Since the car of commercial success hit Rabbit in 1997, Eminem has been an unstoppable force. Celebrated worldwide for his ingenious wordplay, bold attitude and unmatched personality. The American has rapper single-handedly bolstered the acceptance of hip-hop in mainstream society.
And yes, his most recent effort may have received staunch criticism but that does not disregard that fact the man is probably in your top five rappers of all time. Listed below are some of his most iconic, smartest and downright outrageous lyrics sure to remind you of why he’s achieved what he has.
It’s Okay – I’m usin’ smarter tactics to overcome this slum/ I won’t become as dumb as some and succumb to scum
It’s Okay is a lesser known song from Eminem’s debut album: Infinite. And even though, the rhyme does not match Shady’s status quo; it’s pivotal. Eminem wrongly foreshadows that he won’t succumb to industry pressures such as greed (causing controversy for continued fame), sorrow (depression due to pressure and Proof’s death) , and gluttony (over-indulgent drug use), and out-maneuver them. The lines point towards a happier Eminem, one we’re only beginning to see surface now.
I’m tryin’ to clean up my fuckin’ image/ So I promised the fuckin’ critics/ I wouldn’t say “fuckin’” for six minutes
Eminem is not known to be subtle when it comes to his rhymes, this fact, has often led to him being criticised for being over-the-top, corny and cringey. But let’s take it back to the time when he was. Subtle as these 4 lines are, they’re a great indicator of how meticulous and serious Shady is about his craft. How so? He fulfills his promise, and does not use the expletive for the entire six minutes, only using it two tracks later in “Marshall Mathers.”
His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy..
If you sung the lyrics word-for-word then you’re probably aware of why these lines made the cut. Aside from being a technical rapper with unrivaled flow, Eminem’s greatest quality is his ability to paint a thousand pictures with each word. Packed with clear imagery, these two lines set the tone for the entire song: he’s about to do something huge. And boy does he deliver.
The criminal cop killing hip-hop filling a/ Minimal swap to cop millions of Pac listeners
The entire 1st verse of this song is prolific, but these lines in particular are mind-blowing. Eminem rhymes 18 syllables in ONE LINE. What makes this even more impressive is that the first 4 syllables of the 7 syllable scheme rhyme with the other 4 syllable lines.
When I’m not even in my harshest/ You can still get roasted ’cause marsh is not mellow
For the unaware, Marshall is Eminem’s real name, and he’s known to be vicious (antonym: mellow). He’ll also ‘roast’ you — just like you would a marshmellow — should you anger him. The message is loud and clear folks, don’t piss him off.
These other cats ain’t metaphorically where I’m at, man/ I gave Bruce Wayne a Valium/ And said: “Settle your fuckin’ ass down!
This one has a lot of levels. Eminem tells us he’ll be unleashing a metaphor, but then turns it into a pun. On surface level, valium is a drug which calms the user, giving it to Bruce Wayne, calms him enough for Em to be okay with fighting him. The pun also equates combat,man to calm Batman.
That is the only way you’ll ever be able to say/ You’re a legend is makin’ an allegation
Wordplay has always been his strong suit. Let Paul Rosenberg explain, “There’s a very subtle but very clever play on words/pun at the end of this set of lines. When someone is “makin’ an allegation”, they are “alleging” something. Hence, the “only way you’ll ever be able to say you’re a legend” is by “makin’ an allegation”, or “allegin’ (a legend)” something.
I send at you a ten-ton nuke like Kim Jong-Un/ And end up ruinin’ your career
C’mon, career = Korea. C’mon.