The Eminem Show

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The Eminem Show
Studio album by Eminem
ReleasedMay 28, 2002
RecordedJuly 2001 – April 2002
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
(Encore Studios)
(Marshall Mathers's House)
(54 Sound Studio)
GenreHip hop
LabelAftermath, Interscope, Shady
ProducerDr. Dre (exec.), Eminem, Jeff Bass, Mr. Porter
Eminem chronology
The Marshall Mathers LP
The Eminem Show
Singles from The Eminem Show
  1. "Without Me"
    Released: May 14, 2002
  2. "Cleanin' Out My Closet"
    Released: September 17, 2002
  3. "Superman"
    Released: January 27, 2003
  4. "Sing for the Moment"
    Released: February 25, 2003
  5. "Business"
    Released: July 22, 2003
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The Eminem Show
Studio album by Eminem
ReleasedMay 28, 2002
RecordedJuly 2001 – April 2002
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
(Encore Studios)
(Marshall Mathers's House)
(54 Sound Studio)
GenreHip hop
LabelAftermath, Interscope, Shady
ProducerDr. Dre (exec.), Eminem, Jeff Bass, Mr. Porter
Eminem chronology
The Marshall Mathers LP
The Eminem Show
Singles from The Eminem Show
  1. "Without Me"
    Released: May 14, 2002
  2. "Cleanin' Out My Closet"
    Released: September 17, 2002
  3. "Superman"
    Released: January 27, 2003
  4. "Sing for the Moment"
    Released: February 25, 2003
  5. "Business"
    Released: July 22, 2003

The Eminem Show is the fourth studio album by American rapper Eminem, released on May 28, 2002 by Shady Records, Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records. It was the best-selling album of 2002 in the United States, with sales of 7.6 million copies.[1] At the 2003 Grammy Awards it was nominated for Album of the Year and became Eminem's third LP in four years to win the award for Best Rap Album. On March 7, 2011, the album was certified ten-times-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America,[2] making it Eminem's second album to receive a Diamond certification in the United States. since its release in 2002, the album sold 10,500,000 copies in the United States and more than 23 million copies worldwide.


The Eminem Show was first scheduled for release on June 4, 2002; however, pirated and bootleg copies appeared online on peer-to-peer networks and began surfacing on the streets. Interscope decided to release the album early on May 28 to combat bootlegging. However, many stores in the U.S. began selling it early on Sunday, May 26, and some put the album out as early as Friday.[3] Promotional posters in stores read, "America Couldn't Wait". Due to the premature release by many retailers on a Sunday, the album had only one day of official sales for the chart week and was unavailable in Walmart stores during that period.[3][4] Despite the confusion over the exact release date, the album still managed to have a very successful debut on the charts. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 with sales of 284,000 copies.[3] This marked the first time an album had topped the charts with such an abbreviated sales week.[4] The album sold 1,322,000 copies in its first full week of sales.[5][6] It sold 809,000 copies in its third week and 529,562 copies in its fourth week, to bring its four-week sales total to just under three million copies.[7][8] The album sold 381,000 copies in its fifth week and topped the Billboard 200 for the fifth consecutive week.[9] The first 2 million copies of the album shipped in the U.S. included a bonus DVD with an exclusive interview and live footage.[4] The Eminem Show was Eminem's first album to include lyrics to all songs inside the CD booklet.[10] It was Eminem's most successful album in terms of charting singles. It spawned two top-ten and four top fifteen singles with "Without Me", "Cleanin' Out My Closet", "Sing for the Moment" and "Superman", which managed to reach the top fifteen without a widely available video counterpart (the video was mostly available on the 8 Mile DVD, rarely being shown on music video channels). In addition, "My Dad's Gone Crazy", "Business", "Hailie's Song", and "White America" were selected airplay singles of the controversial album.


