Eminem is a rapper's rapper. Just listen to songs like "Rap God" and you'll see. That guy lives and breathes hip-hop and all he wants to be is considered a master of his craft, the Best Rapper Alive. Eminem has had a hard life, but hip-hop has always been his escape. Even though his mic skills have brought him millions of dollars, an incredible amount of fame (and a house with a fucking elevator), it's always been most obvious that what Em has always most craved is respect. And there's no respect quite like respect from your professional peers. Lucky for him, over a decade into his career, Em is one of the most very most respected rappers in hip-hop. Not just as a veteran artist, but as one of the greatest rappers of all time.
To help celebrate the release of his eighth studio album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, we spoke to 30 hip-hop aritsts about their favorite Eminem song, album, and moment. One thing was abundantly clear, whether we spoke to legends like Diddy, Redman, and Prodigy or younger artists like Chance The Rapper, Ab-Soul, and Hopsin or Shady Records artists like Slaughterhouse and Yelawolf, everyone loves them some Slim Shady. Here's what they had to say...
Related: The Best Eminem Songs
Related: The Best Eminem Albums
Favorite Song: "I had the pleasure of going to an Eminem concert when I was in London performing with Em at a festival. You forget how many goddamn hits he has. When 'The Way I Am' went on, I went crazy. That's my favorite one. That song right there is a serious song."
When TRL was popping, me and my friend Laura took the train to the city and we tried to go over there to see him. And oh my God, he came and shut Times Square down."
Favorite Album: "The Slim Shady LP is definitely my favorite. I was listening to Eminem back in the day, before he was even popular, his freestyles and shit. The one he does with Thirstin Howl III was crazy."
Favorite Moment: "There's a lot of moments, I grew up on Em. I remember watching all those videos, watching MTV, seeing news about him. It was just a mania. I guess you can compare it to The Beatles when they took over America back in the day. It was next level.
"One thing that sticks out of my mind is when TRL was popping, me and my friend Laura took the train to the city and we tried to go over there to see him. We wanted to be in the crowd but there were just too many people in the street. We were just chilling on 42nd Street because we didn't make it. But TRL was popping at that point. And oh my God, he came and shut fucking Times Square down."
Favorite Song: "My favorite song is 'Infinite.' I had the privilege to meet him and I asked him if I could snatch that sample from him and he said he would look for it for me. That was one of those records where he discovered what he was doing with words, that's the song where he becomes Eminem. If I am not mistaken, I think that's the tape that Dr. Dre heard to find him."
I had the privilege to meet Em and I asked him if I could snatch the sample from 'Infinite' from him and he said he would look for it for me.
Favorite Album: "The Marshall Mathers LP. I don't wanna be cliché, but 'Stan' blew my socks off. 'Stan' and 'Kim'—those records kinda changed me, those records changed a lot of people. Especially as a young kid trying to be an artist, he kinda really showed you how far you can take it on this mic, how visual you can get. Not to say that nothing was done like that in the past—I don't wanna crown him for being the first to create such great theatrics and imagery—but for me that was just amazing. The whole album itself was just crazy."
Favorite Moment: "My favorite Eminem moment was when he got into it with Canibus. Canibus is one of my favorite artists but Em really showed and proved. He was really ready for that. To me that was crazy because he was making hit records as well, but Em showed that he was ready for that. That was kinda a rare thing. They asked him what was the biggest mistake he ever made, he said saying Canibus was ill, that was just amazing to me."
Favorite Song: "I have to say 'Stan' is my favorite because I still listen to 'Stan' and wonder if there's going to be a different ending, I don't know. I swear, I catch something different in the song every time."
Favorite Album: "The first or second album. I really got favorite songs. But 'Stan,' that was the second album, right? Yeah."
I still listen to 'Stan' and wonder if there's going to be a different ending, I don't know. I swear, I catch something different in the song every time.
Favorite Moment: "To be honest, I really enjoyed the movie 8 Mile. You know why? Because he was OK with not being the cool kid. How many rappers or people you see in movies that would be OK with that? He was like 'OK, I'm going to get punched in my face here.' He was OK with that. How many rappers have you seen in movies who just play the image that they are? Maybe Will Smith, no disrespect to him but he was always an entertaining, non-hardcore rapper.
