Throughout the span of his career, Eminem has earned praise for quality lyrics, his rap style, and his energy. His best songs bring these qualities together, often dealing with themes of overcoming difficulty and facing the world head on.
Having earned over thirteen Grammys and tremendous acclaim as “The Best Rapper Alive,” Eminem’s work as an MC, despite courting criticism and controversy, stands solidly as his success. Here are the 10 Best Eminem Songs:
Top 10 Eminem Songs
1. Lose Yourself
2. Sing For The Moment
4. Not Afraid
5. Cleaning Out My Closet
6. Love The Way You Lie
7. No Love (featuring L’il Wayne)
8. Ass Like That
9. 25 To Life
Eminem, born Marshall Bruce Mathers III, is one of the first white American rappers considered the very best MCs in the industry. Born October 17, 1972 in Saint Joseph, Missouri, to Deborah R. Mathers-Briggs and Marshall Bruce Mathers, Jr., Mathers had a difficult, unstable childhood often the source for much of his work. Raised solely by his mother from the age of eighteen months old after his father abandoned the family, Mathers found solace in storytelling as a young child and wanted to become a comic book artist as an adult. Frequently moving throughout many cities and towns in Missouri, Mather's and his mother never settled until his late childhood when they moved to Warren, Michigan near Detroit.
As a young teen, Mathers was introduced to hip hop by his mother’s brother, Uncle “Ronnie” Ronald. From the first listen to Ice T’s song entitled “Reckless” and the Beastie Boys’ Licensed To Ill, Mathers developed an interest in music. Mathers began rapping at the age of fourteen using the pseudonym “M&M” and quickly joined “Bassmint Productions” an American record label/hip hop recording group established during 1988. Originally comprised of brothers Jeff and Mark Bass, Bassmint also included Eminem, Chaos Kid, Mannix, Proof, and DJ Buttafingas and released several demo recordings like “Steppin’ onto the Scene,” “Soul Intent,” and “Still in the Bassmint.” During 1995 the group was renamed to Soul Intent and released its first single, "F*ckin’ Backstabber," by Mashin’ Duck Records. Mathers continued to rap within freestyle battles and gained a large following within underground hip hop audiences while enrolled at the Lincoln High School. After repeating 9th grade twice due to truancy and low grades, Mathers dropped out of high school at the age of 17 to pursue his career as a recording artist.
Mathers’ uncle Ronnie committed suicide during 1991 and Mather’s was deeply devastated. Out of the loss, Mathers later referenced Ronnie in songs like “Stan,” “Cleanin’ Out My Closet,” and “My Dad’s Gone Crazy.” One year later, Mathers’ career was advanced by his mentor, Champtown, a local rapper. Mathers’ appeared in Champton’s video “Do-Da-Dipity” but the pair later had a falling out. That same year Mathers signed on to FBT Productions with Jeff and Mark Bass (formerly of Bassmint) and worked as a cook and dishwasher at Gilbert’s Lodge in St. Clair Shores.
During 1995, Mathers became a father to daughter Hailie Jade, born December 25 to his on-and-off again girlfriend (and later wife), Kimberly Anne Scott. The pair began their relationship while in high school during 1989 after Kimberly ran away from her home with her sister, Dawn. The girls moved in with Mathers’ family that year and the relationship was often volatile. Despite personal struggles in his relationships, Mather’s continued to focus upon his career and in 1996, Mathers’ recording career propelled with the release of his debut album, Infinite, by the independent label Web Entertainment. The album captured Mathers’ difficulties as he raised his daughter, Hailie Jade, his desire for wealth, his addictions, and a failed suicide attempt.
Eminem also appeared in the feature article “Unsigned Hype” published by The Source during March of 1998. Mathers married Kim during June of 1999 and one year later, following Kim's second drunk driving charge, the pair began divorce proceedings. The divorce was official during 2001 and Mathers continued to focus on his career and family. Mathers won second place during the 1997 Rap Olympics and gained the attention of Interscope Records CEO Jimmy lovine (who requested Eminem’s demo tape.) As winner of the Wake Up Show’s “Freestyle Performer of the Year” award, Eminem gained a record deal working with record producer Dr. Dre, under his label Aftermath Entertainment. The pair completed Eminem’s first major label album, entitled The Slim Shady LP, produced by Web Entertainment. It was then that Mather’s “realized his musical ambitions were the only way to escape his unhappy life” yet the album received praise and recognition to become one of the most controversial yet most popular albums of the year.
