Top 20 Greatest Eminem Moments
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 greatest Eminem moments.
For this list, we’ll be looking at the most memorable moments of Eminem’s career.
Which of these stands out in your memory? Let us know in the comments!
#20: Eminem Records “My Name Is” with Dr. Dre
“My Name is” was the first song that Dr. Dre and Eminem recorded together, and it marked the beginning of one of the most important partnerships in the history of rap. Per Dre, Eminem hit on the “Hi, my name is...” refrain within seconds of the doctor programming the drum machine. While distinctly goofier than his later output, the track, and the accompanying video were definite attention getters that announced Mather's arrival on the scene and launched his career in a big way. The Grammy winning single fueled also the success of The Slim Shady LP, which itself earned Eminem his first Grammy for Best Rap Album.
#19: 2006 BET Awards appearance
After Eminem’s childhood friend Proof was murdered in April of 2006, the rapper fell into a deep depression and took a long hiatus. However, in June that same year, while he was still grieving, he forced himself to return to the stage out of love for Busta Rhymes. In a surprise appearance, he performed “Touch It” with Busta at the BET Awards, adding a verse of his own. It was reassuring to know that, while Eminem was mourning a longtime friend, there was still a part of him drawn to the people and music that made him happy.
#18: “The Storm” Freestyle
For the 2017 BET Awards, Eminem performed a five minute freestyle attacking then President Donald Trump. It’s a prime example of music as protest, with Eminem criticizing a litany of Trump’s policies and personality traits. He goes after Trump’s attitudes towards racial injustice and gun reform, as well as his famous fake tan and penchant for generating outrage on social media. Many praised Eminem’s stance, although some also questioned how this fit in with his own checkered history on social issues. It made Eminem headline news and generated over 50 million views on YouTube.
#17: Mom's Spaghetti Restaurant
By this point, everybody knows the “Mom’s Spaghetti” meme. Taken from “Lose Yourself,” the brief lyric became an internet sensation, and Eminem decided to capitalize on it. In September of 2021, he opened Mom’s Spaghetti in downtown Detroit. It’s a small take-out restaurant that serves four items - plain spaghetti, spaghetti with meatballs, spaghetti with vegan meatballs, and a spaghetti sandwich. Were you expecting anything else? Alongside the restaurant itself is a store that sells Eminem merchandise. The food is pretty good by all accounts, and the restaurant opened amid huge fanfare with a massive line-up and even an appearance by Slim Shady himself.
#16: 50 Cent's Walk of Fame Ceremony
Eminem doesn’t make public appearances very often, but when he does, he’s often supporting his longtime pals. Eminem helped launch 50 Cent’s career, so it was only fitting that he was present for his Walk of Fame ceremony. The rapper was given a star in January of 2020, and Eminem was there to show his support and give a heartfelt speech. He talked about 50 Cent’s natural talent, the pride that Em feels, and their enduring, decades-long friendship. The ceremony was sweet, and well deserved.
#15: “Without Me” at the MTV Movie Awards
It’s hard to state just how popular “Without Me” was in the early 2000s. This song was everywhere and went to #1 in fifteen countries. It was easily the breakout hit of The Eminem Show, and the rapper performed it at the 2002 MTV Movie Awards. Em sang the song live with Proof and did so flawlessly. Every bar and every lyric was hit, and the rap god made four minutes of straight rapping look effortless. There was nothing extravagant about the performance itself, but it showed a global megastar at the absolute top of his game. It’s the perfect time capsule.
#14: “The Interview” Cameo
In late 2014, the internet was abuzz about the controversial film, “The Interview”. Adding fuel to the fire was Eminem’s cameo. The rapper has long been criticized for using homophobic slurs in his lyrics. In the film, he plays a fictionalized version of himself who announces that in actual fact, he’s gay. Movie Eminem claims to be shocked that fans never figured it out, after he left so many clues. While the scene was divisive, some fans thought it was a real interview - and began listening to Eminem’s lyrics in a whole new light.
It’s amazing what a simple diss track can do for an artist’s clout. Eminem’s 2017 album “Revival” was savaged by critics, and his follow-up “Kamikaze” was only marginally better received. Enter Machine Gun Kelly and his diss track “Rap Devil.” Eminem released “Killshot” in response and landed a huge public victory. Not only was it considered a vicious attack and a great song, but it performed extremely well. “Killshot” reached #3 on the Hot 100 and had the biggest YouTube debut for a hip hop video, getting just under 40 million views in its first 24 hours. And with this, Eminem was officially back.
#12: Inducting Run-DMC into the Hall of Fame
The mid 2000s were a difficult time for the rapper. He was in the midst of a career hiatus and was suffering from a nearly-fatal drug addiction. Luckily, he got sober in 2008 and returned to the public spotlight to induct Run-DMC into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the following year. It was a beautiful moment for both artists, even though Run-DMC declined to perform. They became just the second hip hop group to be inducted, and Eminem returned from the brink of death to admit his childhood icons. It was obviously a huge honor for him, and he even dressed for the occasion! This iconic moment was later referenced in “Rap God.”
#11: Founding of Shady Records
Following the success of The Slim Shady LP, Eminem founded Shady Records with his manager Paul Rosenberg in 1999. In the label's history, they have been the home to acts like Obie Trice, D12, and, most notably, 50 Cent. Fiddy’s first album on the label, Get Rich or Die Tryin', became the fastest selling debut in US History, and as the company's third release overall, it set the bar pretty high. But as of 2017, 18 of Shady Records' 24 releases have been certified platinum, proving Get Rich was no fluke. In 2004 the company broke new ground, and branched into radio, founding the Shade 45 on Sirius XM.