"For me, when I watched that movie for the first time, I'm sure some of it was true, some of it wasn't, but to be OK with all that [was dope]. Remember, that was before the Internet was crazy popping. He was OK with showing that. I thought it was cool. It's cooler to me now than when I was watching it because now I go, 'Damn a lot of other rappers didn't do that.' You remember 50 Cent's movie right? You know and I love 50, but I don't think 50 would've put himself in that type of a position. Would he? I think Em's movie would've been just as successful either way, but I like that he did that. I look at it now in 2014, I like it even more now because a lot of artists didn't do that."
Favorite Song: "'Rain Man.' I just remember hearing it for the first time and I was completely blown away. I never thought somebody could take it that far-the impersonations-he was just doing too much man. Anybody could just pick up a pen and write a rap but he was just doing too much and that's what I like. You know that was like his overtime-Eminem is somebody we obviously know who puts overkill into what he is doing so I couldn't imagine how long... I would actually like to know the story to that song-I'm pretty sure it took a long time to write. It's very uncomfortable, that's what I'm saying. Maybe just me and my dark sense of humor that I'm able to it. I learned a lot from it actually."
Em just seemed like the coolest guy I ever met. I've met a lot of rappers and I've met a lot of people and I don't know—he just felt normal to me. Maybe cause he's from Detroit too and there was a connection there.
Favorite Album: "It would be easy for me to say The Marshall Mathers LP because I listened to that one the most, but I would say the one that hit home to me the most was Encore. I was in New York at the time when I heard it and I was doing my whole New York grind going to studios. I don't know, something about that album made me feel close to home. Every time I heard it—because he had that 'Yellow Brick Road' and stuff like that. It was inspiring in some sense too."
Favorite Moment: "When I met him to be honest. We were actually in Belgium playing a festival—we are signed to the same management, so his manager Paul Rosenberg was out there. Paul was helping me do stuff and helping him do stuff. There came a time when Paul was like sit down and meet Em. Eminem to me is like a bigger than life kind of dude. At this point I was already like hammered drunk so I probably embarrassed myself and said too much shit.
"But he just seemed like the coolest guy I ever met. I've met a lot of rappers and I've met a lot of people and I don't know—he just felt normal to me. Maybe cause he's from Detroit too and there was a connection there—and that's all we pretty much talked about was Detroit. I felt like, 'Damn this guy is fucking normal.' I feel like I'm like that in some sense too, I rap but don't look at me like a rapper—I'm still a human being. I might have looked at him like he was this larger than life figure, but when I sat down and talked to him—I felt like I just got to know Marshall. He was a regular cool dude to me."
Tajai of Souls Of Mischief
Favorite Song: "I would say 'Stan.' I know it's cliché but the way he put it together, the structure and concept, it reminded me of 'One Love' and the whole letter thing. He definitely took a Nas concept and built it a little bit bigger."
Favorite Album: "The Slim Shady LP because he was new and fresh. This dude is rapping in plain English but he has complex rhymes and he's wacky. 'Just The Two of Us' is another crazy song. He brought the elements together really well. He gave us his demo so I heard a couple of the demo songs on there, so it's kinda of cool to see him go from that."
Eminem's first big show, he opened for us. This is in '96 or something in Detroit. The promoter is like 'We got this kid and he's a big fan. Is it cool if he hops on?' and he gave us his demo.
Favorite Moment: "Eminem's first big show, he opened for us. This is in '96 or something in Detroit. The promoter is like 'We got this kid and he's a big fan. Is it cool if he hops on?' and he gave us his demo. He was super humble and super cool. He was about to move to Cali and go to this battle and shit. To see him go from there to Eminem—you know what I'm saying? That's why I say The Slim Shady LP. I heard it in the rough, I saw the raw form, and then to see it go to where it went—I mean he exploded immediately.
"He was definitely hella humble and hella skilled—you could tell even at the show. Then the next time I see him-he's signed to Aftermath. Like 'Oh that's that guy!' He's a big Hieroglyphics fan, like if you watch 8 Mile he's got a Hiero sticker in his studio. Em and Proof were big fans of us, Proof's little brother said they used to sit, take our patterns, and go back and forth. All of D12 is good people."