Subject matter[edit]

The Eminem Show is a reflective album, featuring Eminem's more personal and serious side. This change gives the album a lighter tone, a departure from his previous albums. One of the most noticeable changes is the generally lighter lyrical content. Over the course of the album, he touches on the issues of race in hip hop ("White America"), his childhood ("Cleanin' Out My Closet"), the United States government and terrorism ("Square Dance"), his 2000 assault on a nightclub bouncer and his following conviction ("Soldier"), his coming to terms with fate the downside of fame ("Say Goodbye Hollywood"), his status as a rapper ("Sing for the Moment"), and his relationships with his ex-wife Kim and daughter Hailie ("Hailie's Song"). Also, the song "Say What You Say" (featuring Dr. Dre) is an attack on Jermaine Dupri and was also the first time that The Source magazine controversy was mentioned by Eminem. Unlike The Marshall Mathers LP, The Eminem Show's release came off without significant complaints about misogyny or homophobia. Some shock-oriented and extremely explicit lyrics are still present, but for the most part they are toned down. Q Magazine '​s May 2006 review of the album proposes "His two first albums aired dirty laundry, then the world's most celebrated rapper examined life in the hall of mirrors he'd built for himself."

Musical content[edit]

The album opens up with a skit of stage curtains apparently being opened, indicative of the "start of the show". It is followed by "White America," a song in which Eminem touches on numerous subjects ranging from his mainly white suburban youth fanbase, his own amazement at his success, and his reception by parents and politicians, it contains a rock based sound, which remains prominent throughout the album. The next track is "Business", which is a song with a light beat that touches on Eminem's success and talent. Following that is "Cleaning out My Closet" a serious song in which Eminem raps about his childhood and explains the reasons behind his distaste for his mother (some being her drug abuse, constant accusations of him stealing money, attempts to take credit for his success).

"Square Dance" is next, a song which criticizes the Bush administration for its involvement regarding Iraq and the War in Afghanistan, and warns young men of being drafted. "The Kiss", a skit, follows, which is a recreation of Eminem's 2000 pistol-whipping assault of John Guerrera, a bouncer who Eminem witnessed kissing his wife, Kimberly Mathers. "Soldier" follows, criticizing lawyers, judges, and many who have insulted Eminem or hurt him in some way. This particular song was very well received by critics for its production and lyrical content. "Say Goodbye Hollywood" is the next track. Eminem raps about "selling" his soul to the devil and wanting to put an end to the fame and success because it has deadened his character and hurt his life. This song replaced his original song "Stimulate", which can be found on the 8 Mile Soundtrack: Limited Edition.

"Drips" is the next song, featuring fellow Detroit rapper Obie Trice. The song follows the sexual escapades of both men and concludes with them learning they have contracted a sexually transmitted disease from the same woman. Following is "Without Me" a popular single which ridicules pop artists. "Paul Rosenberg", a skit, follows next. Paul, Eminem's manager, has left a voicemail message for the rapper upset with him after learning he has been shooting his gun behind the studio and instructing him to "leave the fucking gun at home." Following the skit is the single "Sing for the Moment", in which Eminem discusses his fame and the negative effects of it, justifies his actions and admits his mistakes, criticizes authority and hypocrisy, and concludes with Eminem voicing the opinion that his music provides a safe haven for depressed and exiled children.

After is "Superman" featuring Dina Rae. The song explains Eminem's perception of women, explaining that he does not want to get involved in a relationship and does not appreciate the fact that most women are simply attracted to him because of his wealth. "Hailie's Song" is next, a song which Eminem had not planned to include on the album (but did so after Dr. Dre played the track for two female friends who were crying at the end of it). The track is mainly sung as opposed to rapped. The rapper sings the first two verses and raps the third. The entire content of the song focuses on his daughter, Hailie Jade, and his love for her. The final verse touches on his wife and how he has stayed strong through all of the issues he has encountered due to her choices, simply for his daughter.

"Steve Berman", another skit, follows in which Eminem is requested to be seen. On The Marshall Mathers LP, a skit with the same title featured Berman criticizing the rapper for the lyrical content of the album. It is implied that Eminem has been called again this time for the same reason (only to say it was "the most incredible thing [he's] ever heard), but the rapper is armed with a weapon and the skit concludes with Berman being shot, unbeknownst to listeners whether he is fatally wounded. A skit on Relapse from 2009 reveals Berman survived the shot. "When The Music Stops" featuring D12, follows. The song features each rapper talking about their life and how it has been changed by their fame. "Say What You Say" is next, featuring Dr. Dre. The track insults rappers Canibus and Jermaine Dupri, whom Eminem and Dr. Dre feuded with, respectively. It also touches on Eminem and Dr. Dre's hardworking habits and ends with an insult directed at Dupri by Dr. Dre collaborator Timbaland.

