Black Sheep Hit: While the majority of Eminem's music deals with dark and brooding topics, usually about his personal life, he also has a habit of always releasing at least one "joke" song on each album that mocks pop culture and celebrity gossip. Because of the more lighthearted tones of these tracks, they often serve as the lead singles to his albums and, as a result, are some of his more popular and well-known songs:
"My Name Is" from The Slim Shady LP
"The Real Slim Shady" from The Marshall Mathers LP
"Without Me" from The Eminem Show
"Just Lose It" and "Ass Like That" from Encore
"We Made You" from Relapse
Averted finally on Recovery, which consists entirely of sober and serious subject matter.
The Marshall Mathers LP 2 mixes the two styles.
Breakaway Pop Hit: "Lose Yourself" was this for 8 Mile. Though 8 Mile was not obscure, "Lose Yourself" completely outstripped it. It won Eminem an Academy Award (the first ever for a hip-hop song), remains his best-selling single, and was ranked at #166 on Rolling Stone's Top 500 Songs of All-Time.
Colbert Bump: Pleasant English singer/songwriter Dido went global after Em sampled part of her "Thank You" for "Stan".
Creator Backlash: He became so sick of "My Name Is" that after a while, he would only play snippets of it at his concerts - often stopping the song to declare that he was sick of it. He lampshades this in "The Way I Am."
Judging by "Headlights", he's not too fond of "Cleanin' Out My Closet" these days. Or any of his potshots at his mother, for that matter.
Executive Meddling: The Marshall Mathers LP was 100% complete before Eminem was forced to add one more track, per request by the Interscope Records execs. They wanted a Spiritual Successor to the zany pop anthem "My Name Is" for the lead in radio single. As we all know, the result was "The Real Slim Shady". The song's intent is quite obvious, since it doesn't sound like anything else on the entire album. Interestingly enough, Eminem went through a mountain of writer's block to reach that point, and he let out his surmounting frustration with the vitriolic (though excellent) "The Way I Am". According to Em, his displeasure with being typecast by the higher ups fueled a brief feud between him and Interscope, which nearly got him kicked off the label.
Mean Character, Nice Actor: While he's had some evil moments outside the stage, Marshall is a caring father, and both Dido and Elton John expressed shock in seeing he's more sympathetic than he looked\sounded as Slim Shady.
Old Shame: Infinite and the songs with racial slurs on them that were uncovered qualify. On the topic of Infinite, Eminem explained that he hadn't really found his own style yet, that he sounded like a Nas wannabe, and that it felt more like a demo tape that got released than a proper debut album. And about the racial slurs, he's apologized about them, and even made a song on the Encore album, "Yellow Brick Road", that discusses them.
He tends to take this view towards "Relapse." It's not an album he regrets making, but he doesn't feel it's up to par with the rest of his catalog, due in part to the fact he was stuck in a mindset throughout and in part to the repeated usage of fake accents.
Production Posse: Expect Dr. Dre and Paul Rosenberg (his manager) to have some involvement in any new music; and expect features from Royce da 5'9', 50 Cent (though he's been absent from Em's last 2 albums), Skylar Grey, The New Royales and/or Rihanna.
Reclusive Artist: A downplayed case. He's never been very comfortable with the spotlight and nowadays tends to stay away from most publicity, preferring to stay in Detroit when he's not working on his music. In fact, when "Lose Yourself" was nominated for an Oscar, he was at home dead asleep when the song won.
What Could Have Been: Allegedly, Eminem wanted to collaborate with the Detroit rap group House Of Krazees, but plans fell through. Two of the members in the group formed Twiztid, who Eminem ended up dissing for unrelated reasons.
He was originally planned to play the lead in Elysium, but the idea was dropped when filming in Detroit wasn't permitted to the crew.
Before he decided on rapping, he wanted to make comic books. To that end, he picked up quite a bit of skill as an artist.
"Hailie's Song" was not intended for public release—Dr. Dre talked him into it after playing it for his friends.
The Marshall Mathers LP was considered complete before "The Way I Am" or "Real Slim Shady," however, the higher-ups didn't feel it had much in the way of single-worthy material.