Over the last 15 years, Eminem has recorded dozens and dozens of memorable guest verses for other artists. From his jaw-dropping bars on Missy Elliott's 2001 track, "Busa Rhyme," to his show-stealing stanzas on Jay Z's 2001 classic, "Renegade," Slim Shady has saved some of his best work for other artists' songs. But he's also provided plenty of heat for his fellow Shady Records rappers as well. Since founding the Shady label back in 1999, he's blessed acts like D12, 50 Cent, and Obie Trice with features and helped Shady sell millions of albums in the process.
Which of those guest verses reign supreme, though? Shady Records is celebrating 15 years in the game in 2014. So to help mark the momentous occasion, we collected The 10 Best Eminem Guest Verses on Shady Records Releases. He may have been a guest but Em sounded right at home on these Shady projects.
When you're done reading, test your knowledge of Shady Records' catalog with the Shady XV Rap Test.
Chris Yuscavage is a writer living in New Jersey. Find him on Twitter @CYuscavage.
10. D12 “Shit Can Happen” (2001)
Album: Devil's Night
Best Line: "Middle fingers flipped at censorship/Your friends just flipped over the swift penmanship"
If you thought "Purple Pills," the first single from D12's debut album, was going to be a good indication of what else was going to appear on the project, you immediately thought otherwise once you heard "Shit Can Happen," the intro song on the album. Whereas "Purple Pills" was a happy-go-lucky song about doing drugs and having a good time, "Shit Can Happen" was a dark, harrowing track that featured D12 issuing a stern warning to their detractors. And Eminem really drove the message home with the last verse on the song. D12 was clearly ready to offend some people and raise some eyebrows on its first project—and Em was going to lead the charge.
9. Eminem, Obie Trice, & 50 Cent “Love Me” (2002)
Album: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture 8 Mile
Best Line: "I'm strapped, just knowin' any minute I could snap/I'm the equivalent of what would happen if Bush rapped"
There are a lot things to love about Eminem as a rapper. On this song, he shined a spotlight on just about all of them. He started off by mentioning things like his voice ("There's a certain mystique when I speak") and the impact his flow has on people ("You can't sit still, it's like trying to smoke crack and go to sleep") before referencing his knack for going at other MCs ("I bully these rappers so bad lyrically") and eventually pointing out how crazy he is ("My noodle is cock-a-doodle, my clock's coo-coo/I got screws loose, yeah, the whole kit and caboodle"). Basically, if you were putting together a checklist of what makes Em such a great artist and why so many people love him, it would feature everything he mentioned in this verse.
8. D12 “Fight Music” (2001)
Album: Devil's Night
Best Line: "I came to save these new generations of babies/From parents who failed to raise them 'cause they're lazy/To grow to praise me, I'm makin' them go crazy/That's how I got this whole nation to embrace me"
By 2002, Eminem had more critics than he could count. He was catching heat from a lot of people who said that his lyrics were too crude, and they believed that he was specifically having a negative impact on young people. His verse on this song was essentially a response to all of those people and featured him sticking two middle fingers up at anyone who didn't understand what he was trying to do. He accepted the responsibility of being the voice of a generation and created an anthem for those who looked up to him as a lyricist.
7. D12 “40 Oz” (2004)
Album: D12 World
Best Line: "Chuggin' on our 40s and holdin' up .44s/We come with toasters like we just opened savings and loans"
Back in 2004, D12 wanted everyone to know that, even though they weren't from the South, they could get "crunk," too. So they created this song that, as you'd probably expect, featured the group's members rapping about sipping malt liquor and letting loose. And as usual, Eminem "outcrazied" everyone else's crazy rhymes by spitting about stabbing people, overpowering security guards, and turning the club upside down.
6. D12 “Git Up” (2004)
Album: D12 World
Best Line: "Risk it, no biscuit, milli mac or mac milli/Will he? Won’t he? Don’t be silly, homie, you don’t know me really”
"Hmmm…How many different ways can I rap about guns in one verse?" We imagine that that's the question Eminem asked himself before he wrote his raps for "Git Up," the first song on D12's sophomore album. Because on that particular track, he went in on the topic of carrying guns and popping them off at the club. From rapping silly lines like, "So ban us, go ban us, banana, fanna, fo fannas," to making outright threats—"Mag or no mag, it don't matter if I have or don't have it/You never know what I'm packing so you just don't want no static"—Em emptied the chamber on his verse and fired off a steady stream of gun references. It was quite a way for him to kick off an album.
