15 Eminem songs you might have never heard of
Eminem is beyond a superstar.
He's a name everyone has heard of. Whether you like his music or not he's transcended rap superstardom and has reached the upper echelon of celebrity. But are you someone who only knows the hits? The album cuts? Or have you got "the underground shit that [he] did with Skam"? Check out our list of 15 Eminem songs you might never have heard of and see how many you actually know.
1) "Rush Ya Clique" w/ Outsidaz
"I'm so weeded I can freestyle for sixteen bars/ Right off the top, then go back to the top."
Eminem's relationship with New Jersey rap crew the Outsidaz goes way back to before he hit the big time. Em and D12's Bizarre used to venture over to Jersey from Detroit in the early days to record with the group (consisting of Pace Won, D.U., Young Zee, Az-Izz, Slang Ton, Axe, and a few others) who gained serious notoriety when they appeared on the multi-platinum selling Fugees album The Score in 1996.
Featured on the Outsidaz EP Night Life, one of the records to come out of the sessions was "Rush Ya Clique". Listening to a 27-year-old Eminem spit a quick 12 bars about being high but it actually helping with his creativity, as well as taking a dig at Lauryn Hill, was just a taster of things to come from the Detroit MC.
2) "Don't Approach Me" w/ Xzibit
"And I'm the bad guy, ‘cause I don't answer my door, like, 'Hey! Hi! You guys want some autographs? Okay, form a straight line!'"
With Dr. Dre serving as the album's Executive Producer, Restless is Xzibit's most successful long play to date, selling over a million copies. Recruiting Eminem on the song "Don't Approach Me", it played like a PSA for fans of both rappers, letting them know that they better be prepared to be barked at or even have Eminem "shove a gun in their ribs" if they inappropriately approached him.
While not released as a single, "Don't Approach Me" was definitely a fan favourite as this was around the time Eminem-mania had well and truly hit. Released the same year as Em's magnum opus, The Marshall Mathers LP, and accompanied by a low budget video that was filmed whilst the two were out on the Up in Smoke Tour with Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg, let this be a warning to you not to get on the wrong side of both X and Em.
3) "Off the Wall" w/ Redman
"I stick Britney Spears in a room full of mirrors/ So she gets fifty years of bad luck/ Causing terror to Christina Aguilera/ When I grab her by the hair and drag her across the Sahara."
If you were to ask Eminem who his favourite MCs are he will always namecheck Redman - listen to "'Til I Collapse" from The Eminem Show - so you knew that the moment an opportunity presented itself for Em to get on a track with Reggie he'd kill it.
Taken from the Nutty Professor II: The Klumps soundtrack, "Off the Wall" is a lesson in superior lyricism and intricate wordplay. Listening to two of the best to ever bless the mic go back and forth over a trademark Erick Sermon beat is a thing of beauty. It'll make you laugh, laugh some more, and laugh again at the sheer audacity of some of the no-holes-barred lyrics that would have definitely pissed off a few pop star princesses at the time.
4) "The Anthem" w/ Sway & King Tech, Pharoahe Monch, Xzibit, RZA, Tech N9ne, Kool G Rap, Chino XL, KRS-One, Jayo Felony & DJ Revolution
"This place is my house/ I might as well erase my face with Wite-Out ‘cause y'all can't see me like Ma$e's eyebrows."
Before Sway Calloway was ever a household name through his role as an iconic MTV jock he was the host on the Wake Up Show radio show alongside his partner King Tech. Giving new and established artists a platform to showcase their skills, a then unknown Eminem appeared on the show back in 1997. Going on to appear on the show a few more times with an open invitation, Sway says of the slots: "I think those sessions were like his training, and he eventually found his voice and who he would become as an artist."
Fast forward to 1999 when Sway and King Tech put out their second album, This or That. Making sure he paid back the guys who gave him a platform when no one else was paying attention, Eminem, at a time when his star was taking off in a big way, joined a stellar cast to deliver a witty set of bars, and he even found time to appear in the music video.
"Hey, mister, would you care to bear witness to the ass-whippin' I'm about to administer/ To this ass-kissin' little vaginal blister?/ Stanibus, little Marshall Mathers' sister."
Eminem is no stranger to beefing on wax. So when another talented MC by the name Canibus stepped to Em he welcomed the challenge. Taking his time in the 5 minute all out lyrical assault on Wyclef Jean's former protege, Em attacked everything from Canibus' excessive use of metaphors, his attraction to using big words, and his strange obsession with the internet.
Beginning "Can-I-Bitch" in the same way Slick Rick did his classic "Children's Story", Em tells a fictional tale where he and Dr. Dre fly over the Canadian border to find Canibus to put a beat down on him for sending Em some weird fan mail. Also taking jabs at Jermaine Dupri - who Dr. Dre was beefing with at the time - and the Pet Shop Boys, this is classic Em, coupling comedy with clever wordplay.
