- Black Sheep Hit: While the majority of Eminem's music deals with dark and brooding topics, usually about his personal life, he also has a habit of always releasing at least one "joke" song on each album that mocks pop culture and celebrity gossip. Because of the more lighthearted tones of these tracks, they often serve as the lead singles to his albums and, as a result, are some of his more popular and well-known songs:
- "My Name Is" from The Slim Shady LP
- "The Real Slim Shady" from The Marshall Mathers LP
- "Without Me" from The Eminem Show
- "Just Lose It" and "Ass Like That" from Encore
- "We Made You" from Relapse
- Averted finally on Recovery, which consists entirely of sober and serious subject matter; the untitled hidden track is the closest thing to a joke song on there.
- "Berzerk" from The Marshall Mathers LP 2.
- "Framed" from Revival.
- Though disimilar from other examples, "Venom" from Kamikaze is the only non-diss track on the album, and also got much more reach from being the theme to, well, Venom.
- "Those Kinda Nights" from Music to Be Murdered By.
- "Discombobulated" from Music to Be Murdered By - Side B, in which he revisits his Relapse style.
- Breakaway Pop Hit: "Lose Yourself" was this for 8 Mile. Though 8 Mile was not obscure, "Lose Yourself" completely outstripped it. It won Eminem an Academy Award (the first ever for a hip-hop song), remains his best-selling single, and was ranked at #166 on Rolling Stone's Top 500 Songs of All-Time.
- Breakthrough Hit: "My Name Is".
- Colbert Bump: Pleasant English singer/songwriter Dido went global after Em sampled a part of her song "Thank You" for "Stan".
- Content Leak: Bootlegs of the The Eminem Show were leaked before the album was scheduled to be released. The album was released a week earlier than intended as a result.
- Creator Backlash:
Them last two albums don't countEncore I was on drugs, Relapse I was flushin' 'em out
- He became so sick of "My Name Is" that after a while, he would only play snippets of it at his concerts - often stopping the song to declare that he was sick of it. He lampshades this in "The Way I Am."
- Judging by "Headlights", he's not too fond of "Cleanin' Out My Closet" these days. Or any of his potshots at his mother, for that matter.
- He's not very proud of Relapse in retrospect. In "Not Afraid", he says "let's be honest, that last Relapse CD was ehh", and in "Guts Over Fear", he says that he'd rather make a sequel to "Not Afraid" over "We Made You", which is a Relapse track.
Fuck my last CD, that shit's in my trash.
- And in "Cinderella Man":
- The song "Talkin' 2 Myself" would suggest that he's completely disowned both Encore and Relapse.
Another one, after Recovery was so coveted, but what good is a fucking recovery if I fumble it?
- On the song "So Far.." from MMLP2, it's possible that he took a shot as Recovery, as he says this:
- Surprisingly averted with Revival, as despite being his most reviled album since Encore, Em himself has not expressed dislike for it and has more or less implied that he did not intend for it to turn out as mediocre as it did, saying, "I spend a lot of time writing shit that I think nobody ever gets." That said, he did take the poor reception to heart, convincing him to write, record and release an entire new album mere months later, which became Kamikaze.
- Creator Breakdown: A majority of his recorded output reflects on the uglier parts of his personal life.
- His first 2 major studio albums (and his earlier Slim Shady EP as well) are likely results of Creator Breakdown, which occurred soon after the failure of his noticeably milder and more optimistic debut LP, Infinite. The song "Kim", written while his marriage to her was falling apart, is a hateful, disturbing song where the narrator sadistically and maniacally rants to, pleads with, and ultimately kills, his terrified wife (the controversial Black Comedy track "'97 Bonnie and Clyde", which was released earlier, is actually the "sequel" to "Kim"). Kim herself slit her wrists in an attempt to kill herself after seeing a live performance of it. The two have since tried to reconcile, however.
- This happened yet again with 2009's Relapse and 2010's Recovery, which were triggered by Eminem's recovery from a full-blown relapse which began in 2005. The first album, whilst containing a good dose of his vitriolic tirades and bizarre comedy, has a track called "Deja Vu". The track is a rather stark description of his relapse and the effect it had, notably apparently collapsing in his bathroom and his apparent case of pneumonia actually being related to methadone use. Also related is the song "Beautiful", which is a melancholic track where Eminem reflects on his depression and his increasing doubt over if he can still cut it as a rapper.
- Encore could fall under this as well. Apparently, it was recorded as he began his addiction, which is probably why the album is noticeably less well-received than his others.
- Executive Meddling: The Marshall Mathers LP was 100% complete before Eminem was forced to add one more track, per request by the Interscope Records execs. They wanted a Spiritual Successor to the zany pop anthem "My Name Is" for the lead in radio single. As we all know, the result was "The Real Slim Shady". The song's intent is quite obvious, since it doesn't sound like anything else on the entire album. Interestingly enough, Eminem went through a mountain of writer's block to reach that point, and he let out his surmounting frustration with the vitriolic (though excellent) "The Way I Am". According to Em, his displeasure with being typecast by the higher ups fueled a brief feud between him and Interscope, which nearly got him kicked off the label. Of course, this corporate conflict ended up resulting in two great songs off a highly acclaimed and commercially successful album, so this could be a case of Tropes Are Not Bad.