Mather’s second album released during May of 2000 and The Marshall Mathers LP broke sales records with 1.76 million copies sold within its first week. The album garnered huge acclaim from Q magazine, Top40-Charts. com, The Source, and the song “Stan” was listed as the 290th of 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time by Rolling Stone. Eminem appeared on Kid Rock’s Devil Without A Cause c.d. as a guest performer and collaborated with Dr. Dre for three songs on Dre’s album 2001. Eminem joined the Up In Smoke Tour with Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Exibit and was a part of the Family Values Tour along with Limp Bizkit during 2001. During 2002, Eminem released his third album, entitled The Eminem Show, and again broke records with top sales and rising to the top of number one charts within a week of its release. The album was shrouded with controversy and received criticism for misogynistic, hateful anger yet was the best selling album of the year. The album was subject to a probe by the US Secret Service on December 8, 2003 for a bonus track entitled “We As Americans” and a supposed threat aimed at the President of the United States. Eminem’s fourth album, entitled Encore and released in 2004, continued in the success of his previous albums and featured “attacks” of Michael Jackson, George W. Bush, Pee wee Herman, MC Hammer, and Madonna. Many music channels refused to air the music videos from the album.
Eminem dispelled industry rumors insisting he was ending his career to focus upon producing during 2005 and joined the Anger Management Tour with DJ 12, the Alchemist, Lil Jon, and 50 Cent. Eminem then released a two disc album during early 2005 entitled The Funeral which later in December became his greatest hits album, Curtain Call: The Hits. Eminem left the 3 year tour for drug rehabilitation treatment and sleep medication dependency while on the European leg of the tour. One year later, using his personal label, Shady Records, Eminem released The Re-Up. Eminem faded from the spotlight to focus upon personal issues during 2006. He also remarried Kimberly that year and focused upon studio work until September 2007. Interscope records and Eminem confirmed upcoming albums, entitled Relapse and Recovery during late 2008 and the Spring of 2009. The albums featured “old school” collaborations with Dr. Dre and Eminem and reaffirmed Mather’s place in the spotlight when it was released On May 19, 2009. Despite initially faltering sales, the album became one of the top selling international records.
One year later, Eninem began recording his seventh album, entitled Recovery. During June 2010, Eminem and Jay Z performed sold out concerts called The Home and Home tour in Detroit and New York, earning Eminem’s MTV’s "Hottest MC in the Game" and “Emcee of the Year” by HipHopDX. Released on June 18, 2012, recovery cemented Eminem’s fame having achieved nearly instant international success. As the best selling digital album in history, Recovery paved the way for Eminem’s status as the first U.S. solo artist with the most successive number one albums. He was also named the number one rapper of the 21st century by BET. Collaborations with Rihanna for “Love The Way You Lie,” Nicki Minaj for “Roman’s Revenge,” and T.I.’s songs “That’s All She Wrote” and “I Need A Doctor” added to the sky high momentum of Eminem’s return. In collaboration with Royce da 5’9’, Eminem began recording Bad Meets Evil and was featured on Royce Da 5’9” “Writer’s Block.” During March 2011, Mather’s albums The Eminem Show and The Marshall Mathers LP gained diamond certification by the RIAA making him the first and rapper to have two diamond certified albums. That same year, Eminem’s “2.0 Boys,” a collaboration between Yelawolf, Slaughterhouse, and Eminem, was leaked and the pair signed on to Shady Records. On August 6, 2011 Eminem joined Lollapolooza 2011 and offered several live performances along with Ceelo Green, The Cars, Coldplay, The Killers, Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkey, Foster The People, Atmosphere, Explosions in the Sky, Christina Perri, The Pretty Reckless, Wye Oak, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart and many others.
Eminem's best songs typically express strength and confidence in the face of difficulties and obstacles.