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Music / Eminem

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Influences: Esham, Kool G Rap, Ice-T, LL Cool J, Beastie Boys, Run–D.M.C.
Influenced: Logic, Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran, J Cole, Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd, Chance the Rapper, Juice WRLD, and many, many more

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 note , AKA Slim Shady (born 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, 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 or Jay-Z.

Angry, poor, in a rocky relationship with his wife and with a new baby daughter to feed, Eminem made another EP in 1997—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 superstardom. 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 than his previous albums, being 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 nr. 244 of Rolling Stone's 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, 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 famously complex lyrics were often dumbed down to simpler levels, the beats felt less creative and polished, and many of the songs resorted to juvenile humour to carry them. (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 territory.

After Encore 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 constant overuse of his Triumph-The-Insult-Comic-Dog-Voice from "Ass Like That", tired celebrity-bashing 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. Praise for this album has increased in retrospect, with many believing it to be a horrorcore masterpiece, praising the production, rhyming, storytelling, and unbridled creativity. It has achieved a near cult-classic status amongst his fanbase.

His next album was set to be a direct sequel to Relapse, 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 Relapse. And like all of his albums, it was greeted with very strong sales. Criticism, however, arose from what some saw as poor, commercial production and delivery.

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. His technical prowess on the album is considered an all time high, but some criticised the lack of consistent sound or thematic development across the album.

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 first dropped.

In late October 2017, after two freestyles ("Campaign Speech" and "The Storm"), an ad campaign for a falsified drug called "Revival" began being spread by affiliates of Interscope Records. Considering its references to many of Em's songs, its claim to treat the non-existing condition "atrox rithimus" (Latin for "terrible rhyme"), and the fact that its logo contained Em's trademark reversed E, many speculated this to be the name of his upcoming album. On November 8, the single "Walk on Water" was released, and a circulating release date of November 17 proved to be false once the day passed. However, on November 28, Dr. Dre posted a video on his Instagram that officially announced that not only was the "Revival" drug fake, but it was indeed the name of Em's new album, released on December 15 to...mixed reactions.

His tenth album Kamikaze was released on August 31, 2018 without prior announcement, which he teased a day prior with a snippet of a new song he wrote for Venom (2018). On January 17, 2020, he released his eleventh album Music to Be Murdered By—again without prior announcement. 11 months later, his twelfth album Music to Be Murdered By: Side B came out on December 18, 2020, reissued with its predecessor as a deluxe double album - once again, with no prior announcement.

  • 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)
    • "I'm Back"
    • "Bitch Please II" (feat. Dr. Dre, Xzibit, Snoop Dogg & Nate Dogg)
  • The Eminem Show (2002)
    • "Without Me"
    • "Cleanin' Out My Closet"
    • "Superman"
    • "Sing for the Moment"
    • "Business"
  • 8 Mile soundtrack (2002)
    • "Lose Yourself"
  • Encore (2004)
    • "Just Lose It"
    • "Mosh"
    • "Encore" (feat. Dr. Dre & 50 Cent)
    • "Like Toy Soldiers"
    • "Mockingbird"
    • "Ass Like That"
  • Curtain Call: The Hits (2005)
    • "When I'm Gone"
    • "Shake That" (feat. Nate Dogg)
  • Relapse (2009)
    • "Crack a Bottle" (feat. Dr. Dre & 50 Cent)
    • "We Made You"
    • "3 a.m."
    • "Beautiful"
  • Recovery (2010)
    • "Not Afraid"
    • "Love The Way You Lie" (feat. Rihanna)
    • "No Love" (feat. Lil Wayne)
    • "Space Bound"
  • The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013)
    • "Berserk"
    • "Survival" (feat. Liz Rodrigues)
    • "Rap God"
    • "The Monster" (feat. Rihanna)
    • "Headlights" (feat. Nate Ruess)
  • Revival (2017)
  • Kamikaze (2018)
    • "Fall"
    • "Lucky You" (feat. Joyner Lucas)
    • "Venom"
  • Music to Be Murdered By (2020)
    • "Darkness"
    • "Godzilla"
  • Music to Be Murdered By: Side B (2020)
    • "Gnat"

"Won't the real Slim Shady's Tropes please stand up?":

  • Abusive Parents: Claims his mother was one, and reference this a lot in his songs, mostly suffering from Munchausen by Proxy where she would intentionally make him sick to gain sympathy. She filed a lawsuit against him. Em references this in "Cleanin' Out my Closet."