5. D12 “How Come” (2004)
Album: D12 World
Best Line: "We grew up, grew apart as time went by us/And I blew up, to both your’s and mine’s surprises"
A lot of the songs that D12 recorded for their Shady Records projects featured the group's members rapping about ridiculous, off-the-wall stuff. Raps about fighting, drinking, and popping all sorts of pills filled the majority of their albums. But every now and then, it slid a reflective song like "How Come" into the mix, just to show that the members had a serious side, too. On this track, Em put away the punchlines and led the song off by rapping about losing touch with a friend at the height of his fame—it's widely believed that he was talking about fellow D12 member Proof—before Kon Artis and Proof told similar stories of lost friendships. Em provided a nice change of pace here and the rest of D12 followed his lead.
4. Obie Trice f/ Eminem “Lady” (2003)
Best Line: "I'll be damned if I end up back in that pattern/And we end up back at that goddamn tavern/And having another deja vu, we seeing security/Pass my pussy around like it's Ja Rule's jewelry"
Although Eminem has typically kept his private life very private during interviews, he's been more than open about his relationship with his ex-wife Kim Mathers in his music . And this track, which features Obie and Em rapping about potential love interests, was a prime example of that. On it, Em called Kim out by name before talking about their troubled past and even worked a shot at Ja Rule into the mix in reference to her. By the end of the song, it was pretty clear that Em was (is?) not good at getting into and maintaining trusted relationships with women. But he was great at rapping about them! And that was a win for all of us.
3. Obie Trice f/ 50 Cent, Eminem, and Llyod Banks “We All Die One Day” (2003)
Best Line: "I'm Slim Shay-D and the D is for deez nuts/And you can get each one for free so feast up"
When this song was recorded, 50 Cent was less than a year removed from releasing his first album, G-Unit's debut was still a few months away, and Shady Records hadn't even celebrated its fifth anniversary yet. But Em—who executive produced Obie Trice's debut—wanted to let the world know that Shady was not to be fucked with. So he gathered Shady's top artists and released a song that featured them taking shots at everyone from Benzino and The Source to Ja Rule and Irv Gotti. Em's verse in particular was filled with plenty of venom—"too much venom," he rapped at one point—and really set the tone for what Shady was trying to do at the time. The takeover was in full effect.
2. D12 “Shit On You” (2001)
Album: Devil's Night
Best Line: "My adolescent years weren't shit to what I do now/I never grew up, I was born grown and grew down"
Twenty-six seconds. That's how long Bizarre rapped about things like eating hot dogs and driving around with JonBenét Ramsey in his car on this song. It wasn't easy. But it was a small price to pay for Eminem's verse, which picked up right where Bizarre's left off and featured Em rapping about all the dumb things he does when he gets angry. This song—which was D12's first official single—was an indication that D12 as a group would work. It proved that even though the Dirty Dozen members weren't necessarily on Em's level, he was more than able to elevate the entire collective by dropping a verse in the middle of one of their songs.
1. 50 Cent f/ Eminem “Patiently Waiting” (2003)
Album: Get Rich or Die Tryin'
Best Line: "Take some B.I.G. and some Pac and you mix 'em up in a pot/Sprinkle a little Big L on top, what the fuck do you got?/You got the realest and illest killers tied up in a knot/The juggernauts of this rap shit, like it or not"
Since they first started working together back in the early 2000s, Eminem and 50 Cent have appeared on a slew of songs together. And for the most part, they've just about always delivered on their collaborations. But they've never topped this particular track, which was one of the first songs they ever worked on. Fif started things off by referring to Em as his "favorite white boy," and then Em proved why he deserved the title by ripping a beat that he produced to shreds. It was a sign of good things to come for Em and 50 and proof that the two artists, who didn't seem to have a whole lot in common, could coexist and turn Shady into a powerhouse.
Patiently Waiting - 50 Cent ft. Eminem from Courtney Driver on Vimeo.