The next track "Till I Collapse" features Nate Dogg. Eminem also raps about the denial of his talent by many due to skin color, and criticizes the industry for untalented rappers being popular while those he perceives as having true skill are not popular. The next track is "My Dad's Gone Crazy" featuring Eminem's daughter Hailie Jade (who was 6 years old at the time of recording). The song is comical and opens up with Eminem presumably snorting lines of cocaine when his daughter interrupts him and the song kicks off. Eminem intended for the song to convey that he is not concerned with the opinions of others regarding his seemingly unrestrained mouth, as evidence by the line in the song "I'd yank my fuckin' teeth before I'd ever bite my tongue."

The album closes with "Curtain Close" similar to the opening skit, in which the curtains are now being drawn, indicating the "end of the show." Ken Kaniff, Eminem's fictional gay character, is reintroduced briefly at the end of the skit and sings a ballad with homosexual undertones to the tune of the song "Without Me" by changing the words at the beginning of the song.


Production for the album took place between 2001 and 2002. Eminem had started recording the album around the same time he was filming 8 Mile. Production was used for both the soundtrack of the movie and his album. The album also saw Eminem take a substantially more predominant production role; most of it was self-produced, with longtime collaborator Jeff Bass co-producing several tracks (mainly the eventual singles), and playing a significant role in co-writing many of the tracks. Dr. Dre, in addition to being the album's executive producer, produced three individual tracks: "Business", "Say What You Say", and "My Dad's Gone Crazy". In an interview with The Face magazine in April 2002, Eminem said that he treated the album like it was a rock record, in terms of production, incorporating the use of guitars while still having elements of hip-hop. He said that he wanted to capture the '70s rock vibe, which he felt "had this incredible feel", for most of the record. He said that he "tried to get the best of both worlds" on the album.[11]

Censored version[edit]

The clean version of The Eminem Show censors all profanities, compared to his previous albums, in which the words "goddamn", "prick", "bastard", "piss", "bitch", "ass", and "shit" were allowed. This album allowed no profanities, and the profanities were either muted or back-masked.[citation needed] Following this, the censored version even took out entire sentences because they were too sexually charged. In fact, the entire song "Drips" is removed in the clean version and is just heard as four seconds of silence moving on to "Without Me", due to thinking there were so many profanities that editing the song would be pointless. But some copies feature an edited version of "Drips." However, in the skit "The Kiss", it can still be clearly heard that Eminem shouts "Motherfucker!" on the censored version. In "Soldier" which is a continuation of "The Kiss" the word "bitch" was used three times, but was still heard only once. "Hallie's Song" censors "want her" as it sounded too much like "abort her" when he says "God, I'm a daddy, I'm so glad that her mom didn't want her" [12] on both explicit and clean versions. Also, in "White America", in Eminem's speech the word "flag" is back masked when he says "To burn the flag and replace it with a parental advisory sticker". When a clean version of "Drips" was made, at the end of Obie Trice's verse, the word "fuck" is still heard from him.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[14]
Robert ChristgauA−[15]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[16]
HipHopDX4.5/5 stars[17]
Vibe4/5 stars[21]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[22]
Slant Magazine4/5 stars[23]

Critical response to The Eminem Show was very positive. It was viewed by many critics and fans as a growth in Eminem as an artist. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 75, based on 20 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[13] Alex Needham from NME gave it a positive review, calling it a "fantastic third album" that "is bigger, bolder and far more consistent than its predecessors".[18] In his review at AllMusic, Stephen Erlewine said the album "proves Eminem is the gold standard in pop music in 2002, delivering stylish, catchy, dense, funny, political music that rarely panders".[14]

With a rating of 4 out of 5 stars, Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani said The Eminem Show "reveals a little bit of the real Marshall Mathers" that "displays a—dare I say it?—more 'mature' Eminem." And he called "Without Me" "a pop-friendly ditty that displays enough of Eminem's talent for tight rhymes and well-timed controversy to validate his perpetual upward climb."[23]

