Even if you aren’t necessarily invested in the world of hip-hop and rap, you’ll doubtlessly know Eminem. You’re great grandmother who hasn’t listened to anything new since Elvis hit the scene knows who Eminem is, he’s just that prolific. Though I would argue that artists like the Notorious B.I.G. or Tupac did more to escalate the genre, Eminem took the abrasive, rough sound of the '90s hip-hop scene and brought it to the masses. His embrace of the scummy, ill-natured Slim Shady persona resonated with audiences at the time, and he maintained his credibility as a genre icon, even as the scene changed and newer stars began to appear. The rap game today is entirely dissimilar from what it was when Mathers got his start, but the fact that he’s still considered to be the king of his craft twenty years later is a testament to his lyrical skill.
He’s been praised by many and held beef with many others, and he’s accrued a huge amount of grammy nominations and accolades that have helped to instill his mark on the world of music. Put simply, the world would not be the same without Eminem, and though it may seem ridiculous to think that some scrawny nobody from Detroit could rise to such fame, we’d be in a rough spot if people like this didn’t come along every once in a while and shake things up. With that in mind, let’s recount 10 people who love — and 10 who hate — Marshall Mathers.
19 Action Bronson Says He Was A Step Ahead
Action Bronson and Eminem must feel some sort of connection. Arian Asllani, the redheaded, caucasian rapper from New York City probably felt that he too was an outsider to a genre that didn’t see many people of his race rise to the top in the '90s. Mathers’ success was a huge impetus for other would-be artists to join the scene, and Action was doubtlessly affected by him.
Asllani has since stated that he grew up on Eminem, though he would have been in his late teens by the time the Detroit rapper dropped his first major record. An apparent fan since the superstar’s early days, Bronson compared him to The Beatles and remarked that he was a step ahead of what everyone else was doing at the time.
18 Ab-Soul Knew The Moment Eminem Because The Real Deal
Due to something of a dud of a first record, few can really claim to be a fan of Eminem from the start. While he was around for a while before he blew up in popularity, his first release, Infinite, didn’t see nearly the kind of success as its predecessors. It’s not exactly bad, but it’s definitely lacking that distinctive Eminem flair that made his following efforts so popular.
American hip-hop artist Ab-Soul, however, has known Eminem since before his big break.
He’s said that Infinite, a track on Marshall’s release of the same name, was the turning point for the artists, though he admits that Stan is actually his favorite song. Slim’s early records impacted tons of young artists at the time, and Ab-Soul is just one example.
17 Hopsin Loves His Raw Lyrics
L.A.-based rapper and record producer Hopsin has praised Mathers for many of the same reasons that I like his stuff. His early work is raw and vicious while maintaining a quirky sort of style that is so distinctly Eminem. He’s mentioned that his favorite of the Detroit sensation’s material is Role Model from The Slim Shady LP, which is also my favorite Eminem record.
Hopsin praised Eminem for his use of simplistic, raw beats, stating that they were only fifty percent of the song, and that Marshall would provide the other fifty percent. The song’s chorus isn’t glitzy, and the overall presentation is very distant from the overproduced tones from bigger acts of the era. All in all, that gritty nature Marshall tapped into is part of what made his music so big.
16 50 Cent And Eminem Are Best Buds
This probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given that Eminem essentially helped to launch his career, but Curtis Jackson, better known by his stage name of 50 Cent, is a huge fan of Marshall Mathers. Eminem has been featured on numerous 50 Cent tracks, and he’s had dealings with the rapper's record label in the past.
That said, their pairing is in some ways surprising, as the blunt, beat-centric performances of 50 Cent don’t really clash well with the lyrically-oriented stylings of Slim Shady. Of course, I am no record mogul, and Marshal clearly had confidence in the New York City based artist. Plus, like Eminem, 50 had a brief stint as an actor, though he’s been much more serious about the undertaking than his counterpart — all told, he’s been in over 25 movies!
15 Nicki Minaj Went As Far As Thanking Him
Eminem is known for having trailed off in recent years when it comes to the divisiveness of his work; in his earlier years, everything he said was a headline, and he always seemed to be insulting some person or group. Today, aside from White House, he doesn’t really start beef with anyone.
Yet, in the 2011 single Fast Lane, a collaborative effort by himself and Royce da 5’9, he saw fit to defame the infamous pop star Nicki Minaj. While his actual lyrics are a bit too egregious to share, rest assured that they weren’t exactly flattering. Minaj, however, was more than grateful to be mentioned in a song by the famous rapper, going so far as to thank him for his interest and passion.
14 Madonna Has No Hard Feelings
Eminem has mentioned the fact that he’s never been the biggest fan of Madonna, and he’s since stated that he’d find an oral examination preferable to attending one of her show’s. While that would be more than enough precedent for the Material Girl to go off on him, Madonna, instead, took the high road and praised Shady for his provocative nature.