Favorite Song: "'Role Model.' just because it's just dope as hell. I love it. The beat is just such a simple beat and you want to rap over-just an MC beat. The beat kind of went 50 percent and he went the extra 50 percent to make the song 100. It's not one of those beats that's produced by Timbaland and all crazy, and you're like 'Aw hell yeah.' He was able to bring beats to life by putting his voice over it. He came with it and made me love the beat and when you think of that, you think of one of those sick-ass Eminem flows.
"When he started with, 'I'm cancerous/So when I diss you wouldn't want to answer this/If you responded back with a battle rap you wrote for Canibus,' that shit was just raw to start off with. The chorus is super dope, 'Don't you want to grow up to be just like me?' When I heard that I was like, 'Oh my god, this is dope.' Everything in that song is super sick."
He just did whatever he wanted to do, and said whatever he wanted to say—and I think every artist should be like that.
Favorite Album: "My favorite album of his is The Marshall Mathers LP. I still bump it to this day. That was the inspiration for the new album I just worked on. The rawness and raw emotion he has on the songs. The Slim Shady LP was really dope and I liked it because it was raw, but he got a little more professional on The Marshall Mathers LP where he was a super legit artist. To me, that was him in his prime. He was professional but still raw at the same time and had that underground feel. He just did whatever the fuck he wanted to do, and said whatever the fuck he wanted to say—and I think every artist should be like that."
Favorite Moment: "When he was at the MTV Video Awards and came out performing 'The Real Slim Shady,' and all those dudes were dressed like him. That did it for me, I was a fan for life at that moment. This fool is the best of all time and it was just so raw with him walking through with his wife beater. It gave me chills seeing him come out, I think I was in high school when that happened. It was so dope."
Favorite Song: "My favorite Eminem song is probably 'Lose Yourself' because I can relate to it a lot. That's how I feel every time I write a rhyme. I understand where he's coming from. It's do or die. That's how I feel every time I make any song. I feel like it might be like 'that' song."
Favorite Album: "The Marshall Mathers LP, that one was dope. It was something new. People were like, 'Yo, who the fuck is this dude?' He was just wild. His rebelliousness-I can relate to all of that. So yeah, that's probably one of my favorite joints right there."
Favorite Moment: "When I first met Em, we were in the studio around 2001 or 2002. I was with Xzibit and Xzibit was like 'Yo, Em's in the other room. You should go holla at him.' So I walked over there. Em was writing a rhyme but when he seen me, he just stopped what he was doing and was like, 'Yo man, I grew up on Mobb Deep. Ya'll inspired me. I love ya'll. I'm one of your biggest fans, I appreciate all your work.' And I was just like, 'Good looking yo.'
Em was writing a rhyme but when he seen me, he just stopped what he was doing and was like, 'Yo man, I grew up on Mobb Deep. Ya'll inspired me. I love ya'll. I'm one of your biggest fans.' I peeked over at his page he was writing on and it was like the craziest s**t. He had words going in every direction, like it wasn't on the line.
"I peeked over at his page he was writing on and it was like the craziest shit. This motherfucker had words going in every direction, like it wasn't on the line. He had a legal pad and this nigga had words going everywhere like his mind-you could tell his mind was everywhere, just like every word on the page.
"Even in the "Lose Yourself" video when he's writing on the bus or whatever, that's what it looked like. You could just tell like this motherfucker has a lot on his mind and his mind is moving at a million miles per minute. Yeah, "Shook Ones" and "Survival of the Fittest," he put our songs in the movie. The movie starts off with, I believe "Survival of the Fittest." I'm not too sure but it starts off with our song in the battle and shit. And he's going to the bathroom and throwing up and what not because he's nervous.
"Then we did the deal with 50 Cent and we went on tour together. Most of the tour I didn't get to see him because we did our show first and he went on last. After the show everyone is tired and they go in their dressing room and try to go back to their room. So most of the tour, I didn't even get to see him, except when he was on stage. When we had a day off, Em was shooting a video. We were on the video set and everyone was there-like D12 and Cashis.
"Me and 50 were in the dressing room talking business, and Em walked passed the room. I didn't pay no mind, I just kept talking to 50. Then, all of a sudden, I see him come back and he was like, 'Yo, P let me holla at you.' So I got up and went into the hallway to talk to him and he was like, 'Yo man, I apologize. I know we've been together on tour for mad long. I didn't even get a chance to talk to you the whole tour.' I was like, 'Nah, it's all good my nigga.' He was just showing love and shit.