- Old Shame:
- He doesn't look back fondly on his long-forgotten debut album Infinite. He admits to not having found his own style yet, that he was trying too hard to sound like Nas, and that the album was more like a demo tape than a proper album. And he's especially not proud of the fact that many of these songs included racial slurs, for which he's since apologized. "Yellow Brick Road" from Encore reflects on this.
- He doesn't like Encore or Relapse much, the former because he was so strung out on drugs at the time that it largely hindered his skills and the latter because, while he doesn't hate it, he felt didn't live up to his more well-regarded material that was relying too much on his fake accent schtick.
- He's admitted to cringing at "Cleanin' Out My Closet" in recent years, manly due to his more unfair criticisms of his mother's illness and declaring that he'd never let Hailie see her, especially after the two of them finally made peace. "Headlights" from The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is a more sincere apology to his mother.
- The Pete Best: A more tragic case for his posse D12; founding member Karnail "Bugz" Pitts met a violent end the same year Eminem broke through, and the year before Devil's Night, the group's major-label debut.
- Production Posse: Expect Dr. Dre and Paul Rosenberg (his manager) to have some involvement in any new music; and expect features from Royce da 5'9', 50 Cent (though he's been absent from Em's last 2 albums), Skylar Grey, The New Royales and/or Rihanna. Joyner Lucas might also be shaping up for this in the future.
- Reclusive Artist: A downplayed case. He's never been very comfortable with the spotlight and nowadays tends to stay away from most publicity, preferring to stay in Detroit when he's not working on his music. In fact, when "Lose Yourself" was nominated for an Oscar, he was at home dead asleep when the song won.
- Uncredited Role: He's worked as an uncredited ghostwriter for Dr. Dre.
- 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" is quite obviously a product of its time, with references to Pamela Anderson, Tom Green, Fred Durst, and Will Smith's musical career.
- "Mosh" is a protest song that was released as a single prior to the 2004 US Presidential election, and its lyrics heavily reflect that. Mention is made of Bin Laden still being considered a terrorist threat, Em voices frustrations about the Bush administration by saying that then-president George W. Bush should go fight in the Iraq War as a way to "impress daddy" (George Bush Sr.), and the final lyrics are of Em saying "Mr. President! Mr Senator!", referencing the candidates of the 2004 US election (the aforementioned Bush, and Senator John Kerry). The music video even had two versions made (mainly just with different endings) and both are also equally as dated. The first one, released before the election, shows people showing up to vote between Bush and Kerry, and then the second version, released after the election, shows protesters breaking into the US Capitol Building while Congress is in session, with signs saying stuff like "Down with Bush!"
- "White America" references Total Request Live in its chorus, firmly planting it in the early-2000s.
- "Without Me" references Dick Cheney, how the FCC tried to take him off MTV (which has long since died out due to Network Decay and the internet), and then makes a series of Take Thats to artists who haven't been relevant in years, specifically Chris Kirkpatrick, Limp Bizkit, and Moby (even stating the latter as being 36-years-old). All of this screams 2002, the year "Without Me" was released.
- Moreover, one of the pot-shots issued at Moby was the lyric "Nobody listens to techno". It was pretty accurate in 2002, when Electronic Music was a very niche thing in America (to the point that American DJs and electronic musicians had to go abroad to find success). Come The New '10s, where EDM has become the sound of youth and has permeated several different genres, DJs are hailed as the new rock stars, and EDM festivals can pull in crowds numbering at over hundred-thousand. Moby himself later noted in a 2016 interview how that particular lyric would be Hilarious in Hindsight later on.
- "Ass Like That" mentions Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen who haven't been very mainstream in several years, plus they're mentioned to be young adults, and even more noticeably mentions Hilary Duff is underage.
- What Could Have Been:
- Allegedly, Eminem wanted to collaborate with the Detroit rap group House Of Krazees, but plans fell through. Two of the members in the group formed Twiztid, who Eminem ended up dissing for unrelated reasons.
- He was originally planned to play the lead in Elysium, but the idea was dropped when filming in Detroit wasn't permitted to the crew.
- Before he decided on rapping, he wanted to make comic books. To that end, he picked up quite a bit of skill as a draftsman.
- "Hailie's Song" from The Eminem Show was not intended for public release—Dr. Dre talked him into it after playing it for his friends.
- The Marshall Mathers LP was considered complete before "The Way I Am" or "Real Slim Shady"; however, the higher-ups didn't feel it had much in the way of single-worthy material.
- According to Em himself, while recording the third verse of "Stan", he had problems with the audio engineer that ruined a take that he stated was "way better" than the one we all heard.
- For "Bad Guy", Eminem considered getting Dido to sing the chorus, but realized that her presence would risk revealing that it's a sequel to "Stan" before the twist in the third verse.
- Write What You Know: He is often either the speaker or the subject of his works.
Trivia / Eminem