Monday, May 30, 2011

Cleaning out my closet

Overreaction is my only reaction,
which sets off a chain reaction
I'm moving to Washington, DC in less than a month and I've just started cleaning out the closets of the apartment that I've lived in for three years.  It's not fun.  So, in an attempt to procrastinate, I also decided to clean out my inbox -- which is only slightly more fun -- and came across an email that I sent myself back in April with a link to's list of the 100 greatest Eminem songs.  Obviously, since he's my G.O.A.T., I decided to take a three hour break from cleaning my closet to clean Em's.

Once you get through the sometimes self-righteous commentary and Mr. Alvarez's initial aversion to commercially produced music, this is a really good list.  (Warning: This is not for the casual fan, this is for someone who knows and loves Eminem's music or who really wants to spend some time listening to music.  If you just like the songs that make the pop charts -- and there's no shame in that -- you should start around #20)  It doesn't contain much that big-time Em fans wouldn't have already heard, but it's like a great trip down memory lane.  The list chronicles that evolution of Eminem as a rapper, producer and performer and reminded me of some of his great songs, battles and guest-verses.  For those of you who are hardcore fans here's some of the lesser-known songs that I was pleased to rediscover on the list:
#90 - Emulate (Obie Trice and Eminem) reminded me how good Obie Trice is; 
#82 - The Kids
#81 - Elevator.  Everyone in my office knows that I love this one from Relapse, because I play it several times a day.  I think it's severely under-appreciated.;  
#75 - Lady (Obie Trice f. Eminem) Officially, I'm offended.  But it's a good song;  
The game ain't gonna be the same on the day that I leave it, I swear one way
or another I'ma make these fucking haters believe it.
#66 - How Come (D12).  This one captures the  beginnings of the whiny, forgotten supporters that would later be perfected in My Band.
#60 - You Don't Know (Eminem, 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Cashis.  One of my favorite slant rhymes ever -- "It's no pretend shit, it's friendship" -- comes from this record.
#46 - Drug Ballad (Eminem f. Dina Rae) "Back when Mark Wahlberg was Marky Mark, this is how we used to make the party start," just may be the best opening line of a song ever.
#45 - Never Enough (Eminem f. 50 Cent and Nate Dogg). You really do just wish it were longer.;
#39 - Love Me (Eminem, Obie Trice and 50 Cent); 
#36 - Don't Approach Me (Xzibit f. Eminem);
#33 - Scary Movie (Bad Meets Evil) Has me looking forward to the Bad Meets Evil reunion.
#30 - We As Americans. I mean, it caused the Secret Service to investigate him.  That's insane.
#25 - Love You More was in a lot of ways the pre-cursor to Love the Way You Lie. ("The more you put me through, the more it makes me wanna come back to you / You say that you hate me, I just love you more / You don't want me, I just want you more.")

You are the ink to my paper what my pen is to my pad, the moral, the very fiber
the whole substance to my rap.  You are my reason for being the meaning my
existence, if it wasn't for you I would never be able to spit this as intense as I do
and the irony is that you rely on me as much as I rely on you to inspire me like
you do.
But, fear not, the list also includes all your (and my) commercial favorites -- Love the Way You Lie (#100), Hailie's Song (#84), Cleaning Out My Closet (#52), Sing for the Moment (#50), Not Afraid (#38), Like Toy Soldiers (#37), Forever (#27), What's the Difference (#24), Marshall Mathers (#18), My Name Is (#16), Forgot About Dre (#14) and the whole top ten.  

In addition, there were some surprises including Patiently Waiting at #12 -- I always thought that me and my BFF LB were the only ones who liked that song!  Renegade at #7 was another surprise, since I just assumed everyone had forgotten that one.  Personally, I thought that Kim was too high at #9 and Love the Way You Lie was too low at #100 (had this song not featured Rihanna and been an over-played single I'm pretty sure it would have been higher -- the production is some of Em's best).   I thought that Just Don't Give a Fuck was too high at #4 and that Cleaning Out My Closet, Sing for the Moment and Like Toy Soldiers were all too low.  Of course, I was obviously upset that my favorite ever, Crazy in Love was left off the list all together -- just another example of how Heart doesn't get any respect. 

All and all though, the top three were exactly right: The Way I Am (#3), Stan (#2) and Lose Yourself (#1) are songs that -- largely do to their commercial appeal -- have been simultaneously over-exposed and under-appreciated, much like Eminem himself.  But beyond all the hype and hoopla, they are songs that showcase Eminem's versatility, talent and the special magic that he brings to his art. No matter where or when you hear them -- these songs capture a feeling.  Good, bad or ugly, this is music that moves you.

xo kate


  1. You complete me. Thank goodness you're moving to DC.

  2. Crazy in love didn't make the list???

  3. we should write a new verse -- the lauren to my katie.