YMMV / Eminem

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Those for and against him alike can't quite figure out whether he "really means it" or not. He's generally more intelligent and sensitive than his loudest detractors would admit, but still angrier and sicker than his younger fans' parents would like.
    • Some of his more outlandish and outrageous lyrics and songs reach the point of parody, whether they are or not is debatable.
  • Award Snub:
    • The Marshall Mathers LP got awards left and right and is widely regarded as one of the best rap albums ever. Yet when it came time to award the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, it had two acclaimed rock albums to combat: Steely Dan's Two Against Nature and Radiohead's Kid A. The Academy chose the Steely Dan album, apparently because it was a safer choice than a rap album or an experimental rock album.
    • Inversely, at least early in his mainstream career, he seemed to win awards in rap categories by default.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: "The Kids". The song is all about Eminem turning up as a supply teacher at a school and teaching children about the dangers of drugs... the most dangerous of which is the fact that they poison squirrels.
    • Near the start of "Lose Yourself", he includes the lyric "Mom's Spaghetti" in the midst of describing someone's nervous breakdown. It's meant to connect with the previous line, "There's vomit on his sweater already" as just a way of saying that the rapper in question threw up his mother's spaghetti that he ate earlier. This was lost on many, however, and the perceived randomness of the line has caused it to go memetic.
  • Bile Fascination: This is how he got a lot of his early audience, since he started his career in that transition period where people were getting tired of Gangsta Rap but hadn't fully embraced Crunk/Club Rap yet. He tended to alternate between Black Comedy and songs about killing women, and stuff you could dance to or was meant to be remixed.
  • Contested Sequel: Encore to The Eminem Show, Revival to Relapse and Recovery. Averted with The Marshal Mathers LP 2, since it is a return to form and on par with MMLP, some saying it is better the first LP
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Many of his jokes are of this sort. In fact, he outright admitted he was trying for this with the Christopher Reeve impersonation on "Medicine Ball."
    I guess it's time for you to hate me again
    Let's begin, now hand me my pen
  • Dork Age: Many agree that he has had one, though it is contested when it started and ended (if it even has ended). Encore and Revival are the most obvious targets for indications of this time period, both being his most reviled albums. Some include Relapse and Recovery in this period, and others even see The Eminem Show as a downplayed example of this, with many regarding it as being OK but a mile away from the glory of The Slim Shady LP and The Marshall Mathers LP.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Despite his rude behavior, his extreme harshness towards others, and his homophobic and sexist lyrics (at least, how a lot of people interpreted them to be), he was still one of the top artists of the '00s and loved by teenage girls. He isn't at all villainous, however he is a controversial figure to most who just can't understand the overlooking.
    • He lampshades this in the lyrics for "The Real Slim Shady":
    Feminist women love Eminem
    Chicka-chicka Slim Shady, I'm sick of him
    Look at him, walking around, grabbing his you-know-what
    Flippin' the you-know-who
    Yeah, but he's so cute though
  • Ear Worm: Put on an Eminem song - any Eminem song. Chances are it stays stuck "in your head for days and days".
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: There are many people who like Eminem, but can't stand rap in general, making him an Ensemble Darkhorse for the entire rap genre. It's mainly because he's white, and he tends to have a more aggressive and technical approach than most rappers at his popularity level.
    • He commonly overshadows other artists such as Rihanna, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and even Jay-Z (whether Em was actually better on Renegade than Hov can be debated, but the reviews said Em's verse was superior) when collaborating with them. Hell, he outshone Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Drake all on one song, "Forever", showing that Shady was indeed back.
    • "Like Toy Soldiers," "Mockingbird," "Yellow Brick Road", and "Mosh" are the only tracks on Encore that most people like to remember.
    • Among rap fans, he is the Ensemble Darkhorse of mainstream hip hop.
  • Face of the Band: He's the only recognizable member of D12 (though new fans might come to remember Bizarre, who stands out for being The Fat One and having the most out there lyrics). Lampshaded with the D12 song "My Band", in which the other D12 members bitch about the situation (and Em brags about it).
    • Similarly, to many people the hip-hop duo Bad Meets Evil consists of Eminem, and that black dude who hangs out with Eminem (Royce da 5'9").
  • Fan Nickname: In the wake of "Rap God"'s release, fans and stans alike have begun to address him as such, saying things along the lines of, "Eminem is the Rap God!"
  • Fandom Rivalry: Eminem fans vs. the fans of pretty much anyone who has ever feuded with Eminem, including Juggalos, Cage fans, Everlast fans, Esham fans, etc.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Some of his fans prefer to forget anything that he did after Encore.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment
    • Encore's "One Shot 2 Shot" has Em and D12 rapping about a shooting at a D12 concert. Proof's death two years later made this song even scarier than it already was. Even scarier is that despite Proof being alive at the time, he wasn't even on the song, which could mean that in the song's story, he did get shot.