"It was a good experience just being around him and being on tour with him. And seeing how-you know even 50 like-they were strictly business. They were really professional, and they good people too. They weren't on some superstar bullshit. They'll take the time out to talk to you. That was my impression of him. He was a real good dude."
DJ Clark Kent
Favorite Song: "'8 Mile.' The lyrics, the rhythm, the way he sounds like one of the instruments in the beat. It's perfect."
Favorite Album: "The Marshall Mathers LP. It was perfect execution. Perfectly A&R'd. Extremely complete body of music."
It was the first time I heard a white rapper, actually rapping from a 'white' point of view. Not trying to sound 'black' or 'urban.'
Favorite Moment: "The very first time I heard him rap. It was the first time I heard a white rapper, actually rapping from a 'white' point of view. Not trying to sound 'black' or 'urban.' When you heard some of the things he said, you could only get the picture of a white kid. Historically black kids don't disrespect their mom, but take a walk in a grocery store, a white kid is yelling at their mom in a disrespectful tone.
"The 'Black' experience is different from 'White.' Eminem feels absolutely comfortable in his 'whiteness.' Rap music was the story of urban America, usually, told from a 'Black' mans perspective. This gave white folks a clearer understanding of what goes on in the hood. Eminem told the story from a 'white' view, giving Black people a better understanding of their experience. He's absolutely incredible."
Favorite Song: "I have a few of them. 'Lose Yourself,' because that shit is crazy. 'Lose Yourself' is the way most of us feel. You got to take advantage of everything right now. This is what it is. And 'The Real Slim Shady.' It came at the perfect time. You had the half the world walking around looking like Eminem. I can imagine him being the Eminem himself, he can't walk outside and not see nobody that's not like you. I got muthafucks rapping like me, looking like me. I got a hundred million fans. What the fuck is going on?"
It was almost like the microphone was smoking after what I just saw. This was early Eminem, so you can imagine, the mic was on fire.
Favorite Album: "I can't say. I'm an album person. But at the same time, I'm a song person. Then I'm an artist myself, so it makes it even harder because I'm really into this niggas shit. I'm not one of those people that's single bound that say, 'I only like this. I only like that album.' Let me tell you something, Em is my dude because he is one of the best entertainers. Period. He's not just a rapper. Rap is something he do. He's an artist."
Favorite Moment: "My favorite moment of Eminem is when I was heading the Lyricist Lounge. I'm sitting in between this girl legs. I'm about to go on stage and I'm just sitting looking at this dude and I'm like, 'Yo, this muthafucka is literally setting this house on fire. If there is any room for me when I get on stage, I'm good.' It was almost like the microphone was smoking after what I just saw. This was early Eminem, so you can imagine, the mic was on fire. The whole crowd was on fire. It was purely off wording. It was purely off of tearing ass off the mic.
"It was a battle, I don't remember who he was going against. I don't remember nothing else except for Eminem with that mic on stage literally going bonkers, everyone was going bonkers. I said, 'This dude is going to be one of the biggest problems in hip-hop history if they let him in that gate.' Like a boxer, I already knew what his skills was. Next thing you know it was on. The only thing I'm thinking is, 'I got to go on after this nigga?'"
Favorite Album: "The Marshall Mathers LP. That would probably be my favorite. That whole album pushed him over for me as far as lyricism and standing ground to who he is. He was out the shell already, but he became more expressive about who he was, what he represented, and what he didn't like. That is when I realized you could write a conceptual rap album. Every song was formatted perfectly. The album is more than just 'Hi, my name is.' It was all real songs. 'Stan,' that song was amazing to me. All the tracks work because they stay true to consistent theme and tone.
I love how he stays true to the Midwest and true to Detroit. It is good to someone come from a market like Detroit and really resonate and put hip-hop on the map.
"I was just having having a conversation in the studio and said, 'Em made the angriest albums, ever.' They always sold well and connected to listeners. His honesty is so brilliant on each album. I always tell people that he and Luda have the best flows in the game. They ride over any beat. Em went stupid on 'Rap God.' He is one of the best."