She mentioned how she liked his crass nature and penchant for politically-incorrect statements. He had a natural talent to make people’s blood boil, and that’s what she liked about him.
That may sound like an insult in disguise, but she honestly found him to be filling a role that American audiences were in search of at the time. A modern-day Socratic gadfly, just with way more profanity and grammy nominations.
13 Kim Kardashian Was Included In His Song
Eminem has poked fun or lashed out at just about every celebrity under the sun. Form comedians to talk show hosts to religious figures, there’s hardly anybody in the public spotlight Mathers hasn’t at least mentioned in one of his songs. Of course, the uber-famous star of Keeping Up with the Kardashians was subjected to a vulgar, albeit brief, set of lyrics in Eminem’s admittedly ill-received single 3 A.M.
Though the Instagram idol didn’t even correctly recite the lyrics when she went over them, she did say that she was cool with what Eminem was doing.
While some celebs would take offence to defamation of their names at the hands of a no-holds-barred rap icon, Kardashian doesn’t seem to have many scruples. Given that she’s infamous for her appearance in a certain adult-oriented video with another rapper, her mention in Eminem’s single shouldn’t be too concerning.
12 Christina Aguilera Was Insulted
Though he really rose to stardom in the wake of his second release, 2000’s Marshall Mathers LP cemented Eminem as one of the millennium's most prolific rappers. With that kind of attention, of course, came an increased scrutiny of his lyrics. Mathers didn’t let up, though, and he managed to upset plenty of celebrities, politicians, and public icons with his work.
Chief amongst them was pop diva Christina Aguilera, who was admittedly subjected to some harsh accusations at the hands of the vicious Slim Shady. Though these lyrics can’t be repeated hear, Eminem fans will doubtlessly already have identified the verse in Mathers’ track The Real Slim Shady to which I’m referring. Aguilera has stated that she felt his lyrics to be disgusting, offensive, and untrue, but these apparently salacious remarks have stuck with the singer years after the record’s release.
11 Barack Obama Gets Pumped Up
While these days Eminem is far from apolitical, he wasn’t quick to jump on the bandwagon for then-presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008. Ten years later he would go on to produce entire records about the man in the White House, but politics just wasn’t a feature of his life at the time, and wouldn’t really be present on either Relapse or Recovery.
Obama, however, was apparently a fan of him, as he’s admitted to listening to Lose Yourself to pump him up before major events on the campaign trail, and he can be seen in some candid DNC videos bobbing his head to the song.
Elements like these help to humanize lofty politicians, and Barack’s interest in Marshall’s work certainly served him well, as he went on to serve two terms in the Oval Office.
10 Ronda Rousey Didn't Mind Being Included In His Song
Even the most stalwart of Eminem fans have to admit that some of his flows turn into baffling lines of insane, difficult-to-follow storytelling that often fail to connect. Eminem’s recent collaborative effort entitled Shady XV featured him likely following one of those crazy thought patterns as he went off on UFC star Ronda Rousey.
Rousey, however, was totally cool with it. When someone as big as Slim Shady mentions you in one of their songs, you know you’ve made it,
and I suppose that’s how Rousey felt when she talked about it with Jimmy Kimmel. The athlete said that she appreciated what Eminem was doing with his music and that, in her eyes, he succeeded in delivering a menacing, visceral verse that went beyond the typical tenants of most music.
9 Mariah Carey Has History With Eminem
World-renown recording artist Mariah Carey has been in the news lately for her high-profile split with record producer and entrepreneur ex-husband Nick Cannon. Yet, around the turn of the century, she was making headlines for her romantic run-ins with the Real Slim Shady. Things went South, however, when Marshal apparently felt that their relationship was more serious than Carey did. They later broke up, and Eminem has since spoken ill of her several times on record.
Carey has stated that they only hung out three or four times, and she didn’t think much of it.
Mathers, who is well known for keeping to himself following his fallout with his ex-girlfriend Kimberly Scott, doesn’t appear to hold a high opinion of Carey or her ex-husband.
8 Michael Jackson Didn't Appreciate Eminem's Lyrics
The opening lines of Eminem’s 2004 single Just Lose It, a satirical and witty play on the success he had garnered from the song Lose Yourself two years prior, is a proclivity of derogatory statements and entendres levelled at beloved pop-icon Michael Jackson. While Jackson was a pretty easy target at the time thanks to the allegations, the King of Pop still found time to refute Eminem’s on-record accusations.
Following the release of the music video for Just Lose It, one of Jackson's representatives issued a statement declaring that Michael found the video to be profoundly inappropriate and line-crossing.
Of course, Mathers is well-known for crossing lines, and Michael Jackson really should have seen something like this coming, though I doubt Eminem actually held any real contempt for the ultra-famous pop star.
