The rise and subsequent phenomenal success of Eminem has been a source of discussion worldwide, with himself claiming to simply be ‘a little white boy from Detroit’. As famous for his private life as he is for his music, Eminem became the biggest white rapper of all time, winning numerous awards over the years, including the first rap song to ever win an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2003 (Lose Yourself). His explicit lyrics and memorable melodies have struck a nerve and captured the hearts of many people, creating a huge fan base across the continents. Any top ten of Eminem hits is going to be a personal choice, due to the vast array of enduring and unforgettable sounds and lyrics that this global megastar is able to produce.
10. ‘Sing for the Moment’ feat. Aerosmith – Release date: 25 February 2003
‘Sing for the Moment’ features the melodic classic inclusion of a rock anthem that Eminem is known for. It features on the fourth studio album ‘The Eminem Show’. Fans of ‘Aerosmith’ were pleased to note that Eminem incorporates the chorus of ‘Dream On’ within his rapping. Typically of Eminem, he uses lyrics to get a message across, and the message in this track is that he isn’t an advocate for violence and crime. That his music is an attempt at being a positive influence to all, while using a language that the young people of the day will understand. Whether you believe his intentions or not, the epic storytelling style of Eminem is wonderfully showcased in this track and perfectly blended with hard rock guitars and funky beats, producing a stylised and unique anthem track. ‘Sing for the Moment’ peaked at number six in the UK Charts and also features in his greatest hits album ‘Curtain Call: The Hits’.
9. ‘Mockingbird’ – Release date: 25 April 2005
Strip back the layers on Eminem’s alter ego and you’ll find his deep and unwavering love for his daughter, Hailie Jade and niece, Laine. The chorus features the instrumental melody of the classical ‘Hush Little Baby’ tune as the rap throughout offers a humble and honest insight into how Eminem feels about his children, his wife, his life and the struggles that they all faced during their early years together. This moving song incorporates Eminem’s fantastic storytelling ability with a catchy piano riff and snare drum monotones, providing a sensational and personal insight into one of the most talked about artists of all time. ‘Mockingbird’ peaked at number 4 in the UK charts and featuring on the fifth studio album ‘Encore’.
8. ‘Headlights’ – Release Date: 5 November 2013
‘Headlights’ boasts a turnaround for Eminem, often referenced as a grovelling apology to his mother, who has been mentioned many times in other tracks in a derogatory manner. It features on Eminem’s eighth studio album ‘The Marshall Mathers LP 2’. This humble song is the complete opposite of ‘Cleanin’ Out My Closet’, the therapeutic song that Eminem felt he had to ‘get off his chest’ where his mother bared the brunt of his anger. ‘Headlights’ offers an insight into how age, hindsight and maturity have reached Eminem to the conclusion that his mother actually wasn’t responsible for all that he held her accountable for. Nate Reuss sings the refrain in this song, adding dynamics and a rich sound to blend with the instrumental collaboration of the track. ‘Headlights’ peaked at number 17 in the UK R&B Charts.
7. ‘Like Toy Soldiers’ – Release date: 24 January 2005
The Theme behind ‘Like Toy Soldiers’ is one that has been highly respected by many within the music business. This track uses a sample from Martika’s 1989 hit ‘Toy Soldiers’ to discuss street feuds and how oppressing and exhausting they can be, both mentally and physically. The lyrics offer a glimpse into the real life struggles Eminem faced while he managed to get himself embroiled in vendetta’s with 50 Cent and other rap artists. This track is Eminem’s attempt at peace, classically using music to put his point across. A combination of combative drum beats interloped with the chorus sample from Martika’s hit; this song quickly became a power anthem with street credibility and hit the number one spot yet again in the UK Charts.
6. ‘My Name Is’ – Released: 25 January 1999
‘My Name Is’ was the debut single from the critically acclaimed ‘The Slim Shady LP’ album. It was produced by Dr Dre, who was largely responsible for making Eminem the global superstar that he is today. This song features a piano sample from Labi Siffre’s ‘I Got The…’ as part of the rhythm track, but it took some persuading to get the necessary permissions to sample it due to Eminem’s tendency to use expletive and hard hitting vocabulary. There are currently three versions available of ‘My Name Is’, a clean version, an explicit version and an ultra-explicit version. With multiple parodies of this song made, it has become a popular track, boasting a hip hop beat, an influential bass line, with the rap sensation of Eminem’s alter ego ‘Slim Shady’ coming to the fore. Peaking at number 2 in the UK charts, ‘My Name Is’ reached number 1 in MTV’s Total Request Live (TRL), granting Eminem with another record as the first rapper to ever hit the top spot!
