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 even if other (read: black) artists were more deserving that year.
  • 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.
    • In the midst of "Lose Yourself", he includes the lyric "Mom's Spaghetti" in the midst of describing someone's nervous breakdown. It's never explained what the Hell he's talking about (though it could be connected to 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). The 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. The main page already explains it well enough.
  • 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."
  • 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
  • Dude, Not Funny!:
    • Michael Jackson did not take well towards Eminem making fun of him in his Just Lose It music video. The backlash even resulted in B.E.T. pulling the video from airwaves.
    • Ass Like That, in which Em pretends to be Triumph The Insult Comic Dog and imagines him committing several sexual offenses, most of them involving minors.
  • 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 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, 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.
  • Fan Dumb: Eminem "Stans" can get really annoying sometimes. Especially when you see them commenting on almost every rap video, even ones that Eminem wasn't even in!
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 world wide, as — of course — does Moby with "We Are All Made of Stars."
    • 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.
  • 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...
    • 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.
  • Hype Backlash: "Recovery" was hailed by fans and media as a return to form when it came out, but now it's considered among Em's weakest albums; "still better than "Recovery"" was heard from many MMLP2 reviewers in 2013.
  • 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.
  • Jumping the Shark: For those who believe his drug addiction killed his rap talent permanently.
  • 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 Skylar Grey or "Smack That" by Akon. Inversely, two of his songs only became hits because of Rihanna.
  • Love It or Hate It: The reaction to his entire career has been this trope from the beginning. Either Eminem is a humorous, visceral breath of fresh air in hip hop, or he's an incredibly destructive personality that managed to get a worldwide audience.
    • Much of his post-8 Mile work has gotten this reaction. Either Eminem's drug addiction completely destroyed his ability to make good music, he goes for technical skill at the expense of good songwriting, his music sounds corny and he has nothing new to say anymore, or he has continued to put out good music from his comeback onwards. The perceived Lighter and Softer tone of Recovery and his tendency to work with singers like Rihanna have also been very divisive.
  • Magnum Opus: Eminem has two: "Stan" and "Lose Yourself". They're his most critically acclaimed songs, with the former regularly appearing on "Greatest ____ Songs Lists" and the latter won him an Academy Award.
  • 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".
  • Misaimed Fandom/Comically Missing the Point: "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. 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 .
  • 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.
  • They Just Didn't Care: Another common theory among haters of Encore.
  • Too Soon: In the Benzino diss rap The Invasion Part 1, released in 2004, Eminem tempted the fates with an irreverent 9/11 joke. "But if you even considering takin' our label down/You better find our building and fly a fucking plane into it."
  • 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.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: "Murder, Murder" off The Slim Shady EP. The second stanza sees him looting a house for, among other things, a Nintendo 64 (to sell it at triple the price once shops run out) and some Beanie Babies.
    • "The Real Slim Shady" off The Marshall Mathers LP references the whole Napster crisis, which was a very hot issue around the Turn of the Millennium but has been largely forgotten ever since.
    • It could be argued that a lot of Eminem records are firmly rooted in the time period they were released.
  • "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.
  • 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.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Recovery.
    • 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.
  • The Woobie/Jerkass Woobie: Let's face it, he's been through some bad stuff.