Will Smith don't gotta cuss in his raps to sell records.
Well, I do. So fuck him and fuck you, too!
— "The Real Slim Shady"
Marshall Bruce Mathers III, AKA Eminem, AKA Slim Shady (October 17, 1972) is a popular rapper from Detroit, Michigan.
Mathers had a troubled childhood
, raised on welfare in abject poverty by his mother who emotionally and physically abused him
. His father walked out on the family when he was a baby
. The family switched homes every two months before they settled down. He was bullied to ridiculous extents for being white in an all-black ghetto
; once he was even put in a coma and had to re-learn all his basic functions when he woke up. He was often kicked out of his own house for nights, he had failed ninth grade three times, and he could never get a decent paying job, the homes he stayed in were often robbed, and he apparently tried to commit suicide a few times.
During this period, Eminem discovered a love of rap and would practice it as often as he could. His early raps were heavily influenced by the popular gangsta rap
of the day, and being white
, he was often mocked for even trying, not to mention physically assaulted and shot at.
His first studio album was released in 1996. The album, called Infinite
, was not a success; underground rappers and critics alike felt it was a bad imitation of the likes of Nas
.Angry, poor, in a rocky relationship with his wife and with a new baby daughter to feed
, Eminem made another EP a few years later—The Slim Shady EP
This album was remarkably different from his previous style and a new thing to rap in general. The album focused on the Alter Ego of Eminem, 'Slim Shady'. The lyrics were dark and gruesome
, but took a twistedly funny
approach to subjects such as rape
, murder, the occult, drugs, and suicide. The album gained Eminem significant attention in the world of underground hip-hop, and eventually got him signed to Dr. Dre's record label.
Still angry and depressed, Eminem's first true studio album came out in the winter of 1999. The Slim Shady LP
was even darker and more demented than his EP, and became a world wide hit. Admit it, even your mom knows the chorus to "My Name Is".
The album also caused riots with parents and Media Watchdogs
alike. The homophobic and brutal lyrics started a wave of moral panic
, which Eminem pretty much used as an excuse to continue writing such songs.
Marshall's second mainstream album was called The Marshall Mathers LP
, and showed the world a more vulnerable and depressed artist trying to deal with his new found super stardom. The album pretty much took everything "offensive" about The Slim Shady LP
and turned it Up to Eleven
, with Eminem revealing more disturbing details of his childhood, spinning darker fantasies of domestic violence, and responding more virulently to his critics. Considered his magnum opus, the record was another massive hit (it is currently both the fastest-selling and highest-selling rap album of all time) and somehow managed to attract even more controversy than its predecessor
Eminem's third studio album, The Eminem Show
, was less inflammatory and ill than his previous albums. This one was more of an introspective tour of the world of fame and isolation the rapper had built himself. Many of the tracks showed a maturing Mathers, with sadder and more sincere lyrics.The more laid-back style didn't stop it from becoming another hit for the young artist, and like his previous albums, it made it on Rolling Stone
's Greatest Albums Of All Time list.
Around the time of recording The Eminem Show
, Eminem also appeared in the semi-autobiographical movie 8 Mile
and produced its soundtrack. While he hasn't done much acting since, he won an Academy Award
for the song "Lose Yourself". (He didn't go to the ceremony, preferring to sleep instead
During the fall of 2004, Eminem released his fourth studio album, named Encore
. Some critics sung their usual praise, but a few of them, as well as many fans felt the album was a disappointment; Eminem's famous tongue-twister lyrics were dumbed down to much simpler mumbles, the beats felt less creative and worked on, and much of the songs seemed an excuse to fit in as many fart jokes as humanly possible
. (Eminem went on to say years later that he made the album during an addiction to prescription drugs that nearly took his life, which explains some things.) Another commercial hit for Marshall, but many fans shove it right into Seasonal Rot
he took a break from music (aside from Curtain Call: The Hits
, which had a couple of new songs on it, and The Re-Up
, a mixtape-style album that attempted to showcase the artists on Shady Records) to deal with his own personal drug problems and the shooting death of his best friend Proof.
In the Summer of 2009, Relapse
was released, sending Eminem back into Slim Shady
territory, detailing his descent into drug addiction during his hiatus. While the album received generally mixed reviews and was seen as an improvement over Encore
, some felt that the accents, celebrity bashes and outright morbid weirdness of some of the tracks were a little much (interesting, Eminem seems to agree with the detractors, calling the album "Ehh" during "Not Afraid"). However, it was yet another financial smash, securing Eminem as the best-selling rapper of all time. A special edition of the album, titled Relapse: Refill
, was released in December of the same year and included seven new songs. Recently, though, praise for this album has increased, with many fans believing it to be an excellent record.
His next album was set to be a direct sequel
, but as he tinkered with it, the whole Relapse 2
idea was dropped in favor of a completely new album titled Recovery
, which promised to be a return to the more sincere and somber tone of The Marshall Mathers LP
and focus less on Slim Shady's antics. The first single from the album, "Not Afraid", was released on April 29th, 2010, and the album was released on June 22nd of the same year. While some listeners felt that it was just more of the same, reception was for the most part positive, with many hailing it as a improvement over both Encore
. And like all of his albums, it was greeted with very strong sales.
A sequel to The Marshall Mathers LP
, simply titled The Marshall Mathers LP 2
, was released on November 5, 2013. The album showcased Eminem at his most mature yet (for the most part, anyway), with a greater focus on raw rapping and introspective stories than crude humor and celebrity references, and even served as something of an apology to everyone he's offended, especially his mother. It also lived up to its title, with callbacks and references to the first MMLP
, most notably on "Bad Guy" and "So Far...". It was one of the biggest selling albums of the year, and is generally considered to be his best album since The Eminem Show
In 2014, he made hints at a new album, Shady XV
, coming out on Black Friday 2014. (It was actually released four days prior to that date.) It is a 2-disc
compilation/greatest hits album
created in honor of the creation of Shady Records. The first disc has the label's greatest hits, while the second disc features new material from the artists on the label. Oh, and the "XV" part comes from the fact that it's been 15 years since The Slim Shady LP
- Infinite (1996)
- The Slim Shady LP (1999)
- "My Name Is"
- "Role Model"
- "Guilty Conscience" (feat. Dr. Dre)
- The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
- "The Real Slim Shady"
- "The Way I Am"
- "Stan" (feat. Dido)
- The Eminem Show (2002)
- "Without Me"
- "Cleanin' Out My Closet"
- "Sing for the Moment"
- 8 Mile soundtrack (2002)
- Encore (2004)
- "Just Lose It"
- "Encore" (feat. Dr. Dre & 50 Cent)
- "Like Toy Soldiers"
- "Ass Like That"
- Curtain Call: The Hits (2005)
- "When I'm Gone"
- "Shake That" (feat. Nate Dogg)
- Relapse (2009)
- "Crack a Bottle"
- "We Made You"
- "3 a.m."