  • Accidental Public Confession:
    • In "Just Lose it".
    Now I'm gonna make you dance
    It's your chance
    Yeah, boy; shake that ass
    Oops, I mean girl
    Girl, girl, girl...
  • 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, as well as his real name Marshall Mathers. It's where the stage name Eminem comes from.
    • The character Ken Kaniff.
  • 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 and shoots himself in the head.
  • 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".
    I spit when I talk, I'll fuck anything that walks
  • Apologetic Attacker: In "Cleanin' Out My Closet". Kind of.
    I'm sorry, Mama.
  • April Fools' Day: The day after April 1, 2015, Em decided to drop by Rap Genius. And you know what the funniest part of the joke is? It wasn't a joke at all.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: From "Just Don't Give a Fuck":
    Extortion, snortin', supportin' abortion
  • 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.
  • Ass Shove:
    • To a revolting degree in "FACK".
    • One of the Steve Berman skits has this line:
    "Tower Records told me to shove this record up my ass. Do you know what it feels like to be told to have a record shoved up your ass?"
  • 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?"
  • The Bad Guy Wins: "Guilty Conscience", from The Slim Shady LP.
    • 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.
  • Bait-and-Switch: "Bad Guy", yeah, you'd expect Marshall Mathers LP 2 to feature some throwbacks, so another song about murdering Kim is probably to be expected. Actually, it's from the perspective of another throwback, Stan's brother, who is now grown up and ready to come to murder Marshall.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Relapse includes a bonus track called "Careful What You Wish For."
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: invoked In-universe: In "Stan", the title character mislabels Phil Collins' song "In the Air Tonight" as "In the Air of the Night".
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: The main character in "FACK" is described as doing some unspeakably horrible things to a gerbil (the specific act is mentioned in the song itself, but will not be repeated here.)
  • Be Yourself: In "Beautiful", it's even outright said.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": In the intro to Curtain Call.
  • Black Comedy: For much of his carreer, this was one of Marshall's main schticks.
  • Blasphemous Boast:
    • "Rap God", both in the title and the final line: "Don't be a retard. Be a king? Think not. Why be a king, when you can be a god?"
    • Em once responded to someone else's Blasphemous Boast with one of his own: when an interviewer asked Eminem how he feels about the sentiment that God sent Lil Wayne to Earth to teach people how to rap, Eminem simply responded that he doesn't remember sending anybody.
  • Blood Bath: Is seen bathing in a tub of blood in his Music Video for "3 A.M."
  • Boastful Rap: "Rap God" shows signs of this, especially during the supersonic speed lyrics part.
    • Kamikaze is an entire album devoted to the sentiment that Eminem can destroy anyone he doesn't like within one lyric.
  • 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).
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
    • '97 Bonnie and Clyde is about a father taking his daughter to the beach. It's nighttime? No problem! Why is her mother in the trunk with red on her shirt? She's taking a nap and spilled ketchup on herself!
    • 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.
  • 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".
  • Break Them by Talking: 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
  • Breathless Non Sequitur: In "Music Box," the Serial Killer Villain Protagonist describes ghostly voices beckoning him to his attic, and just mirthfully remarks "I love my house" right after.
  • Brick Joke: On The Marshall Mathers LP, he announces during "Remember Me" that he won't say the word "fucking" for six minutes. Though he uses "fuck" and other constructions like "fuckers", he doesn't use "fucking" until two songs later, during "Marshall Matters", for a total time of 7:25 without the word.
    • 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.
  • Brutal Honesty: "The Real Slim Shady", in spades. Apart from the page quote, we have this exchange:
    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
  • 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", as does this line from Em's autobiography Angry Blonde.
