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19th Jun 2024

Eminem no longer performs one of his biggest songs and apologised for writing it

Charlie Herbert

He ‘cringes’ every time he hears it

Eminem is undoubtedly one of the most iconic figures in music, and one of the greatest rappers of all time.

Hundreds of millions of record sales, critically-acclaimed albums, and dozens of awards – there’s not a lot that the Detroit local hasn’t achieved.

But the rapper has deep regrets over one of his most famous songs, to the extent that he has said he never performs it and has apologised for writing it.

Eminem, real name Marshall Mathers, is known for some pretty dark lyrics and songs, with ‘Stan’ probably the most obvious example that springs to mind.

Whilst this song tells a tragic story of a superfan who kills himself and his girlfriend because Eminem won’t respond to his letters, it isn’t actually based on a real-world figure.

Cleanin’ Out My Closet, on the other hand, is.

The 2002 song takes aim at his mother Debbie Nelson, and includes lyrics in which he calls her a “selfish b***h,” says he hopes she “burns in hell” and promises that she will never see his daughter Hailie again.

Some of the song’s lyrics include: “My whole life I was made to believe I was sick when I wasn’t, ’til I grew up, now I blew up it makes you sick to your stomach, doesn’t it?”

Another lyric says: “And Haile’s getting so big now, you should see her, she’s beautiful. But you’ll never see her, she won’t even be at your funeral.”

At the time, Eminem blamed his mum for many of the problems he faced during childhood.

But 12 years after the song’s release, he issued an apology with the 2014 single Headlights.

In the song, he raps: “My mom probably got it the worst. The brunt of it, but as stubborn as we are, did I take it too far?

“’Cleaning Out My Closet’ and all them other songs. But regardless, I don’t hate you ‘cause ma. You’re still beautiful to me, ’cause you’re my mom.

“But I’m sorry mama for ‘Cleanin’ Out My Closet,’ at the time I was angry.

“Rightfully maybe so, never meant that far to take it though, ‘cause. Now I know it’s not your fault and I’m not making jokes.

“That song I no longer play at shows and I cringe every time it’s on the radio.”

Headlights mentions a number of alleged incidents between Eminem and his mum, including getting kicked out of the house on Christmas Eve, fighting, and his younger brother Nathan being sent to foster care.

But he seems to offer an olive branch to his mum, apologising for his words, forgiving her and saying that, despite everything, he still loves her.

The lyrics continue: “But ma, I forgive you, so does Nathan yo. All you did, all you said, you did your best to raise us both.

“Foster care, that cross you bare, few may be as heavy as yours. But I love you Debbie Mathers, oh what a tangled web we have.”

He finishes: “And I’m mad I didn’t get the chance to thank you for being my mom and my dad.”

Related links:

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