Will “The Real Slim Shady” please stand up! Saturday (May 23) marks the 20th anniversary since the release of Eminem‘s seminal The Marshall Mathers LP back in 2000. All eyes were on Eminem at the turn of the century following the success of his Grammy-winning The Slim Shady LP just a year prior, which saw him break down the doors to rap’s mainstream.
Even with expectations sky-high, Eminem blew all the projections out of the water with The Marshall Mathers LP, as he moved into the spotlight as America’s rebellious superstar. From a sales standpoint, no rap album has ever had a more lucrative first-week, as TMMLP racked up just under 1.8 million albums sold.
Em juggles his Eminem, Marshall Mathers, and Slim Shady aliases throughout the entertaining 18-track LP, which is one of only nine rap albums to ever become diamond-certified by the RIAA. Ubiquitous hit records such as “Stan” and “The Real Slim Shady” remain staples of Eminem’s decorated discography and fan-favorites to this very day.
While taking a stroll down memory lane this weekend, check out our song rankings, sans The Marshall Mathers LP‘s four skits, below.
14. “Under the Influence” (feat. D12)
Following the sinister “Kim” in the album’s sequencing, Eminem swerves to the lighter side of things to let listeners breathe for a little bit. In fact, Slim Shady takes a backseat to let the other members of D12 star front-and-center on the rap-heavy track, which is more like one long freestyle.
13. “Drug Ballad”
Em opens up about his time experimenting with drugs while adjusting to his life as a top-tier celebrity in his mid-20s. He seems to be okay with indulging in his newfound addiction, as he paints a picture of life being “one big party” that some listeners might be able to relate to.
12. “Amityville” (feat. Bizarre)
Amityville is a beachfront Suffolk County township on NY’s Long Island, but Eminem is depicting his own horror movie while paying homage to The Amityville Horror film over dusty Bass Brothers 808s. Slim Shady’s aggressive rhymes have more bark than bite, and a middling assist from former D12 running mate Bizarre makes this one of the more skippable tracks on the album.
A frightening diatribe between Eminem and his on-and-off girlfriend Kim, as Em said he put the threatening record together when they were broken-up in 1998. After he figuratively kills Kim, he realizes he can’t live without her, but the ending is up for interpretation. The disturbing song’s content is so strong that Interscope didn’t allow it to make the cut for the LP’s clean version.
Em decides to end his magnum opus with a simple message for everyone out there — he “still doesn’t give a f–k.” He plays off how people try to make him out to be a villain, even though there’s plenty of other controversial things going on in a world filled with dirty corruption. Twenty years later, he’s still not flinching at society’s demands.
9. “Remember Me?” (feat. RBX & Sticky Fingaz)
Somehow, Eminem has managed to turn himself into the underdog once again, which is a place he thrives. Like guests eating dinner at your house first, RBX and Onyx‘s Sticky Fingaz step up while Em acts as the song’s main event after a dull opener. The rapper puts his gripes with the world on the table, but luckily, the track’s audio cuts out right before he blows a gasket.
8. “B–ch Please 2” (feat. Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg & Xzibit)
Eminem takes Xzibit on a trip with him to invade the West Coast and form the rap Avengers flanked by a trio of legends in Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and the late Nate Dogg. The California MCs do the heavy lifting on the track, while “The Great White American Hope” bats cleanup and brings the braggadocious tune across the finish line.
7. “Who Knew”
Slim Shady throws his arms up and says don’t blame him for your kids lashing out and wreaking havoc, while claiming he didn’t understand the power of his words. Em toes the race line as well, opening the track up by saying he doesn’t make “black” or “white” music, but “fight music for high school kids.” Em’s softer flow behind a muffled bass makes for a welcomed change of pace within the dense album.
6. “I’m Back”
Bombastic, rough-textured production from Mel-Man sets the stage for Eminem to tap into his Slim Shady persona. After delivering another earworm of a hook, Em shocks listeners with a few jabs at some of the biggest names in music around Y2K including shots at Diddy, N’SYNC, and dispels rumors of sleeping with Christina Aguilera. The combination of Em’s elite rhyming skills, vivid storytelling, and an understanding of entertainment value make him a force to be reckoned with.
5. “Marshall Mathers”
The eponymous track gives Eminem the chance to get introspective and define this point in his life. Em examines how much things have changed coming off an explosive 1999 that saw him gain notoriety and add a few zeroes in his bank account. He shows childlike humility, but still has smoke for any detractor that keeps his name in their mouth. (Yes, we’re looking at you, Vanilla Ice.)
4. “Kill You”
Eminem opens the album landing a haymaker to the cheekbones of listeners. The shock jock makes sure they know he won’t be sacrificing any of his artistic integrity or coloring in the lines with his controversial rhymes to fit into the early 2000’s pop scene. With the violent raps over abstract Dr. Dre production eventually finding their way in front of U.S. Congress, it was mission accomplished for Slim Shady.
3. “The Way I Am”
When you expect Eminem to zig, he zags. Em rebelled against his label’s wishes when he proposed that “The Way I Am” serve as the album’s lead single. The self-produced anthem finds Em drowning in his life of newfound fame, as the crippling thought sets in that he’ll never be able to top the aura surrounding “My Name Is.” Shady’s initial instincts are proven right, as fans rallied around the defiant record.
2. “The Real Slim Shady”
Em sets the tone for his third album with “The Real Slim Shady” serving as TMMLP‘s lead single. The Detroit native jokes around in search of the real version of his Slim Shady alter-ego. The catchy use of alliteration in the chorus combined with a robotic Dr. Dre beat, along with snipes at bubbly pop stars Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera make the radio-friendly single one of the calling cards from Eminem’s repertoire.
1. “Stan” (feat. Dido)
To be blunt, “Stan” is one of the most influential rap songs of all-time. Brilliant songwriting from Em, as he jumps from the perspective of a crazed fan to reading creepy letters and writing back as an A-list celebrity with the sound of raindrops falling in the background amplifying the gloomy scene. The term “Stan” became so colloquial among the music and fan communities that it was eventually recognized by Merriam-Webster‘s dictionary in 2019.