Eminem is now a Genius-verified artist, which gives him the ability to annotate lyrics on the site. Shady has 42 annotations up on Genius already, and in many of them, he gets personal about his pill addiction, friendships, and self-image. Read through the full list of Eminem’s Genius annotations on his profile page, and check out our top eight picks here.
1. Biggie / Tupac Live Freestyle (1999)
Lyrics: Notorious B.I.G. verse
There’s people who rap to make songs, just because they enjoy doing it and want to express themselves. And then there are people who rap competitively. I believe that anybody who competitively raps — like Drake and Kendrick and Jay Z — raps to be the best rapper. People diss each other, but it’s more in the vein of “How can I kill you with record sales? Or with a flow? How can I be better than you at making records, at punchlines, metaphors, wordplay, syllables?”
But when you have two rappers like Biggie and Tupac getting into it, you get the hip hop community torn. No one wants to see something real happen. If for a second you entertain the idea of that being entertaining, if something ever happened out of that? No. That’s not healthy.
2. “In Da Club” by 50 Cent (2003)
We couldn’t decide on the first single from Get Rich. It was going to be either “If I Can’t” or “In Da Club.” We were torn, so me, 50, Paul, Chris Lighty, and Jimmy Iovine decided to flip a coin.
3. “FACK” by Eminem (2005)
It was a goofy fucking song. I was taking a lot of fucking pills at the time. Ambien will make you do crazy shit. Imagine if you took it all day long.
4. Hollow Da Don Vs. Tsu Surf (2013)
Lyrics: I said fuck Smurf, I know who y’all want to see me against / And mos think I can’t match his wits, he had a wish / And it was death like Charles Bronson action flicks
Battle rap is healthy for hip hop. The entire battle scene, the way that it’s thriving right now and how big it’s becoming and everything—it’s great. There’s something to be said about two guys, facing each other and squaring off. But if you take any of those raps and put them on a record, that turns into fighting, for some reason.
If I’m battling somebody, I go into the battle knowing that. This person’s gonna say foul shit about me. But when somebody calls somebody out on a record, it’s different. In a battle, people expect it.
5. “Rap God” by Eminem (2013)
Lyrics: Ungh, school flunky, pill junkie / But look at the accolades, these skills brung me
I don’t ever want to be too braggadocious. If I’m going to brag, let me pull it back with lines like “school flunky, pill junkie.” I’m a fucking waste of life. I’m a waste of sperm. I am a fucking outcast of society, I am a piece of shit. But I know how to rap. Other than that, I’m a fucking scumbag. I’m worthless. Or this is what I’ve been told.
6. “Rap God” by Eminem (2013)
Lyrics: I’m beginnin’ to feel like a Rap God, Rap God
The hook was the first phrase I thought of when I heard the track. I thought “Okay, this has something to it and might be catchy but — I’m a “rap god”? Why? If I’m going to say that, I need to validate that.”
I don’t want to say it’s the crutch, exactly, but the theme of the whole song is: this is the only thing I know how to do. I don’t know how to do anything else, aside from play a little bit of basketball. Except if the Lions called me. I’m down to be receiver or something, or a running back. I’d be good for that.
7. “My Name Is” by Eminem (1999)
Lyrics: Hi, my name is, what? My name is, who? My name is, chka-chka Slim Shady
Dre put on the Labi Siffre record, and I was just like “Hi! My name is!” That beat was talking to me. I was like, “Yo, this is it, this is my shot. If I don’t impress this guy, I’m going back home and I’m fucked.” I knew Dre wasn’t an easy person to please. I made sure that everything he had a beat for, I had a rhyme ready to go, or I came up with a rhyme on the spot.
“My Name Is” was the first thing that came out of my mouth that first day I was at Dre’s house. I don’t know if we released what I did the first day or if I re-did it, but it was basically the same. I didn’t understand punching, or believe in it. So I would just go from the top of the song all the way down. I was never flying in hooks. Everything was live, one take. If I got all the way to the fucking end, and messed up the last word, I’d be like “Run it back, let’s do it again.” I remember Dre was like “Yo, are you fucking crazy? Let’s just punch.” I didn’t like that concept because I wasn’t used to it. When we were recording here in Detroit, in the beginning, I was saving up my money to go in. We only had an hour, you know? I’m like “One take down, alright, let’s go to the next song. Fuck it.” That’s what I was used to.
8. “Just Don’t Give A Fuck” by Eminem (1998)
Lyrics: So put my tape back on the rack / Go run and tell your friends my shit is wack
When we put Infinite out, it was local. We pressed up under a thousand, initially. We expected we’d be able to get something with it, though. When that didn’t happen, it was really deflating. People were saying that I sounded like AZ and Nas. I was upset. Not to say that I didn’t love AZ and Nas, but for a rapper to be compared to someone, for people to say that you sound like someone else — nobody wants that. I had to go back to the drawing board. So I remember getting mad. I was like, “I’m gonna rap like I don’t care anymore. Fuck it.” I started to write angry songs like “Just Don’t Give a Fuck.”
[Photo: Getty Images]