Favorite Moment: "I love how he stays true to the Midwest and true to Detroit. It is good to someone come from a market like Detroit and really resonate and put hip-hop on the map. That is special to me, coming from Ohio. He really set in stone that lyricism comes from the Midwest, that we have rappers who really care about the culture.
"As an Ohioan, I have to concede that Michigan has the best rappers. Facts is facts. I will be the first to tip my hat to Michigan rappers. Detroit itself has a lot of great lyricists from Em to Royce. You can go to guys like the Chedda Boyz. There were always guys making noise on both a large and small scale. Detroit has the best lyricists and battle rappers. I'm a big fan of battle rap. I know that Em comes from that circuit."
Chance The Rapper
Favorite Song: "Man that's a crucial ass question. It's probably either 'Just The Two of Us' or 'Kill You.' It was just subject matter and content, they both are very different ways of approaching a story. One is literally him telling you what he is going to do to you, and the other he is standing there like an actor—it's hard to even describe.
That was one of the few revolutions in hip-hop, there was a point when I heard that and I was like 'It's different now.'
"That was one of the few revolutions in hip-hop, there was a point when I heard that and I was like 'shit is different now.' I gotta listen to this over and over. He is like a boxer about this shit-you know when niggas talk about the sweet science? He's got that shit, he knows. He's like a technical rapper. Eminem is the rawest shit of all time. [Laughs.]"
Favorite Album: "The Marshall Mathers LP. That was just where he was like the darkest and the hottest. I guess like albums are so crucial and I want to say Infinite was crucial, but specifically The Marshall Mathers LP is when I was like 'Aww, yeah.' That's a lot of people's point where they were like, 'This is my favorite rapper, Eminem is my favorite rapper.'"
Favorite Moment: "He's done like hella funny shit—the Mariah Carey shit was mad funny, and his random beefs. The Elton John shit was cool. I don't know if this counts but the moment I saw a commercial for 8 Mile, like 'What?!' The Eminem movie version? Let's go."
TY Dolla $ign
Favorite Song: "I'm gonna have to say 'Rock Bottom.' It's just incredible how he opened up his world and all the things he was going through at that time-before all the shit went down. I come from a completely different background, but the way he put that record together-it's like I could completely relate to and see everything that he was going through. Also the beat is sick, it's a flip of a Janis Joplin record—which not a lot of people know."
When he went to give his speech, a bunch of pills fell out of his pocket and I thought that was hilarious.
Favorite Album: "I'm gonna have to say The Slim Shady LP. Even though The Marshall Mathers LP was just a little bit stronger musically and production-wise—there is nothing like that first album. Every parent was ducking for cover, doing everything within their power to make sure their kids were not listening to The Slim Shady LP. I sure as fuck was doing everything within my power to listen to it. I sure did, and then some I suppose."
Favorite Moment: "I think it was when he won Best New Artist at the VMAs. When he went to give his speech, a bunch of pills fell out of his pocket and I thought that was fucking hilarious. Everyone was seeing him for the first time and he came out like that-spilling pills out of his pocket. That was fucking genius. I'm sure that was staged, but that shit is fucking...you know, his sense of humor has always been really a huge part of what he does. The thing I love about him is like what he's feeling on a record, you feel after you listen to it. If he's angry, you're gonna get angry too. He's got a great way of changing people's moods to understand what he's talking about."
Alex da Kid
Favorite Song: "I love 'Superman.' When that came out, I used to work at MTV in Europe. I remember playing that song on a loop for like two weeks straight. I guess people started to get annoyed with me. I love 'Superman,' I don't know why. I think it's the lyrics. But there's so many songs I love-there's a lot."
Marshall doesn't get enough credit for being a songwriter. He's definitely one of the best songwriters of our generation.
Favorite Album: "My favorite Eminem album is probably The Marshall Mathers LP. I feel like, with Marshall, he doesn't get enough credit for being a songwriter. He writes amazing songs. That album in particular has amazing songwriting on it. Just telling amazing stories in such a unique way. He's definitely one of the best songwriters of our generation. I just don't feel like he gets enough attention on that side of what he does too.
"But you know what? I love the new album. I was having a conversation about this with someone the other day, there's very few people who stay relevant, especially in hip-hop. And for him to have one of the biggest albums of the year, like 15 plus years in the game-it's incredible how he just maintains people's interest. So this album for me is really dope as well."