- "Old Time's Sake" (feat. Dr. Dre)
- Recovery (2010)
- "Not Afraid"
- "Love The Way You Lie" (feat. Rihanna)
- "No Love" (feat. Lil Wayne)
- "Space Bound"
- "Won't Back Down" (feat. P!nk)
- The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013)
- "Survival" (feat. Liz Rodrigues)
- "Rap God"
- "The Monster" (feat. Rihanna)
- "Up In Smoke" Tour (2000)
- "Anger Management" Tour (2002-2005)
- "Home And Home" Tour (2010)
- The "Recovery" Tour (2010-2013)
"Won't the real Slim Shady's Tropes please stand up?":
- Absurdly Youthful Father: A really rare Real Life example; while he is definitely old enough to be the father of his daughter, he doesn't look any older than 24-25 despite being 41. His daughter is now 18 years old and looks like it. Even with his very minor signs of aging, it's still hard to believe he's really old enough to have had a child almost 2 decades ago at a reasonable age. Don't believe it? This is his most recent music video. Yes, he's really old enough to have a daughter who's legally an adult.
- Abusive Parents
- Accidental Public Confession: In "Just Lose it".
- Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: In "Hell Breaks Loose":
Shady's come to fill you up, if you a D or a C-cup
You can even be a B, it's just me and D-R-E
You'll be in the ER, we are strapped with so much TNT we may blow
No, not even CPR from the EMT can help you resuscitate
- Album Title Drop: On "Cleanin' Out My Closet":
"It's my life. I'd like to welcome y'all to The Eminem Show.
- There's also "Infinite" from, well, Infinite. Oddly, "Encore" is not an example of this.
- Alliterative Name: His "Slim Shady" alter ego.
- His real name Marshall Mathers. Its where the stage name Eminem comes from.
- All Abusers Are Male: Averted in Love the Way you Lie. The relationship is "mutually destructive".
- All Just a Dream: When I'm Gone, namely the part where Eminem loses his family for good.
- All of the Other Reindeer: How he was treated (booed offstage before even getting a chance to rap, shot at, robbed, physically assaulted) for being white. He still gets it even to this day, with so many people refusing to acknowledge his talent because they feel he "stole black music". As he points out in "Without Me", so did Elvis Presley.
- Alone with the Psycho: Several of his songs, examples include: "Same Song and Dance", "3 A.M.", "Stan", "Kim" and "Bad Guy". Notably, except for "Stan" and "Bad Guy", Eminem is usually the psycho.
- Alter Ego Acting: Marshall Mathers, the loving father with a checkered past; Eminem, the insanely skilled and insightful emcee; and Slim Shady, the Ax-Crazy, immature, and fucking hilarious fiend.
- Anti-Love Song: Nearly all songs centered on his ex-wife Kim. The largest counter-example would be "Searchin" featured in the album Infinite. But heck, even in "Kim" he says he loves her. Right as he's driving her out to the woods to slit her throat. It's an angry love.
- And while not a song specifically about her, in "Going Through Changes", he wrote "Hailie, this one is for you, Whitney and Alaina, too. I still love your mother. That'll never change."
- He tries to take her perspective on their relationship in "Stronger Than I Was".
- Anti-Role Model: Slim, mostly obviously in "Role Model."
I've got genital warts and it burns when I pee/Don't you want to grow up to be just like me?!
- Anything That Moves: Mentioned in "My Name Is"
- Arch-Enemy: He's amassed quite a diverse list, everyone from Moral Guardians to the Insane Clown Posse to activists against his perceived homophobia. To be specific: Benzino, Ja Rule, Canibus, the Insane Clown Posse, Everlast, Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey have all at one point in time had beef with him.
- Art Imitates Life/Life Imitates Art: "Stan" is actually an example of both.
- Artistic License – Law: In "Without Me" he raps about being censored on MTV by saying "So the FCC won't let me be/or let me be me..." The FCC has no authority over cable channels, they are self-regulating.
- Audience Participation Song: "Kill You" is probably his best example.
- The audience supplies the chants of "Marshall!" in "Business."
- Author Tract: Used in his verses on Dr. Dre's "I Need a Doctor", in which Em repeatedly tells Dre to finish his Detox album.
- Ax-Crazy: Slim Shady is this from time to time. Stan has shades of this as well, going so far as to inspire a nickname for fanatics everywhere.
- Badass Boast: Common in his work, but particularly this bit from "The Real Slim Shady":
I'm like a head trip to listen to
'Cause I'm only giving you things you joke about with your friends inside your living room
The only difference is I got the balls to say it in front of y'all
And I don't gotta be false or sugarcoat it at all
I just get on the mike and spit it
And whether you like to admit it, I just shit it
Better than 90% of you rappers out can
Then you wonder "How can kids eat up these albums like Valiums?"
- Badass Bookworm/Book Dumb: Although Eminem did not do well in school, he did read the dictionary cover to cover multiple times as a youth, granting him an incredible vocabulary.
- The Bad Guy Wins: "Guilty Conscience".
- Zigzagged, really: The first part had good win, as Eddie choose to not rob the liquor store. The second part is more vague on whether Stan raped the girl, or just left her at home after drugging her. Part three plays this straight, however, with Grady choosing to shoot both his wife and the man she's cheating with at the urging of both angels.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Relapse includes a bonus track called "Careful What You Wish For."
