A Guide To Eminem’s Best Songs Of All Time

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Fresh off of performing ‘Forgot About Dre’ and ‘Lose Yourself’ at the Super Bowl LVI halftime show, it feels like the love for the Detroit legend is at its height in recent years. To celebrate the career of arguably the best rapper of all time, we’ve compiled a list of Eminem's best songs. The only rule is that they have to be his song, meaning he can’t be a feature. Leaks have been taken into consideration.

Check out the list below and let us know what you think.

1. ‘Beautiful’

This song gets somewhat lost in the conversation of other introspective Eminem songs and it also feels like an anomaly on Relapse, but the verses here tell one of the more important stories of Em’s career. The first two were written in 2005 when he was in the midst of his battle with drug addiction and they hit much harder when you know that.

2. ‘Bully’

Diss tracks have been a staple for Em throughout his career, even as recently as ‘Killshot’ versus Machine Gun Kelly. It’s usually hard for those to make a list of a rapper’s best songs, but ‘Bully’ isn’t even the only song on here which takes aim at Benzino and Ja Rule. The mockery in Eminem’s tone here is great and his warnings feel stern as ever.

3. ‘Cleanin’ Out My Closet’

The relationship that Eminem has with some of his family has been well documented over his career and perhaps the most infamous example of his venting comes on ‘Cleanin’ Out My Closet’ from The Eminem Show. Despite later saying the song makes him cringe and never performing it, the impact of this song’s anthemic chorus and venomous verses is unforgettable.

4. ‘Crack A Bottle’

Released in February of 2009, ‘Crack A Bottle’ featuring 50 Cent and Dr. Dre eventually won the GRAMMY for Best Performance by a Duo or Group in the following year. Despite leaking a few weeks before its official release, it also broke the first week digital download record with 418k downloads.

5. ‘Criminal’

Around the release of The Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem was of course facing “picket signs for (his) wicked rhymes”, so his go-to response was to be as offensive as possible on the album’s closing track, ‘Criminal’. It’s certainly tongue-in-cheek, but that never stopped people disputing the song’s content. Either way, the song is held in high regard amongst Em’s fans.

6. ‘Difficult’

Since the tragic murder of his best friend Proof in 2006, Eminem has dedicated just a few records to the Detroit legend, saying that nothing can really do him justice. One of them is ‘Difficult’, which leaked in 2010 a few years after it was made. It’s easily one of the best songs of Em’s long career and portrays the grief of losing someone close to you incredibly well. There’s a version with Obie Trice doing the chorus too, which works well with the verses.

7. ‘Headlights’

The contrast between The Marshall Mathers LP and its 2013 sequel is vast in more ways than one, but one of the most potent lines you can draw is how Eminem’s attitude towards his mother changed from one album to its successor. On ‘Headlights’, he pours his heart out, admitting he regrets his earlier words about his mum and loves her from afar. In the context of Eminem and his growth, this song is an absolute gem and is only enhanced by its video.

8. ‘Infinite’

Eminem’s first album was released in 1996 via Web Entertainment and is called Infinite. While the album doesn’t get a lot of shine on a mainstream level, the title track from it does get appreciated as a cult-classic amongst Eminem fans. Em has said that this is the best song from the album and called it “show your skill type of shit”. His multi-syllabic style is present in a more mellow way here.

9. ‘Kill You’

After the mass success of The Slim Shady LP, critics proposed the question of what Eminem would rap about now, with his newfound stature. His direct response came on the first song on The Marshall Mathers LP when he rapped “they said I can’t rap about being broke no more, they ain’t say I can’t rap about coke no more”. Em is particularly vulgar on this song, simply to prove a point then he can do whatever he wants.

10. ‘Like Toy Soldiers’

While Encore isn’t considered to be one of Eminem’s best albums, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have his bright spots. One of the highlights of the LP is ‘Like Toy Soldiers’, a rare show of maturity in beef from Em. Throughout the song, he displays his consciousness of the consequences of issues in Hip-Hop, citing Biggie and 2Pac’s deaths as examples of things taking a turn for the worse.

11. ‘Lose Yourself’

Eminem’s biggest song is also arguably the most well-known Hip-Hop song of all time. It won the Oscar for Best Original Song in 2002 and was performed at the Super Bowl halftime show earlier this month, getting an insane reaction. It spent more than six months in the Top 50 of the Billboard Hot 100 and is one of the 64 songs in history that has been certified Diamond (Eminem has three).

12. ‘Marshall Mathers’

‘Marshall Mathers’ is a reflection on all of the chaos that The Slim Shady LP caused, including the fame, his mother’s lawsuit and comments from Vanilla Ice and Insane Clown Posse about him. He does a great job of portraying himself as someone who had success thrust upon him and didn’t know what to do with it.

13. ‘Mockingbird’

‘Mockingbird’ from 2004’s Encore album is a letter from the rapper to his two daughters, acknowledging the crazy situation they’re in with their parents’ public feud, their father’s fame and their mother’s drug addiction. The second verse is a tear-jerker, especially when Em talks about not being able to afford Christmas presents one year and spending the night crying.

