At this very moment, all eight of Eminem’s albums, including his latest, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, are sitting on the Billboard 200 chart, the guy is a master of the dictionary and twists internal rhymes like a game of Tetris. And yes, the man can tell a helluva story — though so many of them end the same way: murder. (Surprisingly, there are a few that end with inspirational messages, if you can believe it.) Here are his top 5 verses: the ones that shocked, the ones that awed, the ones that knocked us out and held us in the trunk.
5. “The Way I Am,” The Marshall Mathers LP, First Verse (2000)
Key Lines: “At least have the decency in you / To leave me alone, when you freaks see me out / In the streets when I’m eating or feeding my daughter”
He goes on to say, “I’m not Mr. N’Sync, I’m not what your friends think.” Paralyzed by anger and paranoia, this guy was, amazingly, on TRL all the time. It’s no wonder he barely leaves his house anymore.
4. Jay Z, “Renegade (feat. Eminem)” The Blueprint, Second Verse (2001)
Key Lines: “Maybe it’s beautiful music I made for you to just cherish / But I’m debated, disputed, hated, and viewed in America / As a motherfuckin’ drug addict, like you didn’t experiment”
Maybe Nas said it best when he was at war with Jay Z: “Eminem murdered you on your own shit.”
3. 50 Cent, “Patiently Waiting (feat. Eminem)” Get Rich or Die Tryin’, Second Verse (2003)
Key Lines: “Shady Records was eighty seconds away from the towers / Some cowards fucked with the wrong building, they meant to hit ours”
This is Eminem at his peak. It seems so easy to untangle one’s tongue and teach it to say “Don’t let me lose you, I’m not trying to confuse you when I let loose with this Uzi and just shoot through your Isuzu,” but it’s not. Eminem just makes it look that way.
- “Lose Yourself,” 8 Mile Soundtrack, First Verse (2002)
Key Lines: “His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy / There’s vomit on his sweater already: mom’s spaghetti / He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready / To drop bombs, but he keeps on forgetting / What he wrote down”
For a long time, Biggie’s “Juicy” was the first rap song most kids learned word for word. That all changed in 2002, when “Lose Yourself” exploded, becoming an inescapable phenomena. Kids, parents, everyone everywhere was rapping about being so nervous to battle-rap that they threw up all over themselves. Millions of albums sold later, Eminem finally crosses over, bridging the moral gap he’s been butting up against. Written and recorded on the set of his movie 8 Mile, it deserves to cross over from theme song to national anthem.
- “Stan,” The Marshall Mathers LP, Fourth Verse (2000)
Key Lines: “But what’s this shit you said about you like to cut your wrists too / I say that shit just clowning dog, come on, how fucked up is you?”
Where “Lose Yourself” is a movie summarized in song, the closing verse to “Stan” is masterpiece theatre. For four minutes, Eminem riles up an angry mob and leads them straight to the gates…only to stop short, turn around and tell everyone to go home, to maybe not take things so far. Sure, you can follow Slim Shady’s instructions, but he’s no more powerful than David Berkowitz’s dog.
BY HARSHVARDHAN SINGH.