Happy Birthday Eminem: Slim Shady's 40 Best Quotes to XXL


It's a bit crazy to think back to Eminem's introduction to the world as that zany kid on "My Name Is," and realize that he turns 40 today. In the nearly decade and a half since that initial hit, the Detroit native has released some classic albums, grabbed all sorts of accolades, and earned a reputation as one of the best in hip-hop and the biggest in all of music. He's also given more than a few memorable quotes. So, in honor of Em's 40th birthday, XXL took a look back at the many times he's spoken with the magazine to compile his 40 best quotes.



“I really never understood what the hell a Grammy was. Growing up, it always seemed like a bunch of older people wearing tuxedos, deciding whose album they thought was the best. It’s nice when people want to give you an award, but I’d rather have the respect of my peers in the type of music that I make than anything else first. But now, I don’t mean to brag, I have nine of those muthafuckas, and I love them, so I’m trying to get one more, to make it and even 10.” —September 2007


“My skills as a producer had just started to grow on The Marshall Mathers LP. I really began to know my way around the studio. I also think this is where my song skills were developing, because I started thinking about different ways to develop new ideas into something that worked as a story in song form.” —September 2007


“The ideas for [‘Stan’] just jumped out of my brain when I listened to the demo version of the beat, which was originally presented to me by Mark the 45 King. The ideas of an obsessed fan came from the chorus, where Dido sings about, ‘Your picture on my wall...’ But it’s funny, because I hadn’t heard the rest of Dido’s song, just the chorus we looped. The original song, ‘Thank You,’ is actually a nice love song. And look what I went and did to it.” —September 2007


“I’ve never regretted recording any of those songs. People always go way too far with shit and start with the, ‘Oh, he’s influencing people to do this or think that.’ They’re songs: Words and music. It’s not an instruction manual on how to act or how to think.” —September 2007, on backlash from violent and homophobic lyrics


“I guess I can get away with more since I’m White, in some areas, sure. But I also can get away with less in others. I think that more so than anything else, the fact that Dre signed a White rapper got people’s attention more quickly. And Dre gave me ideas to do and say things that he couldn’t or didn’t want to do. Like your big brother saying, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if you did this or that?’ It worked.” —September 2007


“The loss, just knowing that you’ll never see that person again, and see their smile or talk to them, or just talk shit to each other and just kick it...I have my good days, my bad days.” —July 2006, on the death of Proof


“Nobody could fuck with Proof. First of all, nobody in the city could say he ever lost a battle.” —July 2006


“Rap was the common thing, but we could walk around talking about girlfriends and stuff like that. We would take turns buying tapes. If the new Big Daddy Kane tape came out and I had just bought an Audio Two tape, then he bought Biz Markie. He would come over, and we would sit across from each other and do these speed raps and see how fast we could write and how good we could make it.” —July 2006, on friendship with Proof


“We would fight like brothers. We would fight over something so stupid—I was supposed to pick him up to play ball and I was 15 minutes late. And he was like, ‘Yo, I don’t feel like playing now.’ And we would have a falling out about it and wouldn’t talk for a month. Next thing you know, he’d be walking by, and he’d swat me on the ass with a towel to let me know that we’d squashed the beef.” —July 2006, on relationship with Proof

The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards - Show

“And on the first record he said it wasn’t a Black and White thing! He’s going through a midlife crisis, and it’s sad. I feel bad for him. His time has run out as a rapper, and he knows it. It’s gotta be tough.” —March 2003, on Benzino


“Right before The Eminem Show dropped, I said to a few different people that I was in a little bit of a slump as far as hip-hop was concerned. I was just bored. It was like the same artists were doing it consistently and nobody new was coming up. Then, right at the same time, my manager Paul started pushing me like, ‘You gotta hear 50’s new shit, you gotta hear 50’s new shit.’ But when I’m in album mode, I can’t really listen to other people’s shit. So once I finished the record, I really sat down and listened to Guess Who’s Back? That and the first G-Unit CD. I started bumping them and they became my shit. But first I went to Dre with it. Dre heard it, thought it was crazy, so we were just like, ‘Let’s fly him out.” —March 2003


“I mean, there’s probably people that want to shoot me. When you’re at the top of the ladder, I mean, what the fuck?” —March 2003



“First of all, me and Dre didn’t realize that we need to consult with Ja Rule and Irv Gotti on all of our business moves.” —March 2003, on Ja Rule’s statement that he wants to take them under

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“It’s always the people at the bottom that try to pull you down into that bullshit. Somebody who feels like their album is in danger of not selling too well or something. Honestly, artists like myself, 50 and Dr. Dre—we don’t need to do promotional stunts to sell our records.” —March 2003

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“What these people have done has turned out to be reverse promotion. Because they spent their whole time on the air talking about 50...I don’t know, do I owe them more for that?” —March 2003, on Murda Inc.

