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Music / The Eminem Show

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Guess who's back — back again?
Shady's back; tell a friend.

What I did was stupid, no doubt it was dumb
But the smartest shit I did was take the bullets outta that gun
Cause I'da killed him; shit I woulda shot Kim and him both
It's my life, I'd like to welcome y'all to The Eminem Show...
— "Cleanin' Out My Closet"

The Eminem Show is the fourth album by Eminem, released just before summer 2002.

With this album, Em had extremely big shoes to fill, considering his last two releases (The Slim Shady LP and The Marshall Mathers LP) became some of the greatest critical and commercial successes hip-hop had ever seen, and everyone was wondering if Em could pull off the threepeat.

This new album saw an introspective tour of Em's world of fame, and many of the tracks served as showcases of his maturity, with sadder and more sincere lyrics concerning personal topics like his daughter and his parents. He even gave the album its name since he felt like his life was amounting to nothing but a show for the public to constantly ogle at.

The Eminem Show gave him his third consecutive Grammy Award win for Best Rap Album as well as his second consecutive nomination for Album of the Year. It was also his second album in a row to be certified Diamond by the RIAA for selling over 10 million copies, and it has gone on to sell three times that around the world.

2004's Encore! is a direct sequel to the album, continuing the "show" concept and theming. In 2022, Eminem released The Eminem Show: Expanded Edition, a re-release of the album adding two bonus studio recordings — "Stimulate" and "Jimmy, Brian and Mike" (originally intended for The Marshall Mathers LP) — as well as various live performances and freestyles.


  1. "Curtains Up" (skit) (0:30)
  2. "White America" (5:24)
  3. "Business" (4:11)
  4. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" (4:57)
  5. "Square Dance" (5:24)
  6. "The Kiss" (skit) (1:16)
  7. "Soldier" (3:46)
  8. "Say Goodbye Hollywood" (4:33)
  9. "Drips" (feat. Obie Trice) (4:45)
  10. "Without Me" (4:50)
  11. "Paul Rosenberg" (skit) (0:23)
  12. "Sing for the Moment" (5:40)
  13. "Superman" (feat. Dina Rae) (5:50)
  14. "Hailie's Song" (5:21)
  15. "Steve Berman" (skit) (0:33)
  16. "When the Music Stops" (feat. D12) (4:29)
  17. "Say What You Say" (feat. Dr. Dre) (5:09)
  18. "'Till I Collapse" (feat. Nate Dogg) (4:57)
  19. "My Dad's Gone Crazy" (feat. Hailie Jade) (4:28)
  20. "Curtains Close" (skit) (1:01)

Tropin' Out My Closet

  • Actor/Role Confusion: One line in "Sing For The Moment" where Em gives one argument that kills one huge criticism of him.
    If it's all political
    and my music is literal
    and I'm a criminal
    How the FUCK can I raise a little girl?
  • Album Filler: "Hailie's Song" was not intended for public release— Dr. Dre talked him into it after playing it for his friends. It turned out to be one of the most celebrated songs on the record.
  • Album Title Drop: The page quote, which is from "Cleanin' Out My Closet".
  • Alliterative Title: "Cleanin' Out My Closet", "Curtains Close".
  • 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.
  • Aside Glance: In the video for "Without Me", Dr. Dre raises his sunglasses and gives the camera a very confused look in response to Eminem's over-the-top dance moves as Rap Boy (a parody of the 60s Batman's Robin) while the two are riding along in Dre's car.
  • Book Ends:
    • The first track is called "Curtains Up" and the final one "Curtains Close".
    • The music video for "Cleanin' Out My Closet" begins with a door opening and ends with the same door closing.
  • Bowdlerise: Due to the song’s explicit subject matter, "Drips", which is about how Obie Trice and Eminem had sex with a girl that gave them both STDs, was removed from the album’s clean version.
  • Calling the Old Woman Out: "Cleanin' Out My Closet" is, from the first until the final line, a song that addresses Eminem's troubled relationship with his mother.
  • Children Are Innocent / Harmful to Minors: In the music video of "Without Me", Em and Dre are sent into action after a kid purchases The Eminem Show without his mom being aware. At the end of the video, just as the kid is about to insert the album CD, Em manages to rip it from his hands, shaking his head, doing a Finger Wag, and reminding the kid of the "parental advisory" label on the album.
    • Played with on "My Dad's Gone Crazy" note , when Eminem goes on a verse long rant that's at least 30% cuss words, and then gets told off by his then 7 year old daughter.
  • Dancing Is Serious Business: Near the end of "Without Me" Osama bin Laden is chased away by a bunch of rappers. Eventually he waves a white flag and can convince everybody to dance along with him, which everyone seems to think is a whole lotta fun!
  • Disappeared Dad: Discussed in "Cleaning Out My Closet":
    I was a baby, maybe I was just a couple of months
    My faggot father must'a had his panties up in a bunch
    Coz he split; wonder if he even kissed me goodbye

