Eminem is arguably one of the best rappers to have ever come onto the rap scene, and he’s proven it time and time again. Here are our favorite iconic Eminem moments.
With the release of his new song “Rap God,” few would argue that Eminem has lost his touch. Ahead of the release of The Marshall Mathers LP 2, which debuts on Tuesday, November 5, we’ve decided to look at the five most iconic moments featuring the legend himself.
The birth of Slim Shady
In 1999, Eminem released his first major studio album, The Slim Shady EP. This album featured the song “My Name Is,” which contained the lyrics, “Hi my name is, what? / My name is, who? / My name is, chka-chka Slim Shady.”
The Slim Shady LP highlighted this alter-ego of Eminem’s that was more violent, sarcastic, and insane than the rapper’s usual personality. Slim Shady quickly became a fan-favorite persona, and “My Name Is,” the first single off of The Slim Shady LP, has topped charts on numerous occasions. It won a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance and became the first rap song to reach the #1 spot on MTV’s Total Request Live.
A million Shadys take over the VMAs
In 2000, Eminem showed up at the MTV Video Music Awards to take over the joint with an army of Slim Shady lookalikes. With each one sporting a white shirt, blue jeans, and a blond ‘do, the only way you’d be able to tell the real Slim Shady apart from the crowd was on the account of his rapping.
Starting outside the awards show, Eminem marched the hoard of Slim Shadys inside the building (where the crowd was already cheering), down the aisle (high-fiving Carson Daly at exactly the right moment, of course), and up to the stage, where he finished the song to an audience that may have been a little confused and terrified, but definitely very impressed.
‘8 Mile’ was actually a really good movie
No one would be blamed for thinking Eminem’s acting career would go the way of Ice Cube. Rappers get notoriously terrible movies (or maybe they’re just notoriously terrible actors), and why would anyone think any different about 8 Mile, a movie loosely based off of Eminem’s own life?
Except that 8 Mile is actually good. And not only was it good, but Marshall Mathers led the movie like a veteran actor, easily switching between the comedy and the drama. It holds up to rewatches and the music is, of course, worth the watch alone. Although Eminem has made cameos in other movies, he hasn’t had a role as large as that of Jimmy Smith Jr, and that’s left his fans ravenous for him to return to the big screen.
That time Eminem got an Academy Award
That’s right, ladies and gents, Eminem won an Oscar. In fact, it was the first time a rap song won the award for Best Original Song. We bet Barbara Streisand never thought she’d be handing out that one.
Eminem won in 2003 for “Lose Yourself,” the hit single that came off of the 8 Mile soundtrack. And while Eminem wasn’t there to accept the award, it was nice to see it be recognized for its lyrical genius and emotional depth.
A duet with Elton John
No one saw this coming when Eminem first took the stage to perform one of his most popular songs, “Stan,” at the 2001 Grammy Awards. The rapper walked out amid a simple set, sitting on a bed to perform the first verse of the song. When the hook came around, a circular panel off to the side spun around and Elton John stood at a piano, playing and singing the part that would normally be performed by Dido.
The crowd cheered at the elder icon’s reveal. Not only was this an incredible and emotional performance, but the ending was Eminem’s way to show all of his critics that what he said in his songs didn’t necessary reflect him as a person. Surrounded by accusations of being homophobic, Eminem hugged Elton when the song finished, and the pair have remained good friends, with Elton actually being a huge supporter to a now sober and drug-free Eminem.