Eminem has always had commercial success; the idea of Eminem full-out failing is almost impossible. Even Jay-Z says that he's the best rapper ever—it's not easy to just up and bellyflop. That's not to say that he hasn't had the need to rebound: his 2010 effort, Recovery, was so-named for his troubles with drugs, but could also have applied to his much-maligned Relapse (a sub-par outing for which he himself even apologized in numerous interviews). He had taken five years off to deal with his best friend Proof's death, removing himself from an industry that needs constant attention.

With 2009's Relapse, his great return, he seemed not just off...but way-off: his pop-cultural references were dated, as if they had also taken five years off. This was no more true than when he was making fun of the already-dead Christopher Reeve on "Medicine Ball." And then Recovery dropped, showing that it was a fluke, beginner's bad-luck. "No Love," built around a Just Blaze sample and a strong verse from Lil' Wayne, sounded as if Eminem had been plugged in again. "Love The Way You Lie," his single with Rihanna, became the biggest pop hit of his career.