5. ‘The Real Slim Shady’ – Released: 13 May 2000
‘The Real Slim Shady’ features on Eminem’s third studio album ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’. It was co-written by Eminem, Dr Dre and Tommy Coster. Released a week before the album, this song was the first UK number one for Eminem, winning multiple awards and featuring in the beginning of the film 21 Jump Street. A fast and pulsating beat pumps through this song, offering a multitude of layered sound effects to mirror the tongue in cheek references Eminem makes in the lyrics, depicting imitation and how fickle the industry can be. The lyrics ‘Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?’ are known globally, ensuring Eminem’s popularity soared exponentially after this release. ‘The Real Slim Shady’ reached number one in the UK Charts and was the 11th top selling single of 2000.
4. ‘Cleanin’ Out My Closet’ – Release date: 17 September 2002
‘Cleanin’ Out My Closet’ chronicles the well-publicised issues Eminem had with his mother, his abandonment by his father and his heartfelt dedication he feels at righting the wrongs of the past with his daughter. It features on the highly respected ‘The Eminem Show’ album. The lyrics within the song highlight the difficulties of being misunderstood with the feelings of anger and pent up frustration regarding his mother’s maternal abilities and his belief that she neglected him. This therapeutic song begins with a memorable electric guitar riff that echoes throughout, introducing a snare drum that adds a delicate hue of underlying tension that cleverly mirrors the lyrics. With a catchy chorus and fast paced rapping, ‘Cleanin’ Out My Closet’ was a global hit, peaking at number 4 in the UK charts.
3. ‘Stan’ – feat Dido – Release date: 4 December 2000
Considered to be one of Eminem’s signature tunes, ‘Stan’ was the third single release from the ‘Marshall Mathers LP’ album and also features on the ‘Curtain Call: The Hits’ album, often being censored quite heavily during live performances due to the explicit nature of the lyrics. Produced by The 45 King, this early release from Eminem incorporates the introduction of Dido’s hit tune ‘Thank You’. ‘Stan’ blends the tune as a base with his typical melodic chorus style, along with action packed lyrics of a crazy and obsessed fan, producing a punch packing result. ‘Stan’ went straight to the top of the UK Charts and features at spot 296 in the top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in Rolling Stones Magazine.
2. ‘Love the Way You Lie’ – feat. Rihanna – Release date: 9 August 2010
‘Love the Way You Lie’ was written on the back of a demo which was produced by Skylar Grey. It appears on Eminem’s seventh studio album ‘Recovery.’ Featuring stunning lyrics depicting the emotions felt when one finds themselves in an abusive relationship, the song features Rihanna as female lead (who coincidentally had her own rather public issues with Chris Brown around the same time), making her the perfect person to accentuate the meaning behind the lyrics. Incorporating a stunning musical backdrop of guitar, piano and violin expressions, ‘Love the Way You Lie’ has a hip hop feel with a slower tempo than other traditional Eminem tracks. This track was Eminem’s highest selling song, finding the number one spot in 26 different record charts around the world. It was also announced the best-selling song of 2010 in the UK.
1. ‘Lose Yourself’ – Release date: October 2002
Quite possibly one of the best known songs by Eminem, ‘Lose Yourself’ is the feature song which was written and co-produced by Eminem, for his character in the hit movie ‘8 Mile.’ With string inflections blended with piano and violin melodies; ‘Lose Yourself’ takes aggressive themes of competition struggles and being successful, incorporating a positive attitude to increase mental awareness and self-help. Many would argue that this track is Eminem’s greatest creation, offering a positive dynamic to influence people of all ages, encouraging a motivated generation with the rhythmic beat of the song. The infectious ‘Lose Yourself’ introduction is instantly recognisable due to the global success it received. Hitting the number one spot across multiple record charts including the UK Chart, ‘Lose Yourself’ smashed records worldwide and became the first rap song to ever win an Academy Award for Best Original Song.