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9 Memorable Eminem Songs

Michelle Tiu |
October 17, 2014 | 3:48 p.m. PDT

Entertainment Producer

Happy birthday, Eminem! (@SOLREPUBLIC / Twitter)
Happy birthday, Eminem! (@SOLREPUBLIC / Twitter)
Happy birthday, Eminem!

Today, the Detroit-born rapper turns 42. Famous for his lyrical talents and controversial rhymes, Eminem (real name: Marshall Mathers) has been entertaining us with awe-inspiring tracks since he first stepped out onto the scene in the 1990s.

So in honor of Slim Shady's special day, here are 9 of his most memorable songs.

"My Name Is"

The first single from his major label debut "The Slim Shady LP" (1999), "My Name Is" was - for many people - their first introduction into the crazy twisted mind of Eminem.

Kicking off with the line "Hi kids! Do you like violence?," this song perfectly showcases Eminem's shock value lyrics and is one of the most memorable examples of the rapper insulting his mother Debbie Mathers. In fact, Debbie filed a $10 million lawsuit for slander against her son over "My Name Is," which implied that she did drugs ("99% of my life I was lied to / I just found out my mom does more dope than I do").

"Without Me"

Reaching number 1 and 2 on the charts in many countries around the world, "Without Me" is one of the Detroit rapper's most successful singles ever. Paying tribute to... well, himself, this song brings to attention the influence Eminem has had on the music industry and society in general.

Slim Shady doesn't spare anyone from his harsh words in this extremely cheeky track. He insults some of his biggest critics, including then-Vice President Dick Cheney and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as well as his mother for filing a lawsuit over "My Name Is."

"When I'm Gone"

In 2003, Eminem crafted "When I'm Gone," one of his most emotionally vulnerable songs ever, though it wasn't released until his 2005 greatest hits record "Curtain Call: The Hits." Switching between his daughter Hailie's perspective and his own, Eminem gives listeners an inside look into his tumultous personal life and recounts the strain that celebrity status has brought into his family life.

"Cleanin' Out My Closet"

From his fourth studio album "The Eminem Show" (2002), "Cleanin' Out My Closet" was Eminem's way of venting about some very personal aspects of his life and, although some shots were fired at ex-wife Kim Mathers and his absentee father, most of the rapper's ire is focused on his mother Debbie.

The most iconic diss track against Debbie Mathers, Eminem really digs into her, spitting the lyrics, "B---h, do your song - keep telling yourself that you was a mom! / But how dare you try to take what you didn't help me to get / You selfish b---h, I hope you f--king burn in Hell for this s--t / Remember when Ronnie [Eminem's uncle] died and you said you wished it was me? / Well, guess what? I am dead - dead to you as can be!"

"Headlights (feat. Nate Ruess)"

While not many hardcore Eminem fans would consider "Headlights" one of the rapper's best songs, the 2013 track does bear mentioning because it represents a change in his rollercoaster relationship with his mother. Having insulted her in some of his most well-known songs, the rapper references "Cleanin' Out My Closet" as "[t]hat song I no longer play at shows and I cringe every time it's on the radio."

Featuring Fun. lead singer Nate Ruess, "Headlights" details Eminem's regret over his estranged relationship with Debbie, claiming that she wrongfully received most of the emcee's anger over his rough upbringing, and praising her efforts to raise him as a single parent.

"Not Afraid"

Although Eminem did drop an album in 2009 ("Relapse"), it wasn't until the release of his seventh studio album "Recovery" (2010) that the rapper truly cemented his return to the music scene after his four year hiatus during which he was in rehab for an addiction to prescription sleeping medication.

The uplifting, postive message found in "Not Afraid," the first single off "Recovery," was a dramatic change for Eminem, who had become more known for his dark and violent lyrical themes thanks to tracks like "Kill You" and "Kim."

"Rap God"

"Rap God," the Detroit emcee's third single off "The Marshall Mathers LP 2" (2013), is a great example of Eminem's lyrical abilities, particularly thanks to a verse in which he raps a whopping 97 words in 15 seconds (an average of 6.5 words per second).

With this song, Eminem set a Guinness World Record for having the most words in a hit single (1,056 words in 6 minutes and 4 seconds).

"Lose Yourself"

Eminem's 2002 hit "Lose Yourself," from the semi-autobiographical film "8 Mile," is still regarded as one of the emcee's best songs, even to this day. Much like the movie, "Lose Yourself" details Eminem's (or B-Rabbit's in "8 Mile") epic transition from struggling underground artist to the superstar rapper we all know and love (or love to hate, depending on who you are). Who can't quote at least one line from this empowering track about seizing the moment and overcoming the odds?

"Lose Yourself" was also the first ever rap song to win an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2003.

"Stan (feat. Dido)"

Along with "Lose Yourself," the haunting "Stan" from Slim Shady's iconic "The Marshall Mathers LP" (2000) is considered one of the rapper's best songs by critics and fans alike.

Sampling Dido's "Thank You," the song tells the story of an obsessed fan named Stan (which inspired the term "stan" for overzealous fans), who - over the course of the song - gets progressively angrier with Eminem for not answering his fan letters and eventually kills himself and his pregnant girlfriend by driving into a lake.

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