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18th Sep 2018

Got beef? Ranking 11 of Eminem’s best diss records pre-Kamikaze

Will Lavin

Eminem is the ultimate lyrical assassin

If you’ve ever been on the end of any of Slim Shady’s scathing diss records then you’ll know he’s not someone to fuck with.

But why not?

Because either you learned pretty quickly after your first shot at the king that you didn’t want the smoke and so decided to fall all the way back to the bottom of rap’s totem pole, or you’re reading this on your lunch break at your local Starbucks after your rap career ended abruptly.

Embroiled in some of Hip Hop’s most iconic battles, Eminem has been flexing his lyrical muscles for years and he’s even ended a couple of careers along the way.

Never one to shy away from naming names, Eminem has gone back and forth with Benzino, Ja Rule, Insane Clown Posse, Canibus, Everlast, Cage, Limp Bizkit, Mariah Carey, Ma$e and Jermaine Dupri, to name but a few. Not stopping there though, it’s not just rappers he’s attacked, he’s also fired shots at his ex-wife Kim, his mother Debbie, his high school bully D’Angelo Bailey, his critics and even some of his fans.

His recently released 10th studio album Kamikaze was the result of various artists and critics waking up a sleeping (rap) giant. Addressing everyone who had something negative to say about his 2017 album Revival, it features some of his most devastating and direct lyrical attacks to date, taking aim at some of today’s most recognised names.

But before Kamikaze Eminem’s resume was already stacked with some pretty hard-hitting diss records.

Here’s 11 of them, ranked.

11. “Girls”

Taking aim at: Limp Bizkit, Everlast & Dilated Peoples

Appearing at the end of the first disc of D12’s debut album, Devil’s Night, “Girls” hears Em take aim at Limp Bizkit. Eminem started off being cool with the nu metal band – he collaborated with them on “Turn Me Loose” and “Our House” and even appeared in the “Break Stuff” video – but after inserting themselves into the ongoing beef between Em and Everlast he decided enough was enough and let them have it.

10. “The Warning”

Taking aim at: Mariah Carey & Nick Cannon

A direct response to Mariah Carey’s “Obsessed”, Eminem fired a warning shot at the pop starlet telling her that she needed to keep her mouth shut unless she wanted to be embarrassed. Saying he had voicemails and other evidence that prove it was in fact Mariah who was “obsessed”, he also claimed Mariah flew out to his house to have sex and that she had a drinking problem. Her then husband Nick Cannon also caught some heat after he took to Twitter to say he would ruin Em’s career.

9. “Hail Mary” (Feat. 50 Cent & Busta Rhymes)

Taking aim at: Ja Rule

Teaming up with 50 Cent and Busta Rhymes, “Hail Mary” hears Eminem throw more lyrical jabs at Ja Rule over the classic 2Pac instrumental of the same name. Not getting too involved on this one in comparison to some of his other Ja Rule diss records, it’s Busta Rhymes that steals the show. But Em does open with some memorable lines: “You ain’t no killer, you a pussy/ That Ecstasy done got you all emotional and mushy.”

8. “Can I Bitch”

Taking aim at: Canibus, Jermaine Dupri & Pet Shop Boys

Probably one of the funnier diss records Eminem has ever put out, “Can I Bitch” is a hysterical fictional tale with some truths sprinkled throughout that kicked rapper Canibus while he was down – this coming after LL Cool ended his career via their monumental rap beef. Jermaine Dupri and Pet Shop Boys pick up a few stray bullets too.

7. “Cleanin’ Out My Closet”

Taking aim at: Debbie Mathers

Arguably one of Eminem’s greatest songs, let alone diss records, “Cleanin’ Out My Closet” is a heartfelt walkthrough Eminem’s upbringing. Not your typical diss record, it’s one that goes for the heartstrings instead of the jugular and the main target is actually Em’s mother, Debbie Mathers. Talking about her drug habits, her lying, and exposing her for telling him she wished he’d died instead of his uncle, Ronnie, it’s a hard listen at times but helps you to understand why Eminem is the way he is.

6. “Bully”

Taking aim at: Benzino & Ja Rule

One in a series of diss songs aimed at Benzino and Ja Rule, “Bully” hears Eminem move through the track delivering his words in singing form. Highlighting Benzino’s jealousy of Slim’s fame, Em spits: “And in his jealousy and envy/ It just whirls him in a frenzy/ As he turns on MTV and sees my face/ He don’t exist in this world/ So he just twists and he twirls/ Spirals and spins till he hurls himself into rage.”

5. “Go To Sleep” (Feat. DMX & Obie Trice)

Taking aim at: Benzino & Ja Rule

Featured on the Cradle 2 The Grave soundtrack, “Go To Sleep” hears DMX subliminally go at Ja Rule while Eminem and Obie Trice throw lyrical darts at both Ja and Benzino as part of their ongoing war of words with the pair, as well as Murder Inc. Records and The Source magazine.

4. “Quitter”

Taking aim at: Everlast

In response to Everlast’s “Whitey’s Revenge”, this is the last Eminem diss aimed at the House of Pain rapper. The second half of the song hears Em rap over 2Pac’s legendary diss record “Hit ‘Em Up”. Telling Everlast that if he talks about his daughter Hailie on a record again he’ll kill him, it’s a pretty vicious record.

3. “Nail In The Coffin”

Taking aim at: Benzino

Responding to several disses by Benzino, including “Pull Your Skirt Up”, “Nail in the Coffin” is one of four diss tracks released on Shady Times: Invasion, Pt. 1, hosted by DJ Green Lantern. On it Em shines a light on Benzino being a “punk pussy” and gives examples as to why he thinks this, including the time his Made Men crew tried to jump the Ruff Ryders on a tour stop in Boston but it backfired and some of the attackers got stabbed. After the incident Benzino then put Ruff Ryder artist Jadakiss on a song with him – “That’s how much you suck.”

2. “Kim”

Taking aim at: “Kim Mathers”

If you’ve never heard this song then where on earth have you been? Probably the most direct lyrical assault on record – in both name and lyrical content – Eminem torments his ex-wife Kim mentally and then physically in a twisted tale of lovers rage that ends with Kim having her throat slit. While it was released after 1999’s “’97 Bonnie & Clyde” it’s actually a prequel to the song.

1. “The Sauce”

Taking aim at: Benzino

Without doubt Eminem’s finest moment as far as pre-Kamikaze diss records go, “The Sauce” is a three and a half minute hookless all-out assault that assassinates the character of Benzino (and his Made Men group). The feud started after Em was displeased with his album The Eminem Show only receiving four mics in the magazine The Source’s record report – “Now you fucked me out of my mics twice, I let it slide/ I said I wouldn’t hold my fuckin’ breath to get a five/ Shit, I was right, I’da fuckin’ died already tryin’. After this track was released Benzino’s career as a rapper was done. He went on to be a regular on the Hip Hop graveyard that is reality TV show Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta.

Honourable Mention: “Ken Kaniff (Skit)”

Taking aim at: Insane Clown Posse

Do we really need to explain this one?