    No, I don't; on second thought I just fuckin' wish he would die!''
  • Evil Matriarch: "Cleanin' 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!
  • Fading into the Next Song:
    • "Curtains Up" ends with Eminem walking up to a microphone to make a speech which leads to "White America".
    • One could make a case for "Drips" to "Without Me", as the former ends off abruptly and the latter begins with a static noise.
    • "Sing for the Moment" segues into "Superman".
  • Groin Attack: In the music video of "Without Me" Moby is kicked in the groin by a huge rabbit, making the Buddhist exclaim: "Nirvana at last...!"
  • He's Back!: "Guess who's back, back again?"
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: In the video for "Cleanin' Out My Closet", Em's parents never show their faces to the camera.
  • Hypocrisy Nod: "Cleanin' Out My Closet":
    Now I would never diss my own mama just to get recognition
    Take a second to listen for who you think this record is dissing
    • Not only that, but even before that song he had several tracks dissing his mom, such as "My Name Is" and "Kill You".
  • 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"
  • 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.
  • Ladies and Germs: "Business" begins with Eminem saying to listeners, "Bitches and gentlemen..."
  • List Song: "'Till I Collapse" references several rappers Eminem sees as the best: Redman, Jay-Z, Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., Andre 3000, Jadakiss, Kurupt, Nas and himself.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: "White America" is a vicious attack on white suburban America, though in the end, as a Call-Back to "Kill You" from The Marshall Mathers LP he just laughs: "I'm just playing, America, you know I love you."
  • New Sound Album: Production style switched to a more cinematic high end sound beginning with The Eminem Show. Eminem said he wanted to achieve a sound that bridged the gap between rock and hiphop.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Subverted by "Without Me", where then US Vice President Dick Cheney is electrocuted and Moby kicked in the groin.
  • One-Man Song: "Paul Rosenberg" and "Steve Berman".
  • One-Woman Song: "Hailie's Song".
  • One-Word Title: "Business", "Drips", "Soldier".
  • The Power of Rock: "Sing For The Moment" is how hiphop and music in general gives young people hope and escapism in sour times.
  • Professional Wrestling: "Without Me" includes the line "The best thing since wrestling."
  • Protest Song: "White America", aimed at white suburban America.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: As usual many songs are about Eminem's pet peeves again: people criticizing him and his family troubles.
  • Record Needle Scratch: At the start of "Without Me".
  • Record Producer: Dr. Dre.
  • Sampling:
    • "Without Me" , and samples "Rap Name" by Obie Trice (uncredited) and contains resung elements from "Buffalo Gals" by Malcolm McLaren.
      Obie Trice, real name, no gimmicks
      Two trailer park girls go round the outside
    • "Sing for the Moment" contains elements from "Dream On" by Aerosmith. It features a guitar solo during the end of the song by Aerosmith lead guitarist Joe Perry.
  • Self-Deprecation: Eminem's portrayal of Robin in the music video of "Without Me". He comes across as a total buffoon, making even Dr. Dre look in the camera with an exasperated look.
  • Self-Titled Album: "The Eminem Show". He named it this way because he realized at that point of his life that his entire life had become some kind of show. He lampshades this on the album too, where he is heard walking to the microphone at the start of the record.
  • 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 heeding parental advisory warnings! There's a lot of shots on Eminem's crotch, by the way. his "Backwards E" logo is used as the Robin symbol, and he uses the recurring depiction to show himself as the sidekick to Dr. Dre's Batman-esque hero. A similar shoutout pops up in the track "Business", where Dr. Dre and Eminem play an Adam West-style intro ("To the Rapmobile!").
    • The intro to "Without Me" interpolates the chorus of "Buffalo Gals" by Malcolm McLaren.
    • In "Without Me" Eminem references Prince turning himself into a symbol and calls himself "the worst thing since Elvis Presley to do black music so selfishly". He also dresses up as Elvis in the video. The rabbit in the video is a shout-out to the song "You're A Superstar" by Love Inc. Near the end, in the most talked about segment, Eminem imitates Osama bin Laden, who is then chased away by a group of rappers, until he surrenders and everybody starts dancing along with him.
  • Sidekick: Eminem plays a Robin-esque sidekick to Dr. Dre in the music video of "Without Me".
  • Silliness Switch: "Without Me". Especially the video, 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...)
  • The Something Song: "Hailie's Song".
  • Special Guest:
    • D12 sings on "When the Music Stops" and Nate Dogg on "Till I Collapse".
    • In the music video of "Superman" porn star Gina Lynn has a cameo.
    • Porn star Jenna Jameson and fitness model Kiana Tom are the two girls who appear in Eminem's bed in the music video of "Without Me". D-12 and Xzibit both appear in the talkshow scene.
  • Speech Balloon: The music video of "Without Me" is done in the style of a super hero comic strip, so text balloons pop up to address what people are saying or thinking.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Hailie, Eminem's daughter, is heard during "My Dad's Gone Crazy".
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Hailie's Song" is an ode to Eminem's daughter and really shows his softer side. It stands out among all the other usual Eminem Black Comedy and Precision F-Strike songs, also because it was actually not supposed to end up on this album. Dr. Dre told Eminem to add it.
  • Take That!:
    • The music video of "Without Me" is one long Take That! aimed at people who criticized his work in public, including Lynn Cheney (though it's her husband Dick Cheney whose heart problems are addressed), the FCC, Kriss Kirkpatrick, Limp Bizkit and Moby. Osama bin Laden is also targeted. And of course his mother, Debbie.
    • "Cleanin' Out My Closet" is a tirade against Eminem's mother. The second verse targets his father, calling his manhood into question and noting that Eminem couldn’t even imagine abandoning his daughter like his father abandoned him.
  • Title Drop: In "Cleanin' Out My Closet":
    "It's my life, I'd like to welcome y'all to The Eminem Show!"
  • That Man Is Dead: "Soldier"
    Through this pen, motherfuckers know I'll never be Marshall again!
  • Wham Line: 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.
  • You Should Have Died Instead: His mom told him this after his beloved uncle Ronnie 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!