Eminem’s Most Essential Songs You Need to Hear
Lyricism is the crux of what makes a great MC, and Eminem has proven himself to be in the rarest of classes when it comes to stringing words together. Making his debut in 1996 with his project Infinite, the Detroit native caught his big break the following year, when his Slim Shady EP caught the ear of Dr. Dre, who signed him to the then-fledgling Aftermath Records Entertainment in 1998. Right after, The Slim Shady LP arrived in 1999, pushing Em into the forefront of the hip-hop scene due to his otherworldly rap skills, shock value of his lyrics, in addition to helping to break racial stigmas within the culture.
The acclaimed rhymer was fortunate to put together one of the most successful runs in rap history by building on his early success with a string of classic albums including The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show, achieving diamond certification on multiple occasions and earning three consecutive Grammy Award wins for Best Rap Album. While the latter half of that decade marked a dark period for Em, he started the new decade anew with his 2010 album release Recovery. The LP served as the icon's evolution from the impulsive firebrand of his younger years to a battle-tested survivor with the scars to show for it.
Since then, Eminem hasn't let his foot off the gas, continuing to release new material like his No. 1-selling album Music to Be Murdered By this year. In addition to recent hits like "Godzilla," his collaboration with the late Juice Wrld, and epic posse cuts like "Yah Yah" featuring Black Thought, Royce 5'9," Q-Tip and Denaun, Eminem has a catalog filled with timeless bangers. Flexing his storytelling prowess on the conceptual masterpieces "Stan" and "Kim," and delivering zany lead single likes "Real Slim Shady" and "Just Lose It," the relentless rhyme animal has covered vast ground in terms of subject matter and shown a willingness to go against the grain.
He continues to challenge himself as a wordsmith and never takes a syllable off in spite of his legacy and long list of accolades. In honor of his illustrious career and standing as one of the undisputed greats of all time, XXL shared 50 essential Eminem songs that are a testament to his excellence.