    Hi kids. Do you like lyrics? Do you like reading weird shit that'll make your eyes bulge out their sockets? If so, this little piece of sh—Oops, I mean literature—was made with you in mind.
    • " Just Lose It" from Encore references the opening of "Without Me".
    • 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.
    • In the MGK diss track Killshot he references Stan, Go to Sleep and Nail in the Coffin. The latter two were tracks that are widely considered to have ended the careers of Ja Rule and Benzino - two other artists that made the mistake of using "Hallie in vain". The former is in reference to MGK himself - originally a self proclaimed fan of Eminem, that grew to hate him - mostly due to perceived slights, and feeling ignored. Even in MGK's response to Eminem's Not Alike, to which Killshot was a response to, MGK still couldn't avoid complimenting Eminem in between his insults.
  • 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."
  • Careful with That Axe: "Kim," in which Em gets progressively louder and louder as the track progresses—by the final verses, his delivery's easily on par with William Bennett.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • Comics Rule Everything Around Me: He's an avid comic collector, has revealed some Marvel sketches, dressed as Robin in the "Without Me" video, and even wrote a promotional song for the Venom movie.
  • Compliment Fishing: Does this (and lampshades it) twice on Kamikaze.
    • In "Normal":
      Maybe I'm just too ugly to compete with him—
      —You weren't supposed to agree, you fucking bitch!
    • In "Nice Guy":
      I'm an emotional wreck, weak, everything over-affects me
      When you joke it upsets me, you say I'm no good at sex and you think I'm gross and unsexy
      I need Scope 'cause my breath stinks, you hope I choke on a Pepsi...
      ...Bitch, you was supposed to correct me!
  • 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.
  • Content Warning: The first line "Low Down, Dirty", the opening track of ''Slim Shady EP", is "Warning, this shit's gonna be rated R - Restricted".
  • Country Matters: In "Same Song and Dance", the Serial Killer Villain Protagonist calls one of his victims a cunt... and then apologizes immediately afterward. Yeah, torture, rape, and murder are all fine and dandy, but using the C-word is crossing a line! note 
  • Dare to Be Badass: "Lose Yourself".
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Eminem referenced his past countless times in his songs, namely his Disappeared Dad, his mother who didn't care enough for him, people who bullied him for being white in a black neighborhood.
  • 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"
  • Demonic Possession: The music video for "Venom" involves a parasitic black CD (an obvious Expy of the symbiote) as it Body Surfs through various people. Those possessed rap along with the song and attack other people around them.
  • 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..."
    • "Talkin' 2 Myself": "Are you stupid? You gon start dissing people for no reason?/Especially when you can't even write a decent punchline even?"
    • From "Cleanin’ Out My Closet": "What I did was stupid, no doubt it was dumb..."
  • 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".
  • 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
  • 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 'cause he split.
    Wonder if he even kissed me goodbye?
    No, I don't. 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" and "Cinderella Man", all from Recovery.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Why is Kim murdered and her body tossed into a lake? Because she divorced the narrator, remarried, and got custody of their daughter. The Tori Amos cover plays this up by singing from the dead wife's perspective.
  • 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 B.I.G. on "Dead Wrong".
    • Eminem, Tech N9ne, and Krizz Kaliko on "Speedom (WWC2)".
    • Eminem and Beyoncé on "Walk on Water".
    • Eminem and Joyner Lucas on "Lucky You"
  • 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 voice 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".
  • Ephebophile: 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 like that.
    Maybe next time I'll say "ass", and she'll make my pee-pee/slinky go...
    Do-doingg, doingg, doingg!
    • Also in Relapse, he repeatedly makes perverted sexual references towards Hannah Montana (played by a then-16-year-old Miley Cyrus).
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • The first line of the opener of Slim Shady LP, "My Name Is" ("Hi kids, do you like violence?"), does a pretty good job at letting us know what we're in for with his major-league debut.