7 Will Smith Went The Clean Route
Much akin to the likes of Mark Wahlberg, lots of people forget that Will Smith actually had a brief career as a rapper. Wahlberg is perhaps more infamous for his '90s-soaked stint as a recording artist, but it can be difficult to purge your ears of the atrocity that was Will Smith’s 1999 single Wild Wild West. Though his music is kind of aggravating these days, during the late '90s,
Smith was all over the place, and he’s notable for having denounced the use of aggressive language in hip-hop and rap in his 1998 Grammy speech.
Yes, Will Smith won a Grammy — two of them, actually. Eminem felt that his profanity-laced tracks were under fire, and he argued quite famously that he had to include such language in his music to sell records.
6 Nick Cannon Stood Up For His Wife
Getting back to the weirdness that was Eminem’s apparent interest in Mimi, in 2009, Eminem put out a self-released single entitled The Warning, which dealt with his feelings for Mariah and his disdain for her then-husband Nick Cannon. This single was in response to Carey’s music video for her song Obsessed which portrayed the rapper as some kind of obsessed stalker.
She later went on to deny her alleged relationship with Eminem and comment that he had something of a Napoleon complex.
Cannon later wrote a scathing post on his blog describing his hatred toward the Detroit rapper and his disgust for his apparent infatuation with his wife. Eminem’s account of what his short tryst with Carey was like differs entirely and the situation likely hasn’t improved in the near ten years since this story first broke.
5 Everlast Sang About Eminem's Daughter
Perhaps most known for his 1998 track What It’s Like, singer/songwriter Everlast was lambasted by Eminem on the 2000 single Quitter for giving up on his urban roots and introducing a country/blues style into his music. Of course, this didn’t sit well with Schrody, who fired back on a remixed track of Dilated Peoples’ Ear Drums Pop. The diss involved Mathers’ daughter, of whom he is known to be extremely protective of.
Though an artist known for stepping over the line, Eminem was enraged by the assault on his lineage, and the rapper ridiculed the cardiac trauma through which Everlast had recently suffered from. Following this, Schrody again lyrically attacked Marshal’s daughter and mocked his at-the-time pending assault charges. After that, Eminem refused to respond, ending the feud.
4 Insane Clown Posse Had Beef With Eminem For Years
Marshall Mathers’ beef with horror-core icons Insane Clown Posse has been well-documented and stems from the beginning of his career. The feud started when Eminem allegedly advertised that the face-painted group would make an appearance at the release party for his 1999 record The Slim Shady LP.
They didn’t take kindly to the name dropping, and a vicious duel started between the two groups, a duel which consisted mostly of years of subtle mockery baked into both artist’s records. Most recently, Eminem’s 2013 release The Marshall Mathers LP 2 made fun of ICP’s relatively ludicrous 2010 release Miracles. The Insane Clown Posse has fallen from popularity since their heyday in the late '90s, yet Eminem has remained a chart-topping icon of his genre, which provides a good indication of who actually won that particular beef.
3 Ja Rule Made Assumptions About Eminem's Daughter
When it comes to dealing with Eminem, there are few lines you shouldn’t cross — one of them being introducing his daughter to the mix. Ja Rule, of course, did this when Mathers was drawn into the longtime feud between Ja Rule and Eminem’s newly-signed artist 50 Cent. Ja Rule posited in his song Loose Change that, given Eminem's history and personal struggles, his daughter would go on to leave a similar legacy. The Detroit-based rapper later countered with a verse on his song Hail Mary, which ripped Ja Rule for his struggles and flagrant imitation of genre superstar Tupac. The following years would see the end of Rule’s career, which brought with it the end of this particular beef.
2 Fred Durst Has A Long-Time Feud With Eminem
Nu metal titans Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst is a longtime enemy of Slim Shady. Their beef originated as a side effect of Eminem’s disdain for rock/blues artist Everlast. Marshall had planned to book studio time with Durst to formulate a diss track centered around Everlast, but the famous metal frontman cancelled at the last second. Relations between the two were further swallowed following Durst’s support of Everlast, prompting Mathers to lambast the two in D12’s track Girls.
Eminem undoubtedly had the last laugh, though, as Fred Durst has long since dropped from the public consciousness. Limp Bizkit hasn’t produced anything new since 2011’s oft-mocked Gold Cobra, and they’re often thought of among metal-heads as something of a laughing stock. Eminem, on the other hand, remains nearly as relevant as he’s ever been.
1 Donald Jr. Didn't Stay Silent
Despite Eminem being typically penchant for staying out of politics, the results of 2016’s presidential election really got him fired up. Though the subsequent record he dropped late last year, considering the current political climate, didn’t hold much water among fans and critics alike, the rapper’s BET freestyle was heralded as the kind of lyrical lambasting that really caught the public's attention.
Donald Jr. was quick to take to Twitter and attack Mathers for preparing his verse before it was televised. He stated that he thought the pre-planned attack on the politician wasn’t the best look for the 45-year-old rapper. We bet this won't be the last time Eminem shares his thoughts on the White House.
References: hehill.com, axs.com, theatlantic.com, theatlantic.com, hotnewhiphop.com