10 Best Old Eminem Songs All Real Fans Should Know

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You might think of yourself as a Slim Shady fan – but do you know Eminem’s oldest songs?

Eminem is one of the most influential yet controversial rappers of modern times. Whilst he has an impressive back catalogue spanning over two decades, it is Eminem’s early work in particular that stands out and will go down as some of the best rap music ever created.

The legendary rapper has a host of older tracks from the period between 1999 and 2004 that should be on every true fan’s radar. The Slim Shady LP, The Marshall Mathers LP, The Eminem Show and Encore include some of the artist’s oldest and best work.

These first records highlight Eminem’s prowess, helping to establish himself as a rap superpower and earning numerous accolades in the process.

Here are ten of the best old Eminem songs that all real fans should know.

10. ‘Mockingbird’ (2005)

From his fifth studio album Encore, ‘Mockingbird’ is a heartfelt tribute to daughters Hailie, Alaina and Whitney. Eminem’s lyrics attempt to address the challenges faced as a father figure and the guilt caused by absence.

The track reached number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100. Its lyrics appear deeply personal with Eminem reflecting on his own childhood alongside mistakes and regrets.

The song features a simple piano melody and delicate production that allows the rapper’s emotional delivery to shine. His performance is raw which adds both sincerity and authenticity to the recording.

9. ‘Cleanin’ Out My Closet’ (2002)

The second single from album The Eminem Show ‘Cleanin’ Out My Closet’ seems a deeply personal account of the artist’s troubled childhood and reflects upon the strained infamous relationship with his mother.

Peaking at number four on the Billboard Hot 100, this old Eminem song focuses on the emotional and physical torment he endured from mother Debbie Mathers, along with feelings of neglect, betrayal and resentment.

He also speaks honestly about his own weakness as both a parent and husband whilst struggling with fame. The track leans heavily on haunting piano and a simple yet powerful beat that adds a certain intensity to proceedings.

8. ‘Guilty Conscience’ (1999)

‘Guilty Conscience’ arrived in 1999 as a single from his debut album The Slim Shady LP featuring the vocal stylings of Dr. Dre. He is the character known as “The Doctor” who portrays the conscience of Eminem’s character “The Devil.”

The song’s narrative focuses on two men, one of which is considering committing a murder and the other urging him to do it.

Whilst it failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 the track did climb as high as number five in the UK charts. The lyrics of the song are intelligently constructed so that Eminem and Dr. Dre trade verses whilst explaining different points of view.

Listen closely and fans will hear a catchy sample from the song ‘I Will Follow Him’ by Little Peggy March which only adds to its dark yet playful tone.

7. ‘Just Lose It’ (2004)

Released as the lead single from his fifth studio album Encore, ‘Just Lose It’ was produced by Dr. Dre and Mike Elizondo, featuring a sample from the classic hit ‘The Safety Dance’ by Men Without Hats.

The track received mixed critical reviews and yet was commercially successful. It reached number six on the Billboard Hot 100, claiming top spot in multiple charts worldwide and earning a platinum certification in the United States. 

The song’s universal beat and disparaging lyrics have made it a staple of Eminem’s live performances.

It features clever wordplay and a tongue-in-cheek music video that parodies a variety of pop culture icons including Madonna, Michael Jackson and Pee-wee Herman.

6. ‘My Name Is’ (1999)

‘My Name Is’ was Eminem’s first song to become a major hit. The track was a ground-breaking release for the rapper, and was the lead single from his major-label debut album The Slim Shady LP.

The track was produced by Dr. Dre and utilises a subtle bass sample from the Labi Siffre song ‘I Got The…’. This track acts as an introduction to Eminem’s timely crafted alter-ego Slim Shady and reached number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The tune offers a host of controversial topics from domestic violence to drug use mixed with wit and dark humour in a shocking lyrical style that often distinguishes him from other pop rappers of the time.

‘My Name Is’ was both a critical and commercial success, climbing into the top 40 in numerous countries and even earning Eminem his first Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance.

‘My Name Is’ was ultimately the first song that established Eminem as a major player in the early 2000s rap scene.

5. ‘Stan’ (2000)

Released in 2000 as the third single from his third studio album The Marshall Mathers LP, ‘Stan’ is a haunting, eerie and powerful song.

The track was produced by The 45 King and famously features a sample by British singer-songwriter Dido from her song ‘Thank You.’

‘Stan’ only reached number 58 on the Billboard Hot 100 however it hit top spot in multiple charts across Europe. For that reason, ‘Stan’ was the first Eminem song to be heard by many in the UK and on the European continent.

The song’s narrative tells the tale of a fan called Stan who grows increasingly obsessed with Eminem with lyrics exploring mental illness, celebrity and fandom.

4. ‘The Way I Am (2000)

‘The Way I Am’ is the second single from Eminem’s third studio album The Marshall Mathers LP and was produced by Eminem himself.

The song is clearly his response to the intense public criticism and media scrutiny he faced. It was a commercial success and reached number 58 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Eminem was praised for his lyrical prowess and brutal honesty. It reflects on the stresses of fame that damaged his mental health and also personal life. The song has become a fan favourite with its aggressive lyrics and hard-hitting style.

3. ‘The Real Slim Shady’ (2000)

The Marshall Mathers LP lead single ‘The Real Slim Shady’ was produced by Dr. Dre and famously pokes fun at various pop culture icons or celebrities.

The fans responded as the track climbed up to number four on the Billboard Hot 100, topping the charts in several countries and even earning Eminem his first Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance.

‘The Real Slim Shady’ is a blatant response to the criticism that Eminem faced following his earlier works where he was regularly accused of glorifying homophobia, violence and misogyny.

Yet the track was a cultural phenomenon and still remains one of the most iconic hip hop tracks of all time.

2. ‘Without Me’ (2002)

‘Without Me’ is the lead single from Eminem’s fourth studio album The Eminem Show. It is a tongue-in-cheek jab about Eminem’s place in the music industry as well as a shot at various celebrity figures.

The track was produced by Eminem himself along with long time collaborator Jeff Bass and includes a sample from the song ‘Buffalo Gals’ by Malcolm McLaren.

The song was a massive commercial success, reaching the top of the charts in several countries with Eminem receiving critical recognition for his sharp wordplay and catchy melodic hooks. It climbed to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and hit top spot in multiple countries.

1. ‘Lose Yourself’ (2002)

‘Lose Yourself’ is a stand-alone Eminem track and features on the movie soundtrack of 8 Mile in which he was the lead actor. It reached the top of the charts in several countries and gave Eminem his Academy Award for Best Original Song.

The track features a haunting piano loop and a driving beat. It lays out the story of a young rapper named Jimmy Smith who struggles to overcome the challenges of his life whilst pursuing his dreams.

The song has become an iconic anthem both within Eminem’s discography, the wider music world and is the perfect example of the transformative power of music.

One of the most popular and iconic old Eminem songs.

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