- Beam Me Up, Scotty!: In-universe: In "Stan", the title character mislabels Phil Collins' song "In the Air Tonight" as "In the Air of the Night".
- Berserk Button: You don't even have to insult Hailie to set Eminem off, mentioning her is enough for him, which is sweet in it's own scary way. The same very likely applies to his adopted daughters and little brother as well.
- Be Yourself: In "Beautiful", it's even outright said.
- Big "Shut Up!": In the intro to Curtain Call.
- Black Comedy: "Ass Like That", in which Eminem talks about jerking off to the Olsen Twins and constantly getting arrested. Appropriately lampshaded by Dr. Dre with a "The fuck is wrong with you?!" at the end, to which Em responds with a dismissive "Ah!" The song was intended as a parody of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (who he was once harassed by), whose accent Em imitates throughout the song.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: His Slim Shady alter ego qualified as this... that is, until he dyed his hair brown again.
- As of 2013 (in anticipation for The Marshall Mathers LP 2, he is blond yet again.
- Blood Bath: Is seen taking one of these in his Music Video for "3 A.M.", plus it provides the page image.
- Boastful Rap: "Rap God" shows signs of this, especially during the supersonic speed lyrics part.
- Book Ends: The music video for "Cleanin' Out My Closet" begins with an opening door and ends with a closing door.
- The "3 a.m." video begins and ends with Em sleeping (apparently) against a tree and waking up.
- Bowdlerise: Let's just say plenty of Eminem's songs got censored, as well as the music videos for songs like, for example, "My Name Is" and "Guilty Conscience" (the latter had explicit mentions of rape and murder edited out, even turning the argument between Slim and Dr. Dre in the "Grady" scene into an argument that goes unresolved at the end).
- The most censored song that got the most attention is "Stan", and not only that, but there are TWO versions of the music videos for the song, with the most recent Fuse "version" of the song more censored than the last two. While MTV's short version of "Stan" is heavily censored (also removing scenes of a murder/suicide), the long version, however, isn't much better: Though Dido (singer of "Thank You" who played Stan's pregnant girlfriend in the music video) admitted in the interview that she was the one who was Bound and Gagged and struggling in the trunk of the car to get the gag out and to scream while trying to breathe in the third verse, only fewer versions of the video's long version showing some scenes with her tied up and struggling, as well as a scene with Stan (played by actor Devon Sawa) drinking while driving, are shown. The rest of the versions show only one brief clip of her at the trunk while removing a scene of Stan drinking and censoring the words "drank", "vodka", "downers", "Shut up, bitch", "screaming in the trunk", "slit", "tied her up", "suffocates" and "die". In the last verse, the censors remove all mentions of the girlfriend in the trunk, as well as the lyric, "And what's this shit about us meant to be together?"
- One of the best examples was by Eminem himself, in his Grammy Award performance of "Stan" with Elton John, when he changed "You're like his fucking idol" to "You're like his favorite idol."
- One rather infamous example is the censoring of a certain line from "I'm Back" in the Marshal Mathers LP, where Eminem raps; "I Take seven kids from Columbine stand 'em all in line, add an AK-47 a revolver, a nine, a Mac-11 and that oughta solve this problem of mine, and that's a whole school of bullies shot up all at one time". An uncensored version is completely unavailable, "Kids" and "Columbine" are edited out even in the explicit version. However, 13 years later he repeats the line on "Rap God" from the MMLP2, and gets away with it this time.
- A similar thing happened with "Marshall Mathers", off the same album. One line in particular was censored because, in the event you are being sued by your mother, insulting their lawyer is not a particularly clever idea.
So which is it, bitch
, Mrs. Briggs or Mrs. Mathers?
It doesn't matter, [your attorney, Fred Gibson's a] faggot!
Talking about how I fabricated my past.
He's just aggravated I won't ejaculate in his ass.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: In "Marshall Mathers":
Yo, you might see me jogging. You might see me walking. You might see me walking a dead rottweiler dog with it's head chopped off in the park with a spiked collar, hollering at him 'cause the son-of-a-bitch won't stop barking.
- Brain Bleach: You'll need some for some of his songs. Shining example, some of the last lyrics in "Fack" - "Shove a gerbil in your ass through a tube."
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Combined with a Lampshade Hanging in "Hell Breaks Loose", "This would be the part of the song where they drop the meter in and Hell Breaks Loose".
- Breaking Speech: Despite name dropping Hannibal Lecter, the lecture in "Underground" is not a Hannibal Lecture because the singer is the one in the position of power:
Gave Hannibal Lecter a fuckin' nectarine
And sat him in a fuckin' fruit and vegetable section
And gave him a lecture
- Brick Joke: In "Bad Meets Evil", his song with then-friend Royce da 5'9, the end of the chorus goes "See you in Hell for the sequel." Afterwards, they had a lengthy falling out. Once their mutual friend Proof died, they patched up their issues. Cue their joint albumHell: The Sequel releasing on June 13, 2011. Given how long it took Em and Royce to get around to making it, one can say we saw the sequel in development hell.
- This joke gets even more elaborate when one remembers that in "Cold Wind Blows" from Recovery, which was released just a year before this album, there's a few lines where God tells Slim Shady that He will send him to Hell if he does not change his ways. Apparently, he didn't.
- Broken Bird: Shows signs of being a male one.
- Brutal Honesty
- But Not Too Black: See Hype Aversion on the YMMV page.
- Call-and-Response Song: Several examples among the songs that he's done with Dr. Dre. "Guilty Conscience" has Slim and Dre as the different sides of someone's conscience (bad angel and good angel, if you will), bickering back and forth over what the person should do.
- Em's verse on "What's the Difference" is a more direct conversation with Dre.
- And of course, "Kim" is a call-and-response between Marshall and his own impersonation of Kim.
- Call Back:
- A line from "Stan," the chorus to "Rain Man" and the title and theme of "My Mom" all directly reference "My Name Is."
- The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is full of them, be they entire tracks, lines from tracks, or even excerpts from the beats to earlier tracks.
- "I Need A Doctor" is thematically very similar to "Forgot About Dre", though much more serious in tone; essentially, both songs are composed of Em affirming his close friendship with Dre and Dre calling out his fair-weather friends.