    Rap Genius annotation: By opening up his major label debut with a statement as straight-forward and controversial as “hi kids, do you like violence”, Eminem makes it clear that he isn’t going to sugar coat his opinions so he doesn’t step on anyone’s toes. By coming out and asking this, he is poking fun at how parents will allow their kids to watch cartoons like Tom and Jerry that desensitizes violence without thinking twice, but then place blame on controversial artists like him when their kids start acting out. Eminem knows that kids are already attracted to violence by all of the aggression that surrounds them in the media, and wants to bring attention to the fact that it isn’t just rap music that is ruining everyone’s perfect little boys and girls.
    • The first line of the MMLP opening track, "Kill You" ("They said I can't rap about being broke no more / They ain't say I can't rap about coke no more"), reintroduces us to the new fresh-off-of-fame Slim.
    Rap Genius annotation: Most of The Slim Shady LP dealt heavily with Em’s struggles with poverty, but SSLP went quadruple platinum and made Em an overnight millionaire. On this album he speaks on his newly found fame and success. If he were to continue rapping about poverty he’d make himself appear as a one trick pony, so he addresses the critics right of [sic] the bat. Instead, he’s going to rap about his second favorite topic; drugs. Ain’t nobody saying shit about that.
  • Ethereal Choir: "97' Bonnie and Clyde" has a choir-like instrumental playing repetitively throughout, adding to the song's overall melancholy, surreal, and haunting tone.
  • 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:
    See, what hurts me the most is, you won't admit you was wrong,
    Bitch, do your song, keep tellin' yourself that you was a mom!
    But how dare you try to take what you didn't help me to get?
    You selfish bitch, I hope you fuckin' burn in hell for this shit!
    • "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 it, 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!
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Foreshadowing: In "Stan", the titular character mentions how his little brother Matthew is even more of a fan of Em than himself. After we see the events that unfold in the song, we are left with the question of how much larger is Matthew's love for Em over Stan's. We find out the answer in "Bad Guy", where Matthew kidnaps Em, planning to bury him alive, but winds up committing a murder-suicide in the exact same manner as his big brother.
  • 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".
  • Full-Frontal Assault: The Serial Killer from "3 A.M." describes being naked while he commits his murders... or when he's just lounging around watching TV.
  • Gainax Ending: "Brain Damage". It ends with Em's mom beating him so bad that his entire brain falls out of his skull. His mom tries apologizing, but he angrily calls her a cunt before sewing his head together and putting bolts into his neck. Yeah.
  • A God Am I: "Rap God".
    • Grimly averted in "Walk on Water", a song all about Em's insecurities, in which he outright states that he's only human and does not deserve to be treated or hailed as more than that.
  • 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.
  • Groin Attack:
    • In "My Name Is," Slim Shady staples his English teacher's nuts to a stack of papers as revenge for a failing grade.
    • In "The Ringer," Eminem goes into explicit detail describing this trope, noting how much he Would Rather Suffer the listen to modern Trap Music:
    Jam a Crest Whitestrip in the tip of my dick with an ice pick
    Stick it in a vice grip, hang it on a spike fence
    Bang it with a pipe wrench
    While I take my ballsack and flick it like a light switch
    Like vice-president Mike Pence
  • 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".
  • Held Back in School: If these lines from "My Name Is" are any indication, Slim Shady wasn't the best student.
    Slim Shady: My English teacher wanted to flunk me in junior high
    Thanks a lot! Next semester, I'll be 35!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: A mild example. On "The Real Slim Shady" off The Marshall Mathers LP, he remarked about how there's a Slim Shady lurking in all of us, and that he could be the guy at the burger joint, spitting on your onion rings. On "So Far..." off The Marshall Mathers LP 2, he remarks about the last time he went to Burger King (with the beat from "The Real Slim Shady" playing over the line):
    They spit on my onion rings. I think my karma's catching up with me.
  • 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.
    • "Em Calls Paul" from Encore. When Paul tells Eminem that Michael Jackson is pissed off that the "Just Lose It" video made fun of him, Eminem lets loose.
    • The Revival album is also filled to the brim with juvenile puns, even more so than Recovery.
