z, 2pac, and Biggie. Andre from Outkast, Jada, Kurupt, Nas, and then me.” Redman is Eminem’s favorite rapper ever? I know a lot of us didn’t expect that. An appearance from the hook king himself, Nate Dogg, certify’s this track as a classic. And like Eminem reiterates in his recent Shady 2.0 cypher, he’s going to be here till his bones collapse and he is fossil fuel.
3. The Way I Am
Envision this: I’m in my 4th grade classroom, and it’s snack time. I’m telling all my friends how I’ve been listening to the “Marshall Mathers LP” non-stop and they ask me to tell them some songs. I start rapping “I sit back with this pack of zig zags, and this bag of this weed…” and my friends are all in awe that I not only remember the lyrics, but as to what they were hearing. Apparently, it wasn’t so much that as much as it was my teacher standing behind me listening to every word I said. No recess for a week. Something about his flow in this song just gets me so amped. I’m ready to lead a revolution after hearing his anger, and passion in this song. The end of each line just punches you in the face. I love it. Another song showing that Em had a tough time dealing with the fame at first. Didn’t stop him from being who he is though.
2. Lose Yourself
I lost myself. Those guitar riffs at the beginning. “If you had one shot, or one opportunity…” You feel as if it’s you about to battle. Although I put this number two on my list of his songs, I have got to say this is my favorite hook that he has ever done. This song made me want to see 8 Mile more than I already did want to. It reminds us that dreams can be reached, and if there is in opportunity in front of you, then you have to take it. “This world is mine for the taking, make me king.” Something about that line right there that I just love. The whole mentality behind it. That Tony Montana feeling that the world is yours and nothing is going to stop you from having it. “Lose Yourself” was a national and cultural phenomenon and it is a song that will live in infamy. It was truly “..once in a lifetime.”
My favorite song of all time. A song that truly left me speechless the first time I heard it. The best story ever told on a song. Four verses of Eminem at his absolute best. The rain in the background, the Dido sample just fit so perfect. Each of the first three verses you hear Stan get more cynical, and hysterical. You feel for him as if he was a real person. You feel for his little brother who waited fours hours in the blistering cold. You feel for Stan’s wife who has to sit back and have no control over Stan’s absolute obsession with Eminem. The pain, anguish, despair, and disappointment in Stan’s voice the more he gets ignored. Before the video came out, Eminem painted the picture of this song so perfect. Stan driving and recording his voice with his wife in the trunk screaming for help. “I hope you can’t sleep and you dream about it. And when you DREAM I hope you can’t SLEEP and you SCREAM about it! I hope your conscience eats at you and you can’t BREATHE without me!” I still get the chills hearing that to this day. Every time. The way Eminem raps it up perfectly in the fourth verse with him finally replying to Stan. He soon finds out at the end of this letter that it would be too late. Flawless.
That wraps up my top ten. I know I left out some of Eminem’s best verses (Renegade, Dead Wrong, Patiently Waiting) but I tried to stick to simply his solo songs.
Everyone has a list out there. We’d love to read them. So feel free to leave comments on here!
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