- Calling the Old Woman Out: A popular topic, but "Cleanin' Out My Closet" in particular.
- Canon Discontinuity: Or Seasonal Rot, on the subject of Encore and sometimes The Re-Up. "Like Toy Soldiers" seems to be the only song that's still acknowledged from that era.
- In one of the songs on Recovery, Eminem says that Encore and Relapse don't count - on Encore he was on drugs, and on Relapse he was flushing them out. As such, on his Recovery tour, the only songs from those albums performed were "Like Toy Soldiers" and "3:00 AM."
- Cerebus Syndrome: "Cold Wind Blows" is one of the few appearances of Shady on Recovery, the rest being done in the Eminem/Marshall Mathers persona. It sounds a lot darker and epic, reflecting more inner turmoil than the earlier Shady songs such as "My Name Is" and "Guilty Conscience".
- Chaotic Stupid - Slim Shady can definitely qualify, if "Role Model" is anything to go by.
- Cluster F-Bomb : As lampshaded by the opening quote (inspired by Will Smith's own criticism on Em' language). In fact, the only songs that don't use the word "fuck" are "Just Lose It", "We Made You", and "'97 Bonnie & Clyde", as well as most of "Infinite".
- Continuity Porn: While Eminem is no stranger to self-referential lyrics, The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is absurdly dense with callbacks and references to his previous albums.
- The most notable example of this from the album is The Monster music video, which is partly a Clip Show of Eminem's old songs, videos, and even live performances, such as My Name Is, The Way I Am, Lose Yourself, 3 AM, and his performance of Stan with Elton John.
- Conspiracy Theorist: He displays this on the songs "Public Enemy #1", and "We As Americans". Not going into tinfoil hat levels, though.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Put on probation for assaulting, some say pistol-whipping, the man he says he saw kissing his wife.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Most notably, Em's beef with Ja Rule where Ja went after Hailie in a verse and Eminem and D12 promptly responded with "Hailie's Revenge." It can very easily be argued that Ja's career never recovered.
- Many people state if he responds to Haystak's disses, it will turn into this.
- Dare to Be Badass: "Lose Yourself".
- Dark and Troubled Past
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Quite a few of his songs have masturbation references. 3 A.M. in particular has a... memorable moment where Shady jacks off to 'Hannah Montana and ejaculates so much, that his cum knocks over all the candles on his fireplace mantle.
- Deal with the Devil: In "Say Goodbye Hollywood" and "Rain Man". But ESPECIALLY in "My Darling". That song played it frighteningly straight enough to double as What the Hell, Hero?.
- Deconstruction: The Marshall Mathers LP 2, of the rest of his career. It discusses how fame has affected his life; how he feels about some of his older lyrics, and extends an olive branch to his mother.
- Earlier in his career;possibly "Kill You", of his signature "let's try to offend people with really unnerving lyrics" songs.
"And I'ma be another rapper dead, for poppin' off at the mouth with shit I shouldn't have said"
- Determinator: Has been a staple of his persona from Till I Collapse off The Eminem Show and Lose Yourself from the 8 Mile soundtrack all the way through Legacy off The Marshall Mathers LP 2
- Department of Redundancy Department: From Not Afraid "I'mma be what I set out to be, without a doubt undoubtedly!"
- "It's 3 A.M. in the morning..."
- From "Square Dance": "Inside a package wrapped in Saran Wrap wrapping..."
- From "Bonnie and Clyde 97" "There's a place called heaven and a place called hell. A place called prison and a place called jail."
- Depraved Homosexual: Ken Kaniff.
- Destructive Romance : His relationship with ex-wife Kim, as he acknowledges on "Stronger Than I Was".
- The entire point of "Love the Way You Lie".
- Didn't Think This Through/Oh, Crap: The title character in "Stan" has both when he realises that he won't be able to send Eminem the tape he's making before he drowns himself and his pregnant girlfriend, precisely because he's about to... well, yeah.
- Disappeared Dad: Discussed in the song, "Cleaning Out My Closet":
I was a baby, maybe I was just a couple of months
My faggot father must'a had his panties up in a bunch
'Coz he split; wonder if he even kissed me goodbye
No, I dont; on second thought I just fuckin' wish he would die!
- His dad gets a fair few Take Thats thrown his way on The Marshall Mathers 2.
- Also discussed in "When I'm Gone". Thankfully it's All Just a Dream.
- Discontinuity Nod: To Encore on "Talkin' 2 Myself" and Relapse on "Not Afraid", both from Recovery.
- Double Standard: He's engaged in slut shaming in his interviews, never mind the fact that he himself constantly moons people on stage, appeared naked in his videos and did a nude photo shoot where he holds a dynamite stick over his male part.
- Downer Ending:
- "My Fault": Eminem gets a girl at a party high on mushrooms (he didn't mean for her to eat the whole bag) and she overdoses on them before anyone can save her, with Eminem in tears begging her to wake up - though whether he's crying over her or what might happen to him is up for debate.
- "Stan": The obsessed fan of the song's title kills himself and his pregnant girlfriend because Shady didn't answer his letters in time.
- "Kim": Ends with Marshall slitting Kim's throat in the woods, then the same sound effects from the beginning of "'97 Bonnie & Clyde" - namely, him dragging her corpse to a car and tossing it in the trunk.
- "Bad Guy": As if the ending of "Stan" wasn't bleak enough, this song reveals that Stan's little brother Matthew was driven insane with grief and rage after losing his big brother, and is out to kill Eminem. And he succeeds, killing both Eminem and himself in the exact same way that Stan and his girlfriend died.
- "Guilty Conscience", sort of. Dre wins in the first instance, but Slim convinces Stan to borderline rape an underage girl at a party and then, in the third vignette, brings Grady AND Dre around to the side of evil, culminating with Dre telling Grady to kill both his girlfriend and her lover.
- Dream Team: Whenever Eminem and Dr. Dre work together.
- The two of them and 50 Cent on "Encore" and "Crack a Bottle".
- Eminem and Rihanna on "Love the Way You Lie" and "The Monster".