  • 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, including "I'm Shady", "My Name Is", and the darker "The Way I Am", the latter of which is also I Am What I Am.
  • I Am the Band: Parodied in the song "My Band".
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: In "Same Song & Dance," the Serial Killer assures his victim that, if he wanted to kill her, she would already be dead by now. This convinces her that he's trustworthy... then the second she enters his car, he strangles her with an extension cord.
  • I'm Your Biggest Fan: Stan. The name, used as both a noun and a verb, is part of the hip hop lexicon as a derogatory term for an obsessed fan, and in the wider world a more neutral one for the same.
  • Ignorant Of His Own Ignorance: Averted in "Berzerk":
    "At least I know that I don't know
    Question is, are you bozos smart enough to feel stupid?
    Hope so"
  • Image Song: A case could be made for "Lose Yourself," considering it's the theme song to 8 Mile.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: "No Love" has two in rapid succession:
    I'm standing on my Monopoly board
    That means I'm on top of my game
    And it don't stop 'til' my hip don't hop anymore
  • 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: "Crazy In Love" has shades of this.
  • 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.
  • "Just Joking" Justification: Heavily Invoked by both Eminem and his fans. Whether or not this is a legitimate defense is very controversial.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Eminem commands us to do this in "Rap God," even calling himself General Zod.
  • Last Note Nightmare: Encore (both the album and its Title Track) ends with a skit where Eminem thanks his cheering crowd before leaving the stage, only to return onstage and begin shooting at the audience, causing the cheering to quickly turn into screaming. The horrific scenario ends with Em shooting himself, at which point a robotic voice says, "See you in hell, fuckers."
  • Large Ham: Usually on his more angry songs like "Kim" and "So Much Better".
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The beginning of "Rap God" features some vocal chops stating that Slim Shady has one chance for six minutes, which is length of the track.
    Look, I was gonna go easy on you not to hurt your feelings
    But I'm only going to get this one chance
    (Six minutes, six minutes)
    Something's wrong, I can feel it
    (Six minutes, six minutes, Slim Shady, you're on)
  • 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.
    • In 2018, he tops this on his Kick Off freestyle: he rhymes with the sound of him spitting.
    Battle me and win? That's a fuckin fallacy too.
    You name one motherfucker in this galaxy, ptoo
  • Leitmotif: "Guess who's back. Back again. Shady's back. Tell a friend."
  • Let the Past Burn: "Beautiful Pain".
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: "I'm On Everything" peters out this way.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • Encore features more comedic themes and lyrics than his previous three albums, aside from the final track, in which he kills everybody and himself.
    • The Marshall Mathers LP 2, which is probably the most lighthearted album he's ever put out. It has the humor of his first two albums, but rarely the dark, twisted nature of them. ("Bad Guy" aside.)
  • Lightmare Fuel: Expect a lot of it when you listen to his music. The Marshall Mathers LP, for instance, opens with a song about raping and killing his own mother that's played completely for laughs.
  • Loony Fan: "Stan", who doesn't understand that the Slim Shady persona is just that.
  • Lower-Class Lout: A central part of his early image and lyrical themes, and very much a case of Write What You Know; as someone who had a white trash upbringing (and was very willing to admit it), his "trailer park/Section 8 housing gothic" approach came as natural as breathing to him.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Kill You", "Who Knew?", "I'm Back", "Not Afraid", "Asshole", "The Monster", "Desperation", and "Wicked Ways".
  • 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.
    • "'97 Bonnie and Clyde" is one of Eminem's more musically subdued songs, and doesn't contain any swear words. The subject matter is also some of his most disturbing, as it finds him taking his young daughter along as he disposes of her mother's body.
  • 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 Libs Catch Phrase. "I'm just playing, (X). You know I love you."
  • 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, as "Love the Way You Lie" explains in detail.
  • 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.
    • Em himself is the mentor to several rap acts such as 50 Cent, D12, Obie Trice, and Yelawolf.