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“Here’s the thing with the tapes, and what they have: I’m not disputing the fact that it’s me. The only thing that I’m disputing is the timeline of the tapes, you know. The tape is 15 years old, from like ’88, ’89.” —March 2004, on Dave Mays and Benzino releasing audio on which Eminem used the N-word

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“I don’t think anyone around me is questioning where my heart is at. I got with Dre, got in a position to do something and came back and got my group [D12], and got into a position where I can sign other artists.” —March 2004

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“I was good for hip-hop when I was on the cover of two of their top-selling issues. I was good when they put me in Unsigned Hype. I was good for hip-hop then. But now I’m not. Now Marshall is a racist. Marshall makes stupid fucking songs when he was a fucking kid.” —March 2004, on controversy with The Source

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“You come to realize growing up that you judge people for individuality. And not only has hip-hop made us progress, like, we’ve progressed as a fucking human race.” —March 2004

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“I thank God every day for the position that I’m in. I don’t know if a lot of people would want my life and necessarily want the pressures, like the fucking entire world leaning on my shoulders or whatever, but so far I’ve been able to keep it together.” —March 2004

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“On The Marshall Mathers LP I got a little better at riding beats, like staying on top of them. But on The Eminem Show I started riding the hi-hat instead of the snare or the bass drum, like with ‘Cleanin’ Out My Closet.’ Every time I do a new song, it’s like I’m learning a new trick.” —January/February 2005

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“It’ll usually start out, when I first start making the record, that the first five, six or seven songs will be dark, like real emotional. And then, usually at the tail end, I get in with Dre, and that’s when I start making crazy shit. His beats do something to me.” —January/February 2005

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“Words seem to be worse when I use ’em. It’s just when I do something, it tends to be worse. If Chris Rock says, ‘Michael Jackson showed up to court looking like Captain Crunch,’ that’s fine. But if I do a spoof...” —January/February 2005

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“What ‘Toy Soldiers’ meant to me, metaphorically, is sometimes you do feel like a pawn in a chess game between record labels. When beefs happen between artists, sales tend to incline. A lot of the bigger heads at the record labels are gonna go home and go to sleep at night. And meanwhile, you gotta worry about when you’re going to do your next show, how you gotta man the fuck up. You gotta have an entourage that’s a hundred people deep, literally. So it gets to a point where it’s just ridiculous. That was my message.” —January/February 2005

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“I’m disappointed and I voted for Kerry. And, you know, he lost. And from the ‘Mosh’ record, I don’t know if I need to go even further about how I feel about Bush. But I will say that hopefully he can live up to the promises that he made during the debates and all his speeches and all that and pull our troops the fuck out of this war so that we ain’t so deep into this shit.” —January/February 2005, on the 2004 Presidential election

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“We did our best to get it out as soon as we could. But do I wish it could have come out two weeks earlier? Yes.” —January/February 2005, on releasing the politically-charged “Mosh”

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“And when I decide to put the mic down, I still wanna help hip-hop build and help the evolution of the next generation of MCs. And better myself. Better myself as a human being.” —January/February 2005

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“When I say I went into a dark place, it feels like I literally crawled into a hole. There were days I’d just sit around all day and take pills and try to numb myself. It was almost an excuse for me to take more pills, like, I just lost Proof, so it’s okay for me to take a couple of pills.” —June 2009

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“There was, like, a two-year period where I couldn’t write shit. With what was going on and shit, I just couldn’t. I was so cluttered in my mind that everything I was writing wasn’t worth recording.” —June 2009, on his creative block following Proof’s death

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“Not only does Relapse mean coming out of rehab, but I wanted to go back to Proof’s idea of ‘Let’s just say the most fucked-up shit that we can.’ So I’ve kinda gone back to that direction.” —June 2009

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“Mine and 50’s relationship has always been the same. It’s always been good. If anything, we’ve gotten closer in the last few years. 50 will come to my house and just stay the night. Stay the weekend in one of the bedrooms and just hang out. And we talk about shit.” —June 2009

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“I gained a bunch of weight in my time off. I got lazy. I was eating a lot, just because the pills make you feel hungry. Then, just this past year, I got clean, I got sober, and I started running. So I run every day. The last couple of weeks, I’ve been up to 10 miles a day.” —June 2009

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“It was a process. Me and Royce had to rekindle that friendship and get that, set all the beef and all the dumb shit aside.” —March 2011, on the first steps of bringing Slaughterhouse to Shady Records

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“Slaughterhouse, it’s kinda phase two of Shady. The new generation of Shady records. And we’re trying to rebuild our label. But it’s exciting for hip-hop because everyone in the group is a solo artist, and it’s, like, all these forces coming together to make a record together, with all of everybody’s ideas and shit, like that, and what everybody’s capable of on the mic, it’s gonna be fun.” —March 2011

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“You know, for a few years, it didn’t feel like lyrics were in anymore. It wasn’t cool to be lyrical.” —March 2011, on why he was excited by Slaughterhouse

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“Tupac showed me how to incorporate emotion into song. Whether he was pissed off, happy, sad, whatever...he had the ability to let you know exactly how he was feeling. At the time, nobody was really bringing that type of emotional intensity into rap. And nobody’s really done it like him since.” —September 2011

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“Say no to drugs.” —September 2012