- Eminem and Kendrick Lamar on "Love Game".
- Eminem and Dido on "Stan".
- Eminem, Lil Wayne, Drake and Kanye West on "Forever".
- Eminem and Jay-Z on "Renegade".
- Eminem and Rick Rubin (he produced Marshall Mathers 2 and appears on the video of "Berzerk").
- Eminem and Obie Trice on "Drips" (other songs with them both have more collaborators e.g. "Love Me", which also features 50 Cent).
- Eminem and P!nk on "Won't Back Down".
- Eminem and Buckshot on "Don't Front".
- Eminem and a posthumous The Notorious BIG on "Dead Wrong".
- Driven to Suicide: In the song "Stan", the title character parodies this trope by driving a car with his pregnant girlfriend over the bridge while he is drunk and on drugs sending an audio message to Eminem, who he thinks rejected him; and we hear a crash, making it a murder-suicide.
- In "Bad Guy", the same thing happens to Stan's brother Matthew, who has kidnapped Eminem for revenge. He was planning on burying Em alive, but as the cops start chasing him, he decides to just drive off a bridge and kill himself and Em, just like Stan killed himself and his girlfriend.
- Drugs Are Bad: Started out as a heavy aversion of this, leaned more and more to it as he got off his addictions.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Eminem's first album "Infinite" had more of a low-key feel and sounded more like the other hip-hop artists of the time that inspired him, and even contained less profanity. It wasn't until "The Slim Shady EP" and "The Slim Shady LP" that Eminem established his more "unique" style and his titular psychotic alter-ego, as well as more story elements in his tracks.
- Even The Slim Shady LP itself is this to an extent. Throughout most of the songs on the album, he uses a very nasal, youthful-sounding flow that he hasn't really done since. He has revisited it a couple of times, though, such as on the first verse of "Berzerk", most of "Groundhog Day", and a few sections on Relapse.
- Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Played to chilling effect in "97 Bonnie and Clyde".
- Even the Guys Want Him: In-universe, among them Stan, Ken Kaniff, and the Insane Clown Posse, who even think of him while having sex.
- Evil Matriarch: Debbie Mathers. See You Should Have Died Instead.
- Hell, "Cleaning Out My Closet" is all about this:
- "Headlights" deconstructs it big time.
- Executive Meddling: Parodied in-universe with the recurring "Steve Berman" skits, in which Berman, a foul-mouthed studio executive, constantly berates and insults Eminem for making music that is impossible to market and will never be popular. Eventually, Eminem gets so annoyed by Berman's verbal abuse that he shoots him in the chest just as he's about to shower The Emimem Show with praise. He survives.
- The reason for the existence of both "The Way I Am" and "The Real Slim Shady". Basically, when making The Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem was being pressured to make another Black Sheep Hit in the mould of "My Name Is"; something which Em didn't think he could do. So he wrote "The Way I Am" to vent his frustrations; and wrote "The Real Slim Shady" to bow down to the record company. Both were released as singles.
- Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: At the end of Stan, certainly a Fridge Horror for Eminem.
I seen this one shit on the news a couple weeks ago that made me sick.
Some dude was drunk and drove his car over a bridge,
and had his girlfriend in the trunk, and she was pregnant with his kid,
and in the car they found a tape, but they didn't say who it was to.
Come to think about, his name was... it was you.
- Face on a Milk Carton: The music video to "The Real Slim Shady" shows Eminem's Mentor Dr. Dre on a milk carton (with a very beleaguered expression) just as the lyrics go And Dr. Dre said.../Nothing you idiots! Dr. Dre's dead/He's locked in my basement!
- Fanservice: Of all kinds, he himself is a good example.
- First Name Basis: On numerous songs, Eminem refers to "Denaun" (Kon Artis, birth name Denaun Porter) and "Von" (Kuniva, birth name Von Carlisle), two fellow members of D-12. He rarely if ever refers to the other members of the group (Rufus "Bizarre" Johnson, DeShaun "Proof" Holton, and Ondre "Swift" Moore) by their given names, and it's rare in hip-hop to hear one artist refer to another by his birth name more than his rap name.
- Flanderization: Nearly every song in Relapse had Eminem doing his various phony accents.
- Flat "What.": In "Just Lose It", a male chorus's response to telling them to grab their left nuts.
- Flipping the Bird: In most of the music videos. Also, in "The Way I Am", Eminem lampshades this:
And it seems like the media immediately
Points a finger at me (finger at me)
So I point one back at them, but not the index or the pinkie
Or the ring or my thumb, it's the one you put up
When you don't give a fuck
- Freudian Trio: His alter-egos:
- Fridge Horror: In-universe example occurs in "Stan": "...come to think about it, his name was... it was you...Damn!".
- Frothy Mugs of Water: Most notably the radio edit and music video versions of "My Name Is", when the word "vodka" is replaced with "Kool-Aid" in the lyric, "I just drank a fifth of Kool-Aid, dare me to drive?"
- The bowdlerised version of "Stan", when the censors removed a scene of the title character drinking while driving and the words "drank" and "vodka".
- Gainax Ending: "Brain Damage".
- A God Am I: "Rap God".
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: "Guilty Conscience", with Dr. Dre as the good and Eminem as the bad.
- Green-Eyed Monster: He revealed that he was jealous towards Lil Wayne and Kanye West during his hiatus, as he realized they were kicking ass and he was not doing much of anything.
- Grossout Song: Several. "FACK" is a notable example, as is "Insane" - when speaking of the latter, Eminem said he wanted to make a song that made people want to puke.
- Hard Work Fallacy: "Lose Yourself".
- Heel-Face Revolving Door
- He Who Fights Monsters: Comes up near the end of "Bad Guy".
I'm the bullies you hate
That you became
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: In the video for "Cleanin' Out My Closet", Em's parents never show their faces to the camera.
- Also in the "Headlights" video, which is through the perspective of Em's mom.
- Hidden Depths: A rapper whose songs' material consists of murdering his wife, doing copious amounts of drugs, raping numerous people, and in some cases committing serial murder. And in his personal life he's banned swearing in his house and generally avoids the spotlight whenever possible. He also legally adopted and provides for his niece Alaina, stepdaughter Whitney, and his younger half-brother Nathan.