  • Metaphorgotten: From "Roman's Revenge":
    I swear to God life is a dumb blonde white broad/With fake tits and a bad dye job
    Just spit in my fucking face and called me a fucking tightwad/ So finally I broke down and bought her a iPod
    And caught her stealing my music/So I tied her arms and legs to the bed
    Set up the camera, pissed twice on her, look, two peas and a tripod!
  • 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.
    • "Kim" is definitely a 10 or 11.
  • 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.
    • On "Kim":
    [talking to Hailie] 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
    • And then, on The Marshall Mathers LP, the song right after this one opens with Eminem comedically slurring gibberish.
    • "Mockingbird" finishes with this:
    And if you ask me to daddy's gonna buy you a mockingbird. I'mma give you the world. I'mma buy a diamond ring for you, I'mma sing for you, I'll do anything for you to see you smile. And if that mockingbird don't sing and that ring don't shine, I'mma break that birdie's neck. I'd go back to the jeweler who sold it to you and make him eat every karat, don't fuck with dad!
  • Motor Mouth: Capable of this in spades, especially despite his age.
    • "Rap God" from The Marshall Mathers LP 2 was one of the best examples. The most famous part of the song has him rapping at maximum speed for 9 full bars. In general, however, he generally doesn't engage in this; he does have a fast, sharply enunciated flow with few pauses that is commonplace among Midwestern artists, but he generally avoids the rapid-fire "chopper" flow that was popular in the Midwest when he was getting famous.
    • Eminem then tops that song with "Godzilla", his collab with the late rapper Juice WRLD from Music to be Murdered By, where he caps off the last 30 seconds of the song with arguably his fastest rap line ever.
  • 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!"
    • As he's gotten older, his drug addiction physically took a toll on him, but many believe that with everything he's gone through, he looks quite healthy for a man his age and people still find him handsome, which he lampshades in "Godzilla":
    "These chicks are spazzin' out/I only get more handsome and flyer"
  • Murder Ballad: "Kim", "3 AM", "Bad Guy".
  • Murder-Suicide: The last track from the album Encore ends with him thanking the crowd, before shooting them and killing himself. A robotic voice ends the album saying, "See you in hell, fuckers."
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Would you trust a guy named Slim Shady?
  • New Sound Album: Production style switched to a more cinematic high end sound beginning with The Eminem Show.
  • Non-Actor Vehicle: "8 Mile".
  • Not So Stoic: During Royce's freestyle in the SHXVDY Cypher, Ryan dropped a line about punching someone in the face, and Slim couldn't help but chuckle.
  • N-Word Privileges: Apart from one instance where Proof (his best friend in the world) approved the use of "nig" on a song from 1995, Eminem doesn't get them.
  • Obsession Song: "Stan", where a Loony Fan goes a little far in his adoration of Eminem.
  • Ode to Sobriety: "Not Afraid", which is about him finally kicking his addictions.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: "Hex The Haters" has this.
  • One-Man Song: "Stan", "Ken Kaniff", "Paul", "Steve Berman", "Marshall Matters".
  • One Steve Limit: "Guilty Conscience" and "Stan" tell stories about different characters named Stan. When asked about this in an interview, Eminem said that didn't even occur to him at the time of writing, and while he didn't intend to suggest that the two songs share any connection, it's not impossible that the two Stans are one and the same.
  • One-Woman Song: Kim and Hailie are both songs with women's names in the titles. That said, their lyrical content is, because this IS Eminem, different from the typical examples of this trope.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Averted. He is referred to as Eminem, Slim Shady, and his real name, Marshall Mathers.
  • 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...
    • And now, we have Machine Gun Kelly learning this lesson after he decided that drifting on Hailie was a good idea, and while she was underage no less. Congratulations, Kelly, you are now part of the cause for his Kamikaze album and Eminem is officially locked onto you.
  • 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 (but he still allowed Al to parody the song itself.)
  • 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.
  • Persecution Flip: He was bullied growing up because he was the only white kid growing up in an all-black neighborhood.
  • Pet the Dog: In the final verses of "Stan", Marshall shows a caring and compassionate side almost completely absent in most of his work.