6) "Stir Crazy" w/ The Madd Rapper
"I'm sicker than Boy George picturing Michael Jackson in little boys' drawers shopping at toy stores/ Shady said it, Shady meant it."
Produced by a then unknown Kanye West, "Stir Crazy" is as crazy as the title suggests. With Eminem in full Slim Shady mode, and paired with Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie's famed rapping alter ego The Madd Rapper, the song leaps head first into controversy.
Hysterical on all fronts, Em takes potshots at Michael Jackson and Boy George while D-Dot's angry cartoon character, who found fame on albums by Ma$e, Notorious B.I.G. and Puff Daddy, talks about shooting his girlfriend and sister for catching them in bed together. Crazy, right?
Found on The Madd Rapper's only solo album, Tell 'Em Why U Madd, "Stir Crazy" joined 50 Cent's breakthrough street single "How to Rob" on the same tracklist.
7) "Get Back" w/ D12
"All I want to do is die/ I tried suicide six times and couldn't even do it right/ Collapsed, had a relapse and called three cabs/ And had to be dragged back to rehab with bloody kneecaps."
Teaming up with two of his D12 cohorts (Proof and Bizarre), on "Get Back" Eminem makes it clear from the get go that he's got a vendetta against his dentist because "he only gave me the fucking gas for thirty minutes this morning."
Found on Tony Touch's The Piece Maker album, "Get Back" is a hidden gem that always gets a laugh no matter who you are. If it's not Eminem's verse then the line where Bizarre says: "I'm iller than a Muslim eating a pork hot dog at an African festival," will certainly have the corners of your mouth turned up.
8) "The Sauce"
"Just know that Benzino's wack; no matter how many times I say his name/ He'll never blow, jack/ You're better off tryin' to bring RSO back."
Eminem and rapper/reality TV star Benzino were embroiled in a serious war of words back in 2003 when the latter was co-owner of "Hip Hop Bible", The Source. Benzino didn't like what Eminem was doing musically and forced his opinion on the magazine's editor, Dave Mays, who in turn then proceeded to not offer much coverage to Em or any acts associated with him (D12, 50 Cent, Obie Trice).
After Benzino released the diss "Pull Your Skirt Up" Em went on a lyrical tirade releasing several tracks, including "Nail in the Coffin" and "The Sauce". On "The Sauce" Em launches into an all out attack on Benzino and The Source magazine without even pausing for a hook.
Addressing everything from Benzino's flagging music career, how The Source had long been shortchanging artists on album review ratings, and how Benzino was putting the pressure on Dave Mays to share his one-sided opinion, it's undoubtedly one of Em's most scathing diss records to date.
So who proved to be the winner of the battle? Well, Benzino struggled to compete with Em lyrically, the magazine's credibility took a hit reporting a huge decline in sales, and Eminem continued to reign supreme at the top of the charts. So who do you think? Exactly.
9) "If I Get Locked Up" w/ Dr. Dre
"I used to be a lonely man, only mad/ 'Til I got a million dollars, shit, now if I only had/ Some fuckin' hair I'd pull it faster than a bullet/ Out of 2Pac's chest before the ambulance came too late to do it."
Arguably one of Eminem's finest lyrical outings, "If I Get Locked Up" hears the Detroit legend empty a clip of rapid-fire bars that are insanely witty above anything else. With Dr. Dre playing a support role on this one, when it was first released it felt like the good doctor was letting Em off the leash and telling him to "go get 'em."
Housed on Funkmaster Flex and Big Kap's The Tunnel compilation, it came at a time when Em was riding high off of his debut album, The Slim Shady LP. Punishing pieces of production on mixtapes everywhere by exercising his lyrical chops, with lines like: "The whole entire world can sit and twirl like a whirling tire/ I set a fuckin' girl on fire with a curling iron/ Psych! I'm just jokin'," shock value was the name of the game and this track had it all. From rape and murder jokes to gay slurs, like his debut single stated, Em really didn't give a fuck.
10) "Scary Movies" w/ Royce Da 5'9"
"I'm headed for hell, I'd rather be dead or in jail/ Bill Clinton, hit this — and you better inhale!/ ‘Cause any MC that chooses to go against me/ Is gettin' taken advantage of like Monica Lewinsky."
Eminem's one true partner-in-rhyme has always been Royce Da 5'9". One of the only MCs who has ever truly been able to keep up with him on wax, Royce and Em formed the duo Bad Meets Evil back before either of them blew up. Before the pair released their 2011 major label joint project, Hell: The Sequel, they had only recorded a few of tracks together as Bad Meets Evil. One was the "Bad Meets Evil" track featured on The Slim Shady LP and the others were "Nuttin' to Do" and "Scary Movies".