- He runs his own charity for disadvantaged youth. Also, he's a pretty good artist on top of his rap career.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Every authority figure in Slim Shady's youth either molested him, assaulted him, fed him drugs, or allowed any of the above to happen.
- Hockey Mask and Chainsaw: He dressed up this way for one of his concerts.
- Horrorcore: Many of his violently themed songs, particularly on the albums The Slim Shady LP and Relapse.
- "3 a.m.", the first track on Relapse, even begins with the line, "You're walking down a horror corridor..."
- Hurricane of Puns: The entire Recovery album is littered with corny punchlines.
- Hypocrite: From "Cleanin' Out My Closet":
Now I would never diss my own mama just to get recognition
Take a second to listen for who you think this record is dissing
- Not only that, but even before that song he had several tracks dissing his mom, such as "My Name Is", "My Mom", and "Kill You".
- Iconic Outfit: Though he stopped wearing it, his jeans, white t-shirt and bleached blond hair was quite recognizable.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Averted. Em's third album was originally going to be called The Eminem LP, but he decided he was sick of the "LP" and replaced it with "Show" - see "Theme Naming" below.
- "I Am" Song: A few, but most notably "My Name Is" and darker "The Way I Am".
- I Am the Band: Parodied in the song "My Band".
- I'm Your Biggest Fan: Stan. Oh, Stan.
- To such an extent that the name "Stan" is actually used in some communities to refer to a megasuperobsessive fan.
- Image Song: A case could be made for "Lose Yourself," considering it's the theme song to his semi-autobiographical film 8 Mile.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Lampshaded excellently in "White America":
"Look at these eyes, baby blue, baby, just like yourself. If they were brown, Shady'd lose, Shady sits on the shelf."
- Interplay of Sex and Violence: "Love the Way You Lie".
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He can be rude and assholish, but he loves his kids and friends and has never really done anything worse than insult people.
- "Crazy In Love" has shades of this as well.
- Jump Scare: One at the very end of the "3 a.m." video (not surprising), where there's a sudden cut to Em screaming before the video ends.
- Kids Are Cruel: D'Angelo Bailey, who is referenced in "Brain Damage", beat Marshall up so bad when he was 10 that he was put in a coma-and when he woke up, had to re-learn all his basic functions.
- Large Ham: Oh, my...
- Least Rhymable Word: Eminem has found rhymes for "oranges" in the song Business! Set to blow college dorm room doors of their hinges, oranges, peach, pears, plums, syringes (vroom vroom) Yeah, here I come. I'm inches away from you.
- Leitmotif: "Guess who's back. Back again. Shady's back. Tell a friend."
- Letting the Air out of the Band: "I'm On Everything" peters out this way.
- Literal Metaphor/Not Hyperbole: He would give an arm for his daughter... which is why he tattooed her face on his right arm.
- Lolicon: Amongst the pop stars that Eminem lusts after in "Ass Like That" are Hilary Duff and Jojo, both of whom were underage teenage girls at the time. The former was lampshaded by Em:
Hilary Duff is not quite old enough so I ain't ever seen a... butt
Maybe next time I'll say "ass", and she'll make my pee-pee/slinky
Do-doingg, doingg, doingg!
- Loony Fan: "Stan", who doesn't understand that the Slim Shady persona is just that.
- Lyrical Cold Open: "Kill You", "I'm Back", "Who Knew?", and "Not Afraid".
- Lyrical Dissonance: That angry voice he can make... look at such songs as "Lose Yourself" or "Mosh" (which doubles as anvilicious, but some anvils needed to be dropped.)
- If you're the sort uncomfortable with Black Comedy, the faux-Indian accent Em puts on for some songs. For the rest of us, it's bleeding hilarious.
- "My Fault" has an R&B/dance-like beat you'd hear in a club, but it's about a girl taking too many of the mushrooms Eminem gave her and later dying.
- Lyrical Tic: Some songs on MMLP2 see Em letting out a small chuckle after a certain line. It's downplayed though, as it doesn't happen as often as lyrical tics usually do.
- Mad Love: Eminem and Kim
- Man of a Thousand Voices: His voice varies in pitch and tone depending on the song.
- Manly Tears: "Nobody wanted to fuck with the white boy, Dre, I'm cryin' in this booth!"
- Masochism Tango : The history of his relationship with Kim is practically the definition of this trope
- Mentors: His is Dr. Dre.
- And Elton John, yes, really, Eminem asked him for advice on how to deal with his drug issues and Elton helped him.
- Metaphorgotten: From "Roman's Revenge":
- Mind Screw: "As The World Turns"
- Mood Whiplash: On "Kim"
[talking to Hailey] Yesterday I changed your diaper
Wiped you and powdered you.
How did you get so big?
I can't believe it now you're two
Baby you're so precious
Daddy's so proud of you
[Talking to Kim] SIT DOWN, BITCH, YOU MOVE AGAIN I'LL BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF YOU!
- And then, on The Marshall Mathers LP, the song right after this one opens with Eminem comedically slurring gibberish.
- "Mockingbird" finishes with this:
- Mohs Scale of Lyrical Hardness: Pretty high, ranking from 6 to 9. While comedic parts are common, his songs are usually profane, hateful and at times self-harming.
- Money Song: Usually used as a Take That at other artists who like to brag about their wealth.
- Mood Whiplash: In "Stan", the title character randomly segues from talking about how he idolizes Slim to his habit of slitting his wrists.
- Morality Pet: Eminem's long-standing friendship with Elton John is often cited as proof that he's not actually homophobic.
- Lampshaded on Recovery's "Untitled" "...'bout as rational as a rational fag's asshole / now take that line and run it up the flagpole with Elton / see if he's cool with it"
- Also, his daughters.
- Motor Mouth: Yes, he's prone to this.
- "Rap God" from The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is probably the best example.
- Mr. Fanservice: His good looks attracted whole new demographics to rap, and shot him to the the stardom he enjoys today. He even lampshaded it on "White America" (quoted below).
"Shady's cute, Shady knew Shady's dimples would help/Make ladies swoon, baby (ooh baby!)/Look at my sales!"