    • Overall, Eminem is known for his brutal, unflinching attacks on those he dislikes. "The Ringer" alone has attacks against Donald Trump, Mike Pence, professional music critics, and most modern rappers whom Eminem accuses of just copying Lil Wayne. When he gets to Lil Yachty, however, Em is surprisingly chill, and his words here can be summed up as "His music's not really my thing, but I get why people like him" and he leaves it at that.
  • Please Wake Up: How "My Fault" ends.
  • Precision F-Strike: The last line of "Mockingbird" ("don't fuck with Dad"); it's especially poignant since the song was completely devoid of swearing up to that point, and many people think that that one F-strike completely ruined the song.
  • Professional Wrestling:
    • "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.
  • Protest Song: "Mosh", aimed at then-U.S President George W. Bush.
    • "White America" has aspects of this, too.
    • Eminem's BET cypher, "The Storm", is definitely a protest against the Trump presidency.
  • 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.
    • A much more horrifying example: The Serial Killer from "Same Song & Dance" describes his gruesome behavior in an unnaturally serene, almost boyish manner, and it barely seems to occur to him that what he's doing is wrong ("A couple rape charges, people think you're a monster," he says incredulously.) He talks about the female celebrities he... has his way with like a schoolboy with a crush on the popular girl, and at one point he offers to swap his prescription pills with those of his latest victim like they were school lunches.
  • Rap Rock: A handful of songs fit this genre. The Eminem Show incorporates a heavier use of it than his previous albums.
  • Ray Gun: In "Rap God":
    And I just bought a new ray gun from the future just to come and shoot ya!
  • 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.
  • 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 went through my whole career without ever mentioning Suge
    • Important note about the above spoiler tag: on the album, the recording cuts out for the spoiled word, as part of Eminem not mentioning him. It was only revealed precisely what was behind the tag because Eminem will occasionally say the word when performing live. No official recording of Em actually mentioning Suge Knight in his music exits.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • Off of "We Made You":
      If you think that's bad, you should see the rest of this album. Never has there been such finesse and nostalgia.
    • Whenever he pairs himself with Dr. Dre, he makes comparisons to Batman and Robin. And he's Robin. The Golden Age era Robin.
    • In "Cleanin' Out My Closet", Eminem recalls an incident where he Pistol Whipped Guererra for kissing his wife. Eminem claims to have hit him with his fist, though. Of the incident, Eminem says "What I did was stupid, no doubt, it was dumb; but the smartest shit I did was take the bullets out of that gun". If the gun had been loaded, he would have faced jail time. But because it wasn't, he got probation.
  • Self-Titled Album: His third (The Marshall Mathers LP) and fourth (The Eminem Show) albums, which would put him in Weezer territory...
    • And his 2013 album 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. (The lyric in "Without Me" says, "Well, I'm back! [Batman (1966) theme song]") 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"
    • "Berzerk" 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.
      • Also related to the Beastie Boys, the cover of Kamikaze imitates the one for Licensed to Ill.
    • "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.
      • The fast section of "Rap God" is a nod to "Supersonic" by 1980's female rap trio J.J. Fad (whom he mentions by name), even quoting the phrase "summa lumma dooma looma" from the ending of "Supersonic".
    • Let's not forget "Cold Wind Blows" and its references:
    Fuck it I'm a loose cannon, Bruce Banner's back in the booth
    Ya'll are sitting ducks, I'm the only goose standing
    Oh bitches don't like that, homie I'll be nicer to women
    When the Aquaman drowns and the Human Torch starts swimming.
    • "So Much Better" references Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
    • "Love Game" which directly references Wee-Bay from The Wire, Eminem's favorite television show.
    • "KILLSHOT", his Machine Gun Kelly's diss track has some references to Crypt's "Everything Wrong With Machine Gun Kelly's Rap Devil" video:
    Are you eating cereal, or oatmeal?
    Yo Slim, your last four albums sucked
    Go back to Recovery, oh shoot, that was three albums ago
    • The album Music to Be Murdered By is an homage to Alfred Hitchcock's music album of the same name. Throughout the course of Em’s project he references Hitchcock numerous times, including on the secondary cover art, "Alfred (Interlude)," "Little Engine" and "Alfred (Outro)." The deluxe edition of the album is inspired by Hitchcock’s film The Birds.
