Top 15 Best Eminem Songs

2014 MTV Movie Awards - Show
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Eminem's brilliant songwriting is just one part of what makes him one of the greatest emcees of our time. His flow is one of 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 rhymes and music. His catalog is stuffed with such moments of brilliance.

Here are Eminem's 15 best songs of all time.

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"Low, Down, and Dirty" [Slim Shady EP]

Slim Shady EP

Before the Grammys, the pop hits, and that quadruple-platinum albums, Eminem was a hardcore lyricists exploring multi-syllabic 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 standout from 1997's Slim Shady EP. It quietly signaled the arrival of the future "Rap God."

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"White America" [The Eminem Show]

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

By the time The Eminem Show arrived in 2002, Eminem had already hammered down his success formula. With the music figured out, Eminem was able to stand firm and really deliver on his narrative here. For example, "White America" best exemplified Eminem's state-of-the-union approach to hot button issues, such as privilege. It has the 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.

of 15

"Infinite" [Infinite]

Eminem - Infinite
Eminem - Infinite.

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

Here's a taste:

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

of 15

"Cleanin' Out My Closet" [The Eminem Show]

© Interscope

The Eminem Show was brilliant for a number of reason. It was a well-rounded album. It 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 out 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 one an unforgettable statement.

of 15

"Forgot About Dre" [2001]

Dr. Dre and Eminem
Eminem and Dr.Dre perform together at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards. © Getty Images/Kevin Winter

This list is highlights songs that appeared 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 truly 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-eighties," you've already forgotten about Dre.

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"Sing for the Moment" [The Eminem Show]


Taking a page from Aerosmith's songbook, Eminem creates 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."

of 15

"Rap God" [Marshall Mathers LP 2]

Marshall Mathers LP 2 Cover
© Shady Records/Interscope


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?

of 15

"Rock Bottom" [The Slim Shady LP]

Eminem - The Slim Shady LP
Eminem - The Slim Shady LP. © Aftermath/Interscope


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 blonde 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."

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"Yellow Brick Road" [Encore]

Eminem - Encore. © Aftermath/Interscope Records


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 pre-dominantly black Detroit neighborhood. "Yellow Brick Road" chronicles what that tape forgot to tell you.

of 15

"Role Model" [The Slim Shady LP]


"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.

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"Guilty Conscience" (featuring Dr.Dre) [The Slim Shady LP]

Dr. Dre
Dr. Dre. (Photo by Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images for BET)


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. Slim Shady instructs a young party-crasher to rape a 15-yr old girl, while Dre battles him to prevent the disturbingly immoral act from occurring. Hip-hop emerges victorious.

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Eminem - "Lose Yourself" [8 Mile OST]

© Universale


Eminem's songwriting prowess is part of what made him one of the premier MCs of the 2000s. "Lose Yourself" has the double gift of being both an inspirational speech and an instructional manual. Em instructs 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.

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"Till I Collapse" (feat. Nate Dogg) [The Eminem Show]

Nate Dogg
Nate Dogg. © Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images


Highlighted by a sprightly sound clash and stained with enough frustration that reveals Marshall's unwillingness to abandon his hip-hop roots, the Nate Dogg-assisted "Till I Collapse" is a special song indeed. 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."

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"The Way I Am" [Marshall Mathers LP]


No targets. No punching bags. Just Eminem defending his sheer existence as an unapologetic, foul-mouthed, lyrically-equipped artist who can't stand boy bands.

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"Stan" (featuring Dido) [Marshall Mathers LP]


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, one that turns up the pathos several notches while barely raising his voice. Dido's ethereal crooning adds more soot to the tale.