David Browne at Entertainment Weekly concluded, "[l]ike its predecessors, though, The Eminem Show is a testament to the skills of its star. The sludgy rapping of such guests as D12 only confirms Eminem's dizzying prowess, gob-spewing individuality, and wickedly prankish humor." He gave it a grade of B+.[16]

Robert Christgau gave the album an A- and said "I like it and I enjoy it; I think it represents an articulate, coherent, formally appropriate response to Eminem's changing position and role, one that acknowledges the privileges and alienations that accrue to all fame as well as the resolution of Marshall Mathers's worst traumas and the specifics of his success."[15] Uncut said "Behind the hype and the swagger, he's still baring enough of his soul for The Eminem Show to be compelling theatre.

The reviewer at HipHopDX admired both the musical and lyrical aspects of the work, and gave a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars: "Em flows on beat so effortlessly and naturally you'd swear it was his everyday style. Overlooking his lyrics would be a crime though."[17] RapReviews gave it a rating of 8 out of 10[20] and Rolling Stone gave it a 4-star rating.[22] It has been deemed a classic by XXL and Complex.[24]

The record became Eminem's third to win the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album and also swept the MTV Music Video Awards, winning four awards for Best Male Video, Video of the Year, Best Direction, and Best Rap Video. It won Album of the Year & R&B/Hip-Hop Album of the Year at the 2002 Billboard Music Awards.[25] It won Best International Album and International Album of the Year at the Brit Awards and the Juno Awards respectively in 2003.[26] It also won Best Album at the 2002 MTV Europe Music Awards.[27]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling approximately 284,000 units in its first week, which due to a premature release by retailers and street-date violations, counted only a day and a half of sales.[3] The album sold 1,322,000 copies the following week, where it registered a full week of sales.[5][6] The album topped the Billboard 200 for five consecutive weeks.[28][29] The album also spent five consecutive weeks at the top of the UK Albums Chart.[30] It has gone on to sell over ten million copies.[31] On March 7, 2011, the album was certified ten-times-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America,[2] making it Eminem's second album to receive a Diamond certification in the United States.


In 2009, the album was ranked #317 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and was later ranked at #84 on the same magazine's best albums of the 2000s decade. The album received critical praise by most music critics and is often debated as Eminem's most personal and best work. Eminem himself acknowledged during an interview with MTV that was recorded on May 25, 2002, that he felt that The Eminem Show was his "best record so far".[32] The Eminem Show was Eminem's first album to be mainly self-produced.

Track listing[edit]

1."Curtains Up" (skit) Eminem0:30
2."White America"  Marshall Mathers, Jeff Bass, Luis Resto, Steve KingEminem, Jeff Bass (co.)5:24
3."Business"  Mathers, Andre Young, Neff-U, Mike ElizondoDr. Dre4:11
4."Cleanin' Out My Closet"  Mathers, BassEminem, Bass4:57
5."Square Dance"  Mathers, Bass, RestoEminem, Bass (co.)5:24
6."The Kiss" (skit)Mathers, BassEminem1:16
7."Soldier"  Mathers, RestoEminem3:46
8."Say Goodbye Hollywood"  Mathers, Elizondo, RestoEminem4:33
9."Drips" (featuring Obie Trice)Mathers, Obie Trice, Denaun Porter, BassEminem4:45
10."Without Me"  MathersEminem, Bass (co.), DJ Head (add.)4:50
11."Paul Rosenberg" (skit)  0:23
12."Sing for the Moment"  Mathers, Bass, Resto, King, Steven TylerEminem, Bass (co.)5:40
13."Superman" (featuring Dina Rae)Mathers, Bass, KingEminem, Bass (add.)5:50
14."Hailie's Song"  Mathers, RestoEminem5:21
15."Steve Berman" (skit)  0:33
16."When the Music Stops" (featuring D12)Mathers, Ondre Moore, Porter, Von Carlisle, DeShaun Holton, Rufus Johnson, Neff-UEminem, Denaun Porter (co.)4:29
17."Say What You Say" (featuring Dr. Dre)Mathers, Young, Neff-U, ElizondoDr. Dre5:09
18."'Till I Collapse" (featuring Nate Dogg)Mathers, Nathaniel Hale, RestoEminem4:57
19."My Dad's Gone Crazy" (featuring Hailie Jade)Mathers, Young, Neff-U, ElizondoDr. Dre4:28
20."Curtains Close" (skit)  1:01
Sample credits

