Producer: Bass Brothers, Eminem
Album: The Marshall Mathers LP
Label: Aftermath/Interscope
Leave it to Marshall Mathers to make a "love song" and it's all about his lust for pill-poppin' partyin'. "Drug Ballad" is a (shattered) window into the life of a rapper with a rock 'n' roll lifestyle; it's a trip to go back over a decade and hear the debauchery now that the man has cleaned up. While not exactly a cautionary tale ("If I could take it all back now, I wouldn't/I would have did more shit that people said that I shouldn't"), all the basic ingredients of excessive "good times"—drunk driving, fist fights, one-night stands, hangovers, puke, spinal-cord damage, just to a name a few—show up here, warts and all. The deep, groovy bass mixed with the sexy sanging is a lot of fun, but one wonders if he really believed in the cycle of life he rapped about in the closing: "But when it's all said and done I'll be 40/Before I know it with a 40 on the porch tellin' stories/With a bottle of Jack, two grandkids in my lap/Babysitting for Hailie while Hailie's out gettin' smashed."

"Drug Ballad" showed there really was substance—and not just substance abuse—to Eminem's work.