14. ‘No Apologies’

Eminem Presents: The Re-Up is a compilation album that was released in 2006 that was generally seen a disappointment, sans ‘No Apologies’, an Eminem solo cut that resembled some of his best work. The beat is menacing and Em’s content is as unpredictable as either, both of which get wrapped up together with his vintage aggressive flow. Though it’s lesser-known, Em fans agree that this is one of his better songs ever.

15. ‘No Love’

Not many songs on this list have features at all, let alone rappers with verses, but ‘No Love’ from Recovery is a gem of a collaboration between Eminem and Lil Wayne who have only been on the same song three times, with this song in addition to ‘Drop The World’ and Drake’s ‘Forever’. Em and Wayne trade a pair of phenomenal verses heightened by epic Just Blaze production. The song is ferocious and has us wanting another collaboration between the pair before they hang the gloves up.

16. ‘Rap God’

‘Rap God’ is a 6-minute exposition of the idea that Eminem has ascended his status as a human in Hip-Hop. The track is pretty much a lyrical tirade from start to finish, with the emphasis being on Em’s speed in the J.J. Fad “summa-lumma, dooma-lumma” portion where he compares himself to Mr. Fantastic. 

17. ‘Renegade’

Perhaps you see ‘Renegade’ and you’re confused about an Eminem feature making a list of his own best songs, but the original version of that JAY-Z song was actually a song by Royce 5’9” and Eminem, who make up the duo Bad Meets Evil. Em’s verses on this song were so good that we needed to include this version of the song that leaked on this list. Although it gets overstated how Eminem bodied Hov on the official version of the song, it must still be acknowledged that the term “renegade”, along with “stan”, has made it into the Hip-Hop dictionary regardless.

18. ‘Sing For The Moment’

‘Sing For The Moment’ is a fan favourite amongst Em fans because on the record, he talks directly to them in spite of the critics wondering why he has fans. Aerosmith’s ‘Dream On’ chorus fits perfectly on here.

19. ‘Stan’

‘Stan’ could easily make a top 10 list of the best Hip-Hop songs of all time, let alone the best of Eminem’s career. The way he slowly builds Stan’s rage only to turn the story onto its head by the end of the song doesn’t really lose its impact with every listen. It’s also impossible to ignore the fact that the song also birthed the word “stan”, which is used like it’s in the dictionary today.

20. ‘The Real Slim Shady’

This single was birthed from there being a little label pressure for another ‘My Name Is’ kind of record and Em gave them just that. It’s one of the best examples of Em’s humour on records and him taking aim at celebrities, putting his own spin on real life scenarios. 

21. ‘The Ringer’

The reception to Eminem’s Revival album was mixed, to put it kindly. The music and even guests on the album were criticised heavily and Em was conscious of the reaction. Less than a year after that album came Kamikaze, an attempt to stick a middle finger up at the critics while also giving fans what he thought they wanted. The opener, ‘The Ringer’, sums up the context well over production that fans wanted to hear Eminem over more than his previous work.

22. ‘The Sauce’

‘The Sauce’ is a response to Benzino’s ‘Pull Your Skirt Up’ and of course plays off of the magazine that he was a co-owner of at the time, The Source. There’s no chorus and Em is relentless in one long verse here. The diss songs aimed at Benzino, especially this one, are credited with changing the perception of The Source to this day.

23. ‘The Way I Am’

Some songs on here can certainly be debated, but this list wouldn’t be right without ‘The Way I Am’ on here. Em’s flow is harsh, relying on anapaestic tetrameter, which essentially describes which syllables he stresses and is a big reason for how pissed off he sounds on the song.

24. ‘’Till I Collapse’

Though it was never officially released as a single, ‘’Till I Collapse’ gets love as one of Em’s best records around the world. The long introduction builds anticipation and Em comes in on the crescendo with his classic verse; “’till I collapse I’m spilling these raps”. Add Nate Dogg on the chorus and you have an all-time great record.

25. ‘Welcome 2 Hell’

‘Welcome 2 Hell’ is the introduction to Eminem and Royce’s Hell: The Sequel album. The chemistry is at an all time high all over this album, but this song stands out as being particularly brutal. Both MCs put their best foot forward for arguably the best song on the album.

26. 'When I’m Gone’

On the heartfelt ‘When I’m Gone’, Eminem talks directly to his daughter and describes a dream he keeps having where he has to leave his family behind to go on tour. It haunts him and by the end, his daughters scold him for the decision to leave them. He wakes by the end and flips the meaning of the chorus in a beautiful way.

27. ‘You Gon’ Learn’

This song appeared on side A of Music To Be Murdered By, making it one of the newest songs on the list. Both Eminem and Royce 5’9’ stand out on the song and deliver some of their more memorable verses in recent years between White Gold’s mellow hook.

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