    • A lesser, more humerus example: "My Band" by D12 revolves entirely around how they're only known by the general public as "Eminem's group." It ended up being their biggest hit. Self-Fulfilling Prophecy much?
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The video for Like Toy Soldiers (released in early 2005 as a single), which depicts Proof dying of gunshot wounds. Proof was shot to death about a year later.
    • As mentioned above in "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, "One Shot 2 Shot" became this when Proof of D12 was killed in a shooting at a nightclub in 2006.
    • Not to mention Kim, an already disturbing song about Eminem murdering his then wife Kim, is made a bit more disturbing when in Love The Way You Lie he reveals they were both mutually abusive towards each other.
      BBC Radio 1: "This is not an autobiographical lyric [...] It's one of Eminem's flights of fancy, albeit one into a very real situation. Clearly he understands the psychology well, and can express the feelings with enormous clarity. Rihanna's role in all of this is interesting though."
    • Most of his songs about partying and drugs, especially "Drug Ballad", become this in light of his overdose.
    • In "Fast Lane", Royce Da 5'9" says "You let me take a shovel, dig up the corpse of Jack Kevorkian". Jack died exactly one month later.
    • There are several nods to Amy Winehouse in "We Made You" that are really hard to listen to after the latter's death.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: During the third verse in "Without Me" Eminem takes a shot at Moby, claiming "Nobody listens to Techno!" Several years later, Kesha, Lady Gaga and other techno-based artists take over the charts, though techno was popular in the 1990s too, as Moby's Play (1999) was a gigantic success even then. Just as hilariously, the year "Without Me" came out (2002), Kylie Minogue and her electro-poppy "Cant Get You Out of My Head" take over the charts worldwide, as — of course — does Moby with "We Are All Made of Stars."
    • Also, Eminem is dressed up like Robin in the music video for "Without Me". 13 years later, the Robin of Batman: Arkham Knight has a Comic-Book Fantasy Casting when he looks like Eminem in the similar look and feel.
    • Becomes equally hilarious as the "Rapmobile" in the Without Me video is a Lamborghini Murcielago (Spanish for "bat"). In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne himself would drive a Murcielago.
    • Perhaps doubles as Harsher in Hindsight, but in his earlier years on a major label, he would regularly trash the notion of himself as a positive role model, most prominently on "Role Model" where he sarcastically asks "Don't you wanna grow up to be just like me?" He would later go on to adopt three children, kick a drug habit that had its grip on him for longer than he'd been signed, and found a charity for disadvantaged youth.
    • In "My 1st Single," Eminem suggests The Source would be so low as to find journalistic merit in child pornography. In 2004, this was a horrible accusation to make of anyone. In 2016... not so much.
  • He Really Can Act: In 8 Mile.
  • Ho Yay: Memorably in the Dr. Dre song "What's the Difference", "I love you dawg." Though he did mean it in a father-son sort of way. Him and 50 Cent though...
    • Also in "My Dad's Gone Crazy", "All this time me and Dre have been fuckin' with hats off!" ...in a song in which he unfavorably compares retiring as a musician to a lifetime of performing cunnilingus.
    • Retroactively taken to new levels with Proof in several songs on Recovery, most notably "You're Never Over". Apparently they had pet names for each other...
    • "Just Lose It" is full of Accidental Public Confessions.
    Now I'm gonna make you dance
    It's your chance
    Yeah, boy; shake that ass
    Oops, I mean girl
    Girl, girl, girl...
    • Both "Stan" and its follow up "Bad Guy" has this with both Stan and Matthew's obsession with Eminem. Also cross with Foe Yay considering their subject matter. What worse is that Matthew starts off in "Stan" as a 6 years old.
    • Not to mention "Lighters":
    And pardon me if I'm a cocky prick but you cocks are slick
    Who you dicks try to kid, flipped dick, you did the opposite
    You stayed the same, cause cock backwards is still cock you pricks
    I love it when I tell em shove it
  • Hype Aversion: More cynical listeners believe Eminem's success is 30% talent and 70% because he's white, and that critics treat him as if he single-handedly invented hip-hop.
    • In some interviews (and stated in "White America") he kinda agrees with that cynical opinion.
  • It Was His Sled: Everyone knows the the twist from Stan.
    • And by now, the reveal of whose perspective "Bad Guy" is from has shown up in every review of The Marshall Mathers LP 2.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Many of Eminem's guest verses on songs have helped make them more popular, such as "I Need A Doctor" by Dr. Dre or "Smack That" by Akon. Inversely, two of his songs ("Love The Way You Lie" and "The Monster") only became hits because of Rihanna.
  • Memetic Badass: Eminem is this to his fans, who consider him untouchable and relish every instance of Em ending a beef with a savage diss track.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Where the fuck is Kanye when you need him? Snatch the mike from 'em, bitch, Imma let you finish..."
    • In some corners of the internet, 'stan' and 'stanning' are terms for hardcore fanning. Mostly used in jest.
      • A lot of those places have been using it so long that the original meaning/origin is often completely unknown to people.