  • 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", and "We Made You" are all songs with overly silly videos and lyrics. Eminem has said that he always tries to made at least one funny song per album to avoid taking himself too seriously.
    • 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 Dark Horseinvoked 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.
    • The narrator of "Same Song & Dance" describes his routine of falling in love with, stalking, kidnapping, raping, and murdering female celebrities.
  • Stop and Go:
    • "Kill You"
    You don't... wanna fuck with Shady
    Cause Shady... will fucking kill you
    • "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".
  • 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."
      • Occasionally he'll refer to the people that grew up listening to his music as retards, most recently censored out of Venom.
  • 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:"
    Listen to the sound of me spewing my heart 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 appears to be averted after the release of Revival, which followed the Relapse and Recovery pattern, since both Kamikaze and Music To Be Murdered By don't follow a particular naming pattern.
  • 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 
    • "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.
    • Fall from Kamikaze uses this to cap off the song.
  • Toilet Humor: His wordplay in "Not Afraid" provides three examples of this trope: Quit playing with the scissors and shit, and cut the crap.....Shits his bowels out of him....Fuck the world feed it beans, it's gassed up.
  • 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).
  • Updated Re-release: A non-video game version, for Relapse: Refill.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Eminem often twists fact and fantasy in his songs, explaining why so many real-life people felt the need to sue him for slander. He lampshades this himself in the song "Criminal" from The Marshall Mathers LP.
    A lot of people ask me.. stupid fucking questions
    A lot of people think that.. what I say on records
    or what I talk about on a record, that I actually do in real life
    or that I believe in it
    Or if I say that, I wanna kill somebody, that..
    I'm actually gonna do it
    or that I believe in it
    Well, shit.. if you believe that
    then I'll kill you
  • Urban Legends: Discussed in "Stan" when the title character talks about the misinterpretation of the lyric of Phil Collins' song "In the Air Tonight".
  • Verbal Tic: "Y'know what I'm sayin'?"
  • Villain Protagonist: "3AM" and the whole Slim Shady persona in general.
  • Villain Song: Often combined with "The Villain Sucks" Song. Sorta.
  • Villains Out Shopping: The Serial Killer Villain Protagonist from "3 A.M." takes a break from his drug-fueled murder spree to watch TV and jack off in the second verse.
  • 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.
      But when you spoke to people who meant the most to you
      You left me off your list
      Fuck you hip-hop
      I'm leaving you, my life sentence is served bitch
    • 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.
      And the way you played him, same shit you did to me, go!
      Have you any idea that shit I've gone through
      Feelings I harbor, all this pent up resentment I hold on to
      Not once you called to ask me how I'm doing
      Letters, you don't respond to 'em
      Fuck it, I'm coming to see you
      And gee who better to talk to than you
      • It's slightly foreshadowed throughout (the autographed Starter cap, the "dragged to the back of a trunk" line, "I hope you hear it", etc.) before more direct hints are given, and then it's revealed as a whole.
    • From "Kill You": "Just bend over and take it like a slut, OKAY MA?"
    • Em's realization at the end of "Stan".
      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.
    • From the Steve Berman skit on Eminem Show; for context, this is after Berman has trashed not only the Marshall Mathers LP but D12's Devil's Night album to Em's face.
      Steve: I got [The Eminem Show]...
      Em: And?
      Steve: ...and this is by far the most (BANG)...incredible thing...I've ever heard.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: While wholesome is arguable, he does dress as a woman in his music videos.
  • 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:
    • A similar example happens with "Same Song & Dance"; the Villain Protagonist describes a series of celebrity crushes, but he doesn't seem to know how to deal with these emotions in a way that doesn't involve being a Serial Killer.
    • "Love the Way You Lie" may also qualify, this time involving a mutual Yandere relationship.
  • 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!

... I'm just playin', TV Tropes. You know I love you.

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