- Murder Ballad: "Kim", "3 AM", "Bad Guy".
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Would you trust a guy named Slim Shady?
- Never My Fault: Before his full recovery, he had a habit of blaming his mother and ex-wife for his misfortunes in his life.
- New Sound Album: Production style switched to a more cinematic high end sound beginning with The Eminem Show.
- Non-Actor Vehicle: "8 Mile".
- N-Word Privileges: He doesn't get them.
- Obsession Song: "Stan".
- Odd Friendship: With Elton John.
- Ode To Sobriety: "Not Afraid", which is about him finally kicking his addictions.
- Older Than They Look: He's 42 as of 2014 and still looks pretty good◊, probably somewhere in his mid-to-late 20's. This is especially impressive considering his battle with drugs and stress from raising two kids. He certainly looks older than he did before the overdose, though, and you can see his minor signs of aging in recent videos.
- One Man Song: Stan
- One Woman Song: Kim, Hailie.
- Papa Wolf: Very, very protective of his beloved daughter Hailie. And although his Berserk Button has yet to be publicly pressed on the matter, he's very clear about the strong devotion he feels towards his three legally adopted children (niece Alaina, stepdaughter Whitney, and little brother Nathan) as well.
- Quite simply, questioning or doubting Eminem's protective tendencies toward any of his children would be very unwise or downright stupid. Which Ja Rule learned the hard way...
- The Parody: Eminem takes sheer delight in parodying other celebrities, often in a mean-spirited way: Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Moby, Christina Aguilera, Dick Cheney, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush., Shaggy, Osama bin Laden, ... Ironically he once vetoed a request of "Weird Al" Yankovic to spoof one of his own videos.
- The Perfectionist: According to a Snoop Dogg interview regarding artists signed to Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment (quoted on Dre's Wikipedia Page), Dr. Dre is incredibly perfectionistic and demanding, often making recording artists redo their verses over and over until they get it right. According to the same interview, Snoop declares that Em is a perfectionist himself, making his work ethic gel very well with Dre's.
- Perpetual Frowner: Even when he wins awards, or is otherwise honored in some way or another, he never loses that permanent tough guy look he always wears.
- Pet the Dog: His homage to his home city of Detroit. Also his relationship with his daughter.
- In the final verses of "Stan", Marshall shows a caring and compassionate side almost completely absent in most of his work.
- Please Wake Up: How "My Fault" ends.
- Professional Wrestling: A few references both in his own work and to him as well.
- "Marshall Mathers" includes the line "I'm not a wrestler guy."
- "Without Me" includes the line "The best thing since wrestling."
- The video for "Berzerk" includes a clip of Mad Man Pondo using the Stop Sign Smash on an opponent.
- In the NWA Anarchy promotion in Georgia, there is a wrestler with an Eminem gimmick called Slim J. There is also a Texas-based independent wrestler named Slam Shady.
- Protest Song: "Mosh", aimed at then-U.S President George W. Bush.
- "White America" has aspects of this, too.
- Psychopathic Manchild: One could make a case for Slim Shady, with his Ax-Crazy behavior and juvenile sense of humor.
- Also Matthew Mitchell, as a result of the events of "Stan"; as "Bad Guy" proves.
- Real Life Writes the Song: A large chunk of his songs are all about himself and personal problems with his family.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Eminem is the vulgar, psychopathic, Red Oni also known as Evil who raps about smacking women, serial killings, drug use and rape. Royce is the crude, but somewhat smooth (when compared to Em anyways), Blue Oni also known as Bad who raps about gunplay, his rap skills, and taking your girl. It also helps that Em is usually casually dressed while Royce is in Gucci and other nice clothes.
- Refuge in Audacity: Oh yeah. He even acknowledged it in "The Real Slim Shady":
"The only difference is I got the balls to say it"
- Sad Clown: Calls himself one in "Beautiful".
- Sanity Slippage: "Stan", in which the first three verses consist of increasingly deranged letters from the Loony Fan of the song's title.
- Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Whenever it fits in the verse. Recurring instances include "blaow" (gunshot) and "vin-vin" (chainsaw motor)
- The Scottish Trope: Discussed and invoked on "Like Toy Soldiers.
I even went my whole career without mentioning-
- Self-Deprecation: Off of "We Made You":
- Whenever he pairs himself with Dr Dre, he makes comparisons to Batman and Robin. And he's Robin. The Golden Age era Robin.
- Self-Titled Album: His third and fourth albums, which would put him in Weezer territory...
- And his latest effort, The Marshall Mathers LP 2.
- Shirtless Scene: In many of his music videos.
- Shout-Out: He is a comic book nerd. In the "Without Me" music video and others, Eminem dresses up in a Robin-esque costume and becomes "Rap-Boy" to save the day, preventing underage kids from listening to his controversial songs alone without parental advisory! There's a lot of shots on Eminem's crotch, by the way. his "Backwards E" logo is used as the Robin symbol, and he uses the recurring depiction to show himself as the sidekick to Dr. Dre's Batman-esque hero. A similar shoutout pops up on the Eminem Show in the track "Business", where Dr. Dre and Eminem play an Adam West-style intro ("To the Rapmobile!").
- He does the same schtick with 50 Cent on another album, playing "Robbin" to his "Gatman".
- From "As The World Turns" (Slim Shady LP): "Just trying to buy me some time, then I remembered this magic trick / Den Den Den Den DEN DEN, Go Go Gadget Dick!"
- "Stay Wide Awake" opens with him saying "Welcome to the dark side of the force"
- "Berserk" is partially an homage to the Beastie Boys' style of rap, even using samples from them. The rest is a Genre Throwback to all sorts of 90s-style rap, ranging from NWA to Public Enemy.
- "Rhyme or Reason" includes a number of Star Wars references; including him rapping as Yoda.
- The video to "Rap God" has Eminem appearing as Max Headroom and Pinhead, as well as an homage to Portal.