Released as a B-side to "Nuttin to Do", hearing early Em and Royce collaborate is eargasmic. Their natural chemistry stuck out like a sore thumb and continues to still stick out, even now, nearly 20 years later. An Eminem-less version of "Scary Movies" appeared on the soundtrack to Scary Movie, the parody horror flick by the Wayans brothers.
11) "2.0 Boys" w/ Slaughterhouse & Yelawolf
"We came to monopolize the game, illuminati is here/ Yeah, human oddities, at odds with us, your squad's gotta be."
The most recent track on this list, "2.0 Boys" provided Eminem with a platform to showcase the new talent signed to his Shady Records imprint in 2013. Featuring Alabama rapper Yelawolf and rap supergroup Slaughterhouse - made up of Em's longtime friend Royce Da 5'9", Joe Budden, Crooked I and Joell Ortiz - it's an old fashioned bar off with each rapper trying to outdo the last. Less Slim Shady and more Eminem, Em's verse does allow his alter ego to rear its head a little bit, just not all the way.
12) "Any Man"
"A brainiac, with a cranium packed/ Full of more uranium than a maniac Saudi Arabian."
On "Stan" when Eminem (as Stan) spits: "I even bought that shit you did with Rawkus too, that shit was phat," he's referring to this record - although some believe he says "Ruckus" and is referring to a song called "We Shine" he did Da Ruckus in 1998. Rawkus was an underground Hip Hop label that was looked at as a lyrical utopia for rap fans. Spawning the careers of Mos Def, Pharoahe Monch and Talib Kweli, to name but a few, Eminem appeared on their Soundbombing II compilation.
Rhyming words that you'd never think rhymed together (Siamese and lesbians?), Eminem showed up and showed out on this one. According to Da Beatminerz, who produced the track, they had no idea who Eminem was and weren't sure what to expect when he showed up to work with them: "So, he gets in the vocal booth and the first thing he says [in a high-pitched nasally tone] is ‘Hi!’ I look at my engineer like, ‘Oh my God, what did I just get myself into?’ [Laughs] And then the rest is history.”
13) "That's All She Wrote" w/ T.I.
"Yeah, I guess life is a bitch, ain't it, Tip?/ And each one thinks they the shit/ Shirt off my back? I wouldn’t give you the dirt off my handkerchief."
Appearing on one of T.I.'s most slept-on albums, to say "That's All She Wrote" was unexpected is an understatement. Hearing Tip and Em on the same track wasn't something rap fans had ever really thought about up until this point. So when it actually happened and it sounded dope it was a shock to the system - in a good way.
A stand out moment on No Mercy, Em spits two verses over the 5 minute Dr. Luke produced instrumental. Delivering a less lyrical version of himself, he strips back his complex wordplay and gets into song mode with an aggressive vocal tone taking priority. It's not often you hear Eminem collaborate with a southern rapper but if "That's All She Wrote" is anything to go by then perhaps he should do it more often.
14) "Hail Mary" w/ 50 Cent & Busta Rhymes
"You ain't no killer, you a pussy/ That Ecstasy done got you all emotional and mushy/ Bitches wearing rags in photos, Ja's words being quoted/ In The Source, stealing Pac's shit like he just wrote it."
Eminem knew that signing 50 Cent was going to cause a lot of problems but he didn't care - controversy might as well have been his middle name. So when 50's famous beef with Ja Rule and Murder Inc. spilled out over the airwaves the rest of the Shady/Aftermath roster got involved and Em threw his hat in the ring, backing 50, naturally.
Taking on the classic 2Pac cut "Hail Mary", Em, 50 and Busta Rhymes fire unlimited lyrical jabs at "Jeffrey" and his Irv Gotti-helmed record label. And while Em's verse might not be his best, it was certainly a taster of things to come (listen to "Bump Heads", "Go To Sleep" and "Hailie's Revenge"). So who had the better verse? It's got to be Busta Rhymes.
15) "Biterphobia" w/ Soul Intent
"And I'ma torture, with material iller/ Than a stark raving mad serial killer/ I'm more dangerous than a loaded chamber is/ A major risk to a plagiarist, so beware of the aura."
Instrumental in Eminem's growth as an MC, Soul Intent were an underground Detroit rap group in the early 90s. Releasing the single "Fuckin' Backstabber", the B-side was a track called "Biterphobia". Admitting that it's not one of his favourite records, for the time it was released (1993) it's actually not bad. Everyone's got to start somewhere, right?
Sounding a little like something Linkin Park might have put out in the early 2000s, Eminem's double time flow over the rigorous drum pattern and cinematic scratches provided by Manix sounds lethal.
BONUS: "Shady 2.0 Cypher" w/ Slaughterhouse & Yelawolf
"You're 'bout to see peace destroyed, it'll never be restored/ When I unleash these beastly hordes on your CD stores/ Wanna stop it? You gon' need a priest, at least three swords/ A license to ill from the Beastie Boys/ Three Ouija boards, a squeegee, and please be warned/ Don't ask what the squeegee's for."