      • Many rappers have referred to Eminem's "Stan", like Nas on "Ether" (you a fake, a phony, a pussy, a Stan) and Lupe Fiasco on "Lu Myself" (Like Stan, I'mma stand till it answers me).
    • Rearranging the lyrics of "Lose Yourself"; in particular, spamming the line "Mom's spaghetti".
    • Guess who's back...back again? [X] is back. Tell a friend.
    • Two to the one to the one to the three, I like good pussy and I like good trees...
    • "Still waiting for 'My Salsa'."note 
  • Misaimed Fandom: "Stan" has become a term to describe sick, obsessed fans... and Eminem's fandom.
  • One-Scene Wonder: His guest appearances have a habit of outshining the host artist, like in Drake's song "Forever".
    • Or on "Drop the World" from the Lil Wayne rock album Rebirth. Most people weren't fans of the album, except for the song Em was on.
      • Judging by the sales on-line, his appearance in "That's All She Wrote" on T.I.'s latest album is being viewed the same way.
    • His duet with Jay-Z, "Renegade", is the most literal example of this trope: Em's the only guest on the whole album. This was even lampshaded by Nas during his feud with Jay, saying "Eminem murdered you on your own shit!" The ironic thing is that his verses were prerecorded before Jay-Z got a hold of the track. It was originally supposed to be a Royce da 5'9" songnote .
    • His cameo in The Interview is one of the more memorable scenes in the film.
  • Sampled Up: Results tend to be Awesome, as shown by:
  • Seasonal Rot: Apparently, there are some who think Eminem's music was better before he kicked the drug habit.
  • Sequel Displacement: Go ask someone what Eminem's first album was.note 
  • Signature Song: "My Name Is" (and possibly "The Real Slim Shady") for the post Infinite period, "Lose Yourself" for the post-The Eminem Show period.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: For the fans who were disappointed in Encore and Relapse, Recovery was a significant step forward in quality. Given how poorly Eminem thought of the albums himself in some Recovery tracks, he feels the same.
  • True Art Is Angsty: Cracked notes here that "As [Eminem] gets his life together his songs sound more and more like remixes and covers of the old ones. He'll never do 'Bonnie & Clyde' again."
    • Averted in the case of his more humorous songs, if one looks mainly at the songs themselves and not at Em's state of mind when he composed them.
  • Vindicated by History:
    • While it was mocked for its heavy inspiration from Nas' style and its sales were non-existent, people who listen to Infinite nowadays find itů really not that bad at all. While Marshall himself still views it as a Old Shame, he did celebrate the album's 20th anniversary by releasing a remixed version of the title track.
    • Opinions on Relapse have become less negative over the years, and today many consider it better than Recovery and MMLP2 (and obviously, better than Encore). Ironic as the album was subject to Creator Backlash soon after it came out.
    • Recovery is an inversion. When it was first released, it was seen as a solid comeback and an improvement over both Encore and Relapse. However, it has garnered criticism overtime for its commercial-sounding production and lack of variation. It's not at all hard to find people who view it as his worst album. This holds true for a handful of people even after the release of Revival, which is generally considered to be his weakest record since Encore.
  • "Weird Al" Effect: "Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?" is actually derived from the 1960s/70s game show To Tell the Truth's catchphrase "Will the real [person's name] please stand up?", used to reveal the true mystery guest. The song itself contains a few lines that parody a couple of contemporary songs like "The Bum Bum Song" and "The Bad Touch", which have largely been forgotten today.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Anybody else thinks it's a little strange to hear him on the same song as Hayley Williams?
    • Considering the popularity of "Airplanes," maybe not.
    • On that note, a song featuring Bruno Mars? As shown on the song itself ("Lighters"), it's quite a big contrast.
    • Most examples of this (him working with Fun., with P!nk!, with Akon) etc. are proof that Tropes Are Not Bad.
    • The general fan consensus regarding Revival is more or less this. While people such as Skylar Grey and X Ambassadors are familiar collaborators to most, fans were particularly shocked to see the likes of Alicia Keys, P!nk, Kehlani, and especially Ed Sheeran on the tracklist, with not a single rap artist appearing as a guest star.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Recovery was designed to be one after the poor reception to Encore and Relapse. Whether he succeeded is up for debate.
    • The Marshall Mathers LP 2 was this to those who were unsatisfied with Recovery's more somber tone and sometimes heavy-handed lyrics, instead opting to go back to the more slightly more wicked and slick tone of The Slim Shady LP and The Marshall Mathers LP, while still retaining the lightning-fast flow he showcased in Hell: The Sequel and parts of Recovery.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: The sudden 180 he did on his public persona during the campaign and release for Revival smacks of this. In particular, he went back on many of the most controversial themes of his work, from his feelings about his failed marriage to his pride in his success.
    • His collaborative work with many pop artists and moving away from collaborations with other rappers, which entered full force with Recovery, has elements of this too - see WTH, Casting Agency? above.
  • The Woobie: Let's face it, he's been through some bad stuff.