The 15 Best Eminem Songs

His animated delivery and brilliant songwriting put him over the top

Eminem's brilliant songwriting is just part of what makes him one of the greatest emcees of our time. His flow is among the best hip-hop has ever witnessed and his animated delivery forces you to pay attention. Whether he's dissing Mariah Carey or doting on his daughter, Eminem always seems to find the right blend of rhyme and music:

'Low, Down, and Dirty,' from 'Slim Shady EP'

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Before the Grammys, the pop hits, and that quadruple-platinum album, Eminem was a hardcore ​lyricist exploring multisyllabic rhyme schemes in the low, down-and-dirty underground Detroit rap circuit. "Hearing voices in my head, while these whispers echo," Eminem rapped on this cut from 1997's "Slim Shady EP." It signaled the arrival of the future "Rap God."

'White America,' from 'The Eminem Show'

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By the time "The Eminem Show" arrived in 2002, Eminem had already hammered down his formula for success. With the music figured out, Eminem could stand firm and really deliver on his narrative. "White America" exemplified his state-of-the-union approach to hot-button issues, such as privilege. It has a straight-faced yet clever take on the subject without compromising quality. "Let’s do the math: If I was black I woulda sold half/I ain’t have to graduate from Lincoln High School to know that," Em states on the standout record.

'Infinite,' from 'Infinite'

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To the casual observer, Eminem entered the game a fully formed emcee. What wasn't always obvious to Eminem fans was the years of grind in the underground circuit that shaped his unique ability. "Infinite," his underground debut, produced several moments of brilliance capped by scintillating rhyme work showcased on the title track. Eminem was blindingly good on this one. His timing was remarkable; his flow was impeccable:

"My pen and paper cause a chain reaction
To get your brain relaxin'
The zany actin' maniac in action
A brainiac in fact, son
You mainly lack attraction."

'Cleanin' Out My Closet,' from 'The Eminem Show'

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"The Eminem Show" was brilliant for many reasons. It was a well-rounded album that demonstrated Em's willingness to experiment with different sounds and genres. Above all, it was Eminem at his most introspective, especially on "Cleanin' Out My Closet." Eminem uses the song to air the skeletons in his closet while acknowledging personal missteps in a way that only he could. Some harsh words, several painful realizations, and a whole lot of candor help make this an unforgettable statement.

'Forgot About Dre,' from '2001'

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This list highlights songs on Eminem's projects, but "Forgot About Dre" from Dre's "​2001" deserves an exception. Although "Forgot About Dre" is credited to Dre, Eminem's appearance punctuates the essence of the track. Slim's verse wins the day, and though it's a genuine gesture of appreciation for Doc's place in hip-hop, by the time Slim likens his style to "a set of twin babies, in a Mercedes-Benz, with the windows up, when the temp goes up to the mid-80s," you've already forgotten about Dre.

'Sing for the Moment,' from 'The Eminem Show'

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Taking a page from Aerosmith’s songbook, Eminem creates in "Sing for the Moment" a sprawling eye-opener about the hazards of monkey-see-monkey-do. Over the backdrop of Joe Perry’s piercing guitar strokes, Em quips:

“They say music can alter moods and talk to you.
Well, can it load a gun up for you and cock it too?
Well, if it can, and the next time you assault a dude
Just tell the judge it was my fault, and I’ll get sued.”

'Rap God,' from 'Marshall Mathers LP 2'

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This "MMLP2" standout is a dizzying lyrical exercise worthy of a college treatise. Eminem adopts just about every flow on the planet—lazy, double-time, simple 4/4, you name it—while making a case for hip-hop supremacy. His point? Why be a rap king when you can be a rap god?

'Rock Bottom,' from 'The Slim Shady LP'

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Having enraged everyone, including his (now estranged) wife and his mom, you would least expect Eminem to have a soft spot in his heart. Turns out he does. "Rock Bottom" has Em kicking his angry blond image to the curb for a moment of introspection and self-pity, obviously penned at a time when life was "full of empty promises and broken dreams."

'Yellow Brick Road,' from 'Encore'

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The N-word is already at the heart of a burning controversy within the African-American populace. So imagine what the world's most famous white rapper was up against when a couple of kids came forth with a tape of him using the racial epithet. Rather than hop on a podium and yell "I'm not racist!," Em opted for a viable approach: a song indexing his upbringing in a predominantly black Detroit neighborhood. "Yellow Brick Road" chronicles what that tape forgot to tell you.

'Role Model,' from 'The Slim Shady LP'

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"I'm cancerous, so when I diss you wouldn't wanna answer this/If you responded back with a battle rap you wrote for Canibus."

Some say this was the one that jumped off a battle between Eminem and Canibus. Whatever the case, "Role Model" stands as a testament to the impeccable chemistry between Eminem and his producer-mentor Dr. Dre.

'Guilty Conscience' (featuring Dr. Dre), from 'The Slim Shady LP'

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With Dr. Dre posturing as the antithesis of Em's evil-minded conscience, both doctor and patient conceive a cure for dry hip-hop collaborations in "Guilty Conscience." Slim Shady instructs a young party-crasher to rape a 15-year-old girl, while Dre battles him to prevent the disturbingly immoral act from occurring. Hip-hop emerges victorious.

'Lose Yourself,' from '8 Mile' (Soundtrack)

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Eminem's songwriting prowess is part of what made him one of the premier emcees of the 2000s. "Lose Yourself" has the double gift of being both an inspirational speech and an instruction manual. Em tells you to "lose yourself in the moment," while the beat motivates you to move your feet—perfect for a mid-tempo workout session. Plus, the songwriting is pure genius.

'Till I Collapse' (featuring. Nate Dogg), from 'The Eminem Show'

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Highlighted by a sprightly sound clash and stained with frustration that reveals Em's unwillingness to abandon his hip-hop roots, the Nate Dogg-assisted "Till I Collapse" is a special song. Despite his fury, Slim stops to salute his elders: "I got a list here's the order that my list it's in;/It goes Reggie, Jay-Z, Tupac and Biggie Andre from OutKast, Jada, Kurupt, Nas and then me."

'The Way I Am,' from 'Marshall Mathers LP'

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No targets, no punching bags on "The Way I Am," just Eminem defending his existence as an unapologetic, foul-mouthed, lyrically equipped artist who can't stand boy bands.

'Stan' (featuring Dido), from 'Marshall Mathers LP'

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You only need to listen to "Stan" once before realizing that this ill-fated account of a psychotic Eminem worshipper is simply unforgettable. "Stan" unmasks a vulnerable Eminem, who turns up the pathos several notches while barely raising his voice. Dido's ethereal crooning adds more soot to the tale.