Music: Looking Inside the Top 5 Eminem Songs of All-Time
It’s hard to name someone as polarizing as Eminem in the hip-hop game. From his very humble beginnings with Infinite, Em has turned himself into a rap icon. During his career, he’s released some very controversial records, to say the least. Throughout his entire discography, picking five of my favorites is a pretty hard task. There are tracks that always make me laugh uncontrollably, tracks that make me feel things, tracks that I enjoy just for their pure stupidity and tracks where I can truly appreciate Em’s lyrical ability. Even some of his worst songs are enjoyable as a guilty pleasure. But here goes nothing.
5. Same Song & Dance (2009)
Relapse was the first Eminem album I listened to in its entirety. While the album is really, really bogged down by all of the accents and pretty basic flows, it also has some of the most mind-bending cuts out of all of Em’s discography. 3 a.m., Hello, Stay Wide Awake, Déjà Vu; just to name a few. But Same Song & Dance… It makes me really miss Em as a character in a rap song. The idea of rap music being real or truth is such a silly and dated concept in hip-hop. Half the stuff rappers rap about, they just make up anyway. It’s called using your imagination! No one really represented that more than Em on Relapse. Em portrays a CHARACTER on Same Song & Dance. It’s not real, but it displays a level of creativity that we don’t even get from Em today. Let alone from any other mainstream artist, really. The hypnotic, Dr. Dre-produced beat lulls you in while Em’s accent, which actually sort-of works here, serenades you before you realize that he’s actually rapping about serial rapes and murders. It’s a kind of subtlety that Eminem has never really displayed before and probably never will again. All because he understands that rap can be fictional! It’s the main reason why I love Relapse so much with this song, in particular, being a shining example.
4. 8 Mile (2002)
I can’t remember the last time I watched this movie, but the soundtrack is something I can’t forget, especially the title track. Every time I listen to this cut after a long time of not hearing it, I get goosebumps. The way the beat loops to sound like a train rolling over tracks is the kind of detail that you don’t really get with today’s hip-hop beats. On top of that, even though the lyrics have ties to the movie, they are still relatable. What I appreciate the most about this track is how applicable it is to any situation in which a person is struggling with a come-up attempt. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a come-up in the rap game. It could be for any profession that’s hard to rise up in, giving it a genuine and inspirational feeling to it.
3. The Way I Am (2000)
Em has a lot of hardcore evocative songs under his belt. Some of them try to be a bit too evocative to the point of being unlistenable though such as cuts like Kim. But The Way I Am is the perfect balance. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime sort of song featuring the first beat Em ever made with the looping piano keys and chopped baseline that sounds like it’s cut slightly short. It’s a dark beat that doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard to be edgy but to just set the mood for the lyrics. And then there’s the absolutely genius flow on this cut. The multi-syllable rhyme is something we expect from him, sure, but the way in which it all flows together makes it very digestible and also incredibly complex at the same time. It’s one of the rare cases where when you go back and listen to the song a few more times, each time you pick up on something new without ever feeling like you missed it in the first place. This is thanks to the song’s delivery. Eminem may get criticized these days for screaming at the mic too much but in this song, it works perfectly. I could praise this song for months on end, but unfortunately, I need to move on.
2. Stan (2000)
I suppose this list wouldn’t have a lot of credibility without this song on it. Out of all of Em’s more emotionally-driven songs, this one certainly has a case for being the best. The flip of Dido’s Thank You makes for a really nice hook. And yeah, yeah, it’s a great display of Em’s story-telling ability and lyrical depth, blah, blah, blah. I mean, what can you say about this song that hasn’t already been said? It’s a great song. Great concept, great hook, nice beat. And most importantly, it cemented ‘Stan’ as the slang term for an obsessed fan as we know it today. Hip-hop vocabulary is always constantly evolving. When you have a hip-hop song that influences that vocabulary, you know it’s special.
1. Role Model (1999)
This was a tough choice between it and Brain Damage. I’m going with Role Model because I enjoy the beat a bit more. Another Dr. Dre cut, the guitar loop and bubbling in the background coupled with the heavy kick and snare-driven, boom-bapping beat just gets my ears going. The silly and outlandish lyrics compliment the unfiltered aggression of their delivery well. It’s a dichotomy that I’ve always appreciated about Em. I also really appreciate the off-beat and experimental flow he messes with on this cut as well. And then there’s the hook that doesn’t even really sound like a hook but works as one? The whole song just feels so slap-dashed together, but I mean that in the best way possible. It’s raw and sloppy but still has some polish. And if that doesn’t pretty much sum up Eminem’s entire career, I don’t know what does.
What some of your favorite Eminem songs? Leave your comments below!
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