Information taken from The Eminem Show liner notes:[35]


Charts and cerfications[edit]


Argentina (CAPIF)[61]Platinum40,000x
Australia (ARIA)[62]9× Platinum630,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[63]2× Platinum60,000x
Belgium (BEA)[64]Platinum50,000*
Brazil (ABPD)[65]Gold50,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[66]Diamond1,000,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[67]2× Platinum100,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[68]2× Platinum62,212[68]
France (SNEP)[69]2× Platinum600,000*
Germany (BVMI)[70]2× Platinum600,000^
Greece (IFPI Greece)[71]Platinum30,000^
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[72]Gold10,000*
Hungary (MAHASZ)[73]2× Platinum40,000x
Mexico (AMPROFON)[74]Gold75,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[75]Platinum80,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[76]9× Platinum135,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[77]Platinum50,000*
Poland (ZPAV)[78]Gold50,000*
Portugal (AFP)[79]Platinum40,000x
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[80]2× Platinum200,000^
Sweden (GLF)[81]2× Platinum120,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[82]3× Platinum120,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[83]5× Platinum1,500,000^
United States (RIAA)[2]Diamond10,313,000^
Europe (IFPI)[84]5× Platinum5,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]


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  4. ^ a b c Dansby, Andrew (2002-05-29). "Eminem's Show Shoots to Top | Music News". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
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  15. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "The Eminem Show review - Eminem". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2010-10-17. 
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  18. ^ a b Needham, Alex (2002-05-28). "NME Album Reviews - Eminem : The Eminem Show". NME. Retrieved 2010-10-17. Though it's partially masked (the only censored line on the album), on 'Hailie's Song', an otherwise tender eulogy to his daughter, Eminem clearly raps the line 'I'm so glad her mom didn't abort her'. 
  19. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
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  21. ^ The Eminem Show is a brilliant piece of theater and a guilty pleasure. [Aug 2002, p.155]
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  25. ^ "Moby : Ashanti, Nelly Big Winners At Billboard Awards - Rhapsody Music Downloads". MTV Networks. 2002-12-10. Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  26. ^ "Brit Awards 2011: All the winners since 1977". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). 2011-02-16. Retrieved 2011-09-12. 
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  30. ^ Sexton, Paul (2010-08-19). "Eminem Back On Top In Europe". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
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  75. ^ "Goud & Platina - Eminem - Eminem Show" (in Dutch). NVPI. Archived from the original on 16 April 2008. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  76. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Eminem – The Eminem Show". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. 24 February 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  77. ^ "Norwegian album certifications – Eminem – The Eminem Show" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. 
  78. ^ "Polish album certifications – Eminem – The Eminem Show" (in Polish). Polish Producers of Audio and Video (ZPAV). 
  79. ^ "Associação Fonográfica Portuguesa". AFP. Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  80. ^ "El post de las certificaciones en España: Todos los Oros y Platinos". Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  81. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 2003" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. 
  82. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Eminem; 'The Eminem Show')". Hung Medien. 
  83. ^ "British album certifications – Eminem – The Eminem Show". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter The Eminem Show in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  84. ^ "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards – 2010". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Grammy Award for Best Rap Album
Succeeded by
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Preceded by
We Invented The Remix Vol. 1 by Various Artists
Nellyville by Nelly
Billboard 200 number-one album
June 2, 2002 – July 6, 2002
September 1, 2002 – September 7, 2002
Succeeded by
Nellyville by Nelly
Home by Dixie Chicks
Preceded by
Destination by Ronan Keating
UK number-one album
June 1, 2002 – July 7, 2002
Succeeded by
Heathen Chemistry by Oasis
Preceded by
18 by Moby
Australian ARIA Albums Chart number-one album
June 3, 2002 – July 14, 2002
September 23–29, 2002
Succeeded by
By the Way by Red Hot Chili Peppers