#10: The “Stan” Music Video
The lyrics to “Stan” take us behind the mind of an obsessed fan. But in the video, we watch in horror as it all plays out. Track collaborator Dido stars as Stan’s pregnant girlfriend who watches him continuously spiral out of control. Although heavily censored, the video shows Stan becoming more agitated and violent with his partner. By the climax of the song, the drama has escalated to a drunk Stan planning to drive off a bridge, with a bound and gagged Dido in the trunk of his car. It's dark and it's graphic, but despite the backlash, “Stan” – video and all – is regarded as one of Eminem’s most critically acclaimed songs.
#9: “The Real Slim Shady” MTV Performance
In response to the pervasiveness of squeaky clean pop groups, Eminem wrote “The Real Slim Shady”. The song criticizes pop stars by name, which sparked a few controversies along the way. In the song's video, Eminem is shown in a factory where other Slim Shadys are being produced. These Shady clones made their way to the streets of New York for the MTV Performance. Starting outside Radio City Music Hall, Eminem marches inside the building followed by 100 clones. By the time he makes it to the stage, the entire audience is on their feet, electrified by this unexpected entrance.
#8: First Artist to Have 10 Consecutive #1 Debuts
Eminem has firmly established his place in music history. With his tenth studio album Music to Be Murdered By, Eminem made music history. Not just rap history, but music history. By debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200, it made Eminem the first artist to have ten consecutive albums debut at #1. The record began with his second studio album The Marshall Mathers LP and includes his greatest hits compilation, Curtain Call. Eminem also has the second most consecutive #1 albums, with his 10 trailing slightly behind Jay-Z’s 11. By the end of Em’s career, he will probably have all the records.
#7: Eminem Hits 1 Billion YouTube Views
In 2011, Eminem became the third artist, and the first rapper to hit 1 billion views on YouTube. Pushing him over was the video for “Love the Way You Lie”, a collaboration with Rihanna. The video depicts the effects of a couple in an abusive relationship. No stranger to controversy, this video received mixed reviews from critics, who either praised or hated the imagery. Possibly due to that controversy, it broke a YouTube record when it reached 6.6 million hits in a single day. As of 2017 the video itself crossed the billion view mark, bringing Em's total count to over 9 billion views.
#6: Getting Clean
Eminem struggled with drug problems throughout much of his early career, but things really heated up around the time of “8 Mile.” It was then that the overworked rapper started taking Ambien, and it quickly escalated into a debilitating addiction. The addiction peaked around the production of Encore, at which time Em was taking up to 60 Valium a day. He also began binge eating and became unrecognizable to his fans. In 2007, Eminem nearly died after suffering a methadone overdose. Luckily, he sought professional help and received support from none other than Elton John, whose own troubles with drugs have been well documented. Luckily, the support system helped and Eminem has been sober since 2008.
#5: The Marshall Mathers Foundation
Don’t be surprised if you didn’t know about Eminem’s foundation. While he's serious about charity, Mathers isn’t big on promoting his charitable deeds. In fact, most of his donations come with the stipulation of remaining private. Much of the charity's work is done around and for the communities in Detroit – Eminem’s home town – and there is an emphasis on activities that help disadvantaged youth. The foundation has also been known to partner with organizations like Wolverine Human Services, which is a charity that helps children, and Elton John’s AIDS Foundation.
#4: Back-to-Back Best Rap Album Grammy Wins... Twice
When Eminem released The Marshall Mathers LP in 2000, it sold 1.78 million copies in its first week. But more than that, it made history when it netted him his second consecutive Grammy for Best Rap Album, making him the first artist to do so. His next release, The Eminem Show also won, but 2010's Relapse and 2011's Recovery saw Mathers pull off another set of back to back wins, making him – to date – the only rapper to accomplish this twice. Throw in 2015's The Marshall Mathers LP 2 and Eminem becomes the most awarded rapper in history, with 6 Grammys in this category.
#3: “Rap God” World Record
2013’s The Marshall Mathers LP 2 was considered a return to form for the famous rapper and received largely positive reviews. The album contains “Rap God,” which is easily one of Eminem’s most famous songs. A technical exercise for the rapper, “Rap God” sees Eminem laying down dense bars and complex rhyming schemes while rapping as fast as he possibly can. In fact, “Rap God” scored the record for “most words in a hit single” with 1,560. That’s about four words a second. Leave it to Eminem to be breaking world records 20 years into his career!
#2: Performing “Stan” with Elton John
By the time Eminem made it to the Grammys in 2001 he was deeply embroiled in controversy. His lyrics had been criticized for their violence, misogyny and homophobic slurs. So the last thing anyone expected was for Elton John to perform with Eminem at the Grammy Awards. Hidden behind a wall, audiences heard Elton's piano before the wall shifted and the icon was revealed, singing Dido’s hook. The performance became what’s considered one of the best duets in Grammy history.
#1: “8 Mile”: #1 Film, Album, and Song
Eminem’s career as a rapper and actor converge in this semi-autobiographical drama. Proving himself a capable actor, Mathers plays B-Rabbit, an aspiring rapper looking to make a name for himself in hip- hop, while fighting for a better life for himself and his younger sister. Eminem’s Shady Records also released the soundtrack to the film, featuring “Lose Yourself”, which would have a massive chart run and went on to win an Oscar for Best Original Song. In addition, “8 Mile” provided him the very rare accolade of having a #1 film, album and song in the same week. Eminem would later perform “Lose Yourself” at the 2020 Oscars and received a standing ovation.