- Let's not forget "Cold Wind Blows" and its references:
Ya'll are sitting ducks, I'm the only goose standing
"Oh bitches don't like that, homie I'll be nicer to women
- Sick and Wrong: Paul Rosenberg (Em's manager)'s track on Relapse has him blasting Em for his Christopher Reeve impression on the track "Medicine Ball" ("You know the guy's dead, right?") and expressing disgust at the content of "Insane" ("And the whole gay stepfather incest rape thing? I don't have your back on this one. I can't even fuckin' handle it. I'm done.").
- Silliness Switch: "Without Me", "Just Lose It", "Ass Like That", "We Made You".
- Especially the video to "Without Me", where he's dressed in Adam West-era Robin-esque outfit. (made even funnier as Dr. Dre is only in black and shades, because he *refused* to get dressed as Batman...)
- Something Completely Different: Appears to have been the intention when he sings the majority of "Hailie's Song". However he's sung the chorus (at least) of a fair number of his songs since, most notably "Not Afraid" and "Beautiful".
- Singer Namedrop: Though he usually namedrops "Shady\Slim Shady" or "Marshall" instead of Eminem.
- Spiritual Successor: "Drug Ballad" to "Cum On Everybody".
- Soundtrack Dissonance: "'97 Bonnie & Clyde". Which manages at the same time to be unbelievably sweet and unbelievably scary at the same time.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: See Ensemble Darkhorse in the YMMV tab.
- Stalker with a Crush: "Stan" is a rare male/male version. Not only is there "My girlfriend's jealous 'cos I talk about you 24/7", but Stan also says that he and Eminem should be together. The video actually shows Stan taking a photo of himself and his girlfriend and covering her up with a picture of Eminem cut out of a magazine.
- Stop and Go: "Don't Front" does this after the line, "Let insults fly every 60 seconds that go by so you know I MEANT IT!"
- Stuffy Old Songs About the Buttocks: "Ass Like That" and "Shake That".
- Sugar and Ice Personality
- Super Bowl Special: For Chrysler in 2011.
- Take That: To just about everyone, including himself.
- Take That, Audience!: The "public service announcement" at the beginning of The Marshall Mathers LP proudly informs listeners that "by purchasing this album, you have just kissed [Eminem's] ass."
- That Came Out Wrong: Lampshaded on "Evil Deeds":
''What do I look like, a comedian to you/Do you think that I'm kidding/What do I look like, some kind of idi—/Wait a minute, shit, don't answer that."
- That Man Is Dead: In "Soldier:"
Through this pen, motherfuckers know I'll never be Marshall again!
- Theme Naming: His six major-label albums have been released with paired titles: the two LPs dealing with Slim Shady and Marshall Mathers, The Eminem Show and its Encore (you could also count Curtain Call in here), and the cycle of Relapse and Recovery (which was originally Relapse 2). And now that Em's recovered, he's ready to begin anew, with a second LP dealing with Marshall Mathers.
- The Re-Up may also fit in with the latter, as it was released before Relapse.
- This Is a Song: From "Not Afraid":
I shouldn't have to rhyme these words in a rhythm for you to know it's a RAP!
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!:
- "Go to sleep, bitch!"note
- "SHUT UP, BITCH! I'M TRYING TO TALK!note
- "Berzerk" does it thrice:
Let's bring it back to that vintage Slim, BITCH!
The art of emceeing mixed with da Vinci and MC Ren
Been public enemy since you thought PE was gym, BITCH!
- "Kim" features quite a few of these.
- Token White: One of the few white rappers successful in a music genre where the majority of the artists are black.
- Averted since his comeback. Mac Miller and Yelawolf (himself on Shady/Aftermath) are examples of other successful white rappers. Though Eminem is probably still the most well-known.
- Trapped in a Sinking Car: In "Stan", Stan purposely drives his car off a bridge into a body of water, drowning himself and his pregnant girlfriend (who he has locked in the trunk).
- Truth in Television: Rihanna is featured in the song and video for "Love the Way You Lie" — which deals, naturally, with domestic violence.
- Updated Re-release: A non-video game version, for Relapse: Refill.
- Urban Legends: Discussed in "Stan" when the title character talks about the misinterpretation of the lyric of Phil Collins' song "In the Air Tonight".
- Villain Protagonist: "3AM" and the whole Slim Shady persona in general.
- Villain Song: Often combined with The Villain Sucks Song. Sorta.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The video for "Just Lose It" has Eminem vomiting on Michael Jackson in a public bathroom, and Bobby Lee vomits twice (once as Sulu) in the video for "We Made You."
- Wham Line: The end of "25 To Life" reveals that he was talking about hip hop, not Kim.
- And roughly halfway through "Bad Guy," when it's revealed that it's not about Marshall Mathers coming to kill Kim for the umpteenth time, but Stan's brother Matthew coming to kill Marshall Mathers. And it's the first track on the album.
- From "Kill You": "Just bend over and take it like a slut, OKAY MA?"
- Wholesome Crossdresser: While wholesome is arguable, he does dress as a woman in his music videos.
- Window Pain: Used for a rather harsh Pun in "Love the Way You Lie":
But you lied again; now you get to watch her leave out the window
Guess that's why they call it window pane/pain
- Wisdom from the Gutter: In the early years, Slim Shady was a font of this.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: "Lose Yourself" and many of the tracks of Recovery.
- Would Hurt a Child: The story told in "'97 Bonnie and Clyde" and its prequel "Kim" has Eminem not only killing Kim and her new husband... but their four-year-old son as well. The line "There's a four-year-old boy laying dead with a slit throat, in your living room!" in "Kim" was censored on the official release.
- Wretched Hive: "Amityville".
- Yandere: A rare male example in "Kim." Although Eminem repeatedly states his extreme hatred for his ex-wife in the song, it is also pretty clearly implied that he remains obsessed with her and that at least part of his anger is out of jealousy that she left him for another man:
"YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO LOVE ME!!!"
- "Love the Way You Lie" may also qualify, this time involving a mutual Yandere relationship.
- You Can Panic Now
- You Should Have Died Instead: His mom told him this after his beloved uncle died, as we can hear in "Cleaning Out My Closet":
"Remember when Ronnie died and you said you wished it was me?
Well, guess what? I am dead, dead to you as can be!"
Official Fan Page https://eminemking.com/
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