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Official: The Best Eminem Album Ever, Track By Track

My idiot friend said Encore was the best Eminem album of all-time, if you go through track-by-track. I was pedantic enough to do exactly that and find out the truth.

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Official: The Best Eminem Album Ever, Track By Track

True Eminem fans love The Marshall Mathers LP. The hipster-y ones like Slim Shady LP. Mainstream music lovers go for The Eminem Show.

No-one goes for Encore. Except my idiot friend - who, for the purposes of this piece, shall be referred to as Jay. Because that's his name.

But he is adamant that, if you compare Eminem's four best albums side-by-side, track-by-track, it comes out on top - claiming to have conducted a similar experiment on a long-distance car journey.

Here, determined to shut him up, I do exactly as he suggests.

TRACK ONE

Slim Shady LP: Public Service Announcement (skit)

Marshall Mathers LP: Public Service Announcement (skit)

Eminem Show: Curtains Up (skit)

Encore: Curtains Up (skit)

VERDICT: Slim Shady LP

A bit of a non-event, this one, but the two earlier albums are definitely funnier - with the first winning by virtue of a) being funnier and b) being more original.

TRACK TWO

Slim Shady LP: My Name Is

Marshall Mathers LP: Kill You

Eminem Show: White America

Encore: Evil Deeds

VERDICT: Slim Shady LP

An almighty battle to get us going, with every song worthy of contending for a Greatest Hits compilation, but the original Eminem banger gets the nod here.

EXAMPLE LYRIC:

"My brain's dead weight, I'm trying to get my head straight.

But I can't figure out which Spice Girl I want to impregnate."

TRACK THREE

Slim Shady LP: Guilty Conscience

Marshall Mathers LP: Stan

Eminem Show: Business

Encore: Never Enough

VERDICT: Marshall Mathers LP

I can't believe Guilty Conscience hasn't won, but it's been pitched up against Stan and, incredibly, there's no discussion to be had there.

EXAMPLE LYRIC:

"Dear Mister I'm-Too-Good-To-Call-Or-Write-My-Fans,

this'll be the last package I ever send your ass.

It's been six months and still no word - I don't deserve it?

I know you got my last two letters; I wrote the addresses on 'em perfect."

TRACK FOUR

Slim Shady LP: Brain Damage

Marshall Mathers LP: Paul (skit)

Eminem Show: Cleanin' Out My Closet

Encore: Yellow Brick Road

VERDICT: Eminem Show

This one's relatively straight-forward, coming down to a straight battle between Brain Damage and Cleanin' Out My Closet. The latter just about edges it.

EXAMPLE LYRIC:

"Have you ever been hated or discriminated against?

I have. I've been protested and demonstrated against.

Picket signs for my wicked rhymes, look at the times.

Sick as the mind of the motherfucking kid that's behind

all this commotion emotions run deep as ocean's exploding,

tempers flaring from parents just blow 'em off and keep going."

TRACK FIVE

Slim Shady LP: Paul (skit)

Marshall Mathers LP: Who Knew

Eminem Show: Square Dance

Encore: Like Toy Soldiers

VERDICT: Eminem Show

Originally, I gave this to Like Toy Soldiers, but then resented picking a song about 'being on the front line' of a rap battle. So, instead, opted for the track focussed on real warfare, Square Dance

EXAMPLE LYRIC:

"To join the army or what you'll do for there Navy.

You just a baby, gettin' recruited at eighteen,

You're on a plane now, eating their food and their baked beans.

I'm 28, they gonna take you 'fore they take me.

Crazy insane or insane crazy?

When I say Hussein you say Shady,

My views ain't changed still Inhumane,

Wait. Arraigned two days late,

The date's today, hang me!"

TRACK SIX

Slim Shady LP: If I Had

Marshall Mathers LP: Steve Berman (skit)

Eminem Show: The Kiss (skit)

Encore: Mosh

VERDICT: Slim Shady LP

I don't like Mosh, so this was a bit of a gimme for If I Had in the end, but this definitely feels like one of the weaker match-ups.

EXAMPLE LYRIC:

"I'm tired of being white trash, broke and always poor.

Tired of taking pop bottles back to the party store.

I'm tired of not having a phone.

Tired of not having a home to have one in if I did have it on."

TRACK SEVEN

Slim Shady LP: '97 Bonnie & Clyde

Marshall Mathers LP: The Way I Am

Eminem Show: Soldier

Encore: Puke

VERDICT: Slim Shady LP

Tough. But the touching-cum-murderous ballad of Em's earliest album is my pick here - edging out stiff competition from Puke, in the battle of two anti-Kim tracks.

EXAMPLE LYRIC:

"And don't look so upset, why you acting bashful?

Don't you wanna help Dadda build a sandcastle?

And Mamma said she wants to show how far she can float.

And don't worry about that little boo-boo on her throat;

it's just a little scratch – it don't hurt.

Her was eating dinner while you were sleeping and spilled ketchup on her shirt."

TRACK EIGHT

Slim Shady LP: Bitch (skit)

Marshall Mathers LP: The Real Slim Shady

Eminem Show: Say Goodbye Hollywood

Encore: My 1st Single

VERDICT: Marshall Mathers LP

I know, how predictable - but there's really very little competition for The Real Slim Shady here. In fairness, it would've taken one of Eminem's greatest songs to beat this.

EXAMPLE LYRIC:

"I'm like a head trip to listen to, cause I'm only giving you

things you joke about with your friends inside your living room.

The only difference is I got the balls to say it

in front of y'all, and I don't gotta be false or sugarcoated at all.

I just get on the mic and spit it

and whether you like to admit it, I just shit it."

TRACK NINE

Slim Shady LP: Role Model

Marshall Mathers LP: Remember Me?

Eminem Show: Drips

Encore: Paul (skit)

VERDICT: Eminem Show

No classics here but in Drips a star was born, as Obie Trice emerged.

EXAMPLE LYRIC:

"Jesus, I don't believe this,

bitch works at the cleaners,

bringin' me home diseases,

swinging from Obie's penis.

She's so deceivin', shit this hoe's a genius."

TRACK TEN

Slim Shady LP: Lounge (skit)

Marshall Mathers LP: I'm Back

Eminem Show: Without Me

Encore: Rain Man

VERDICT: Eminem Show

In Jay's defence, Rain Man is classic Eminem - but is out nut-jobbed by Without Me. Bonus points for the lycra in the video, too.

EXAMPLE LYRIC:

"So the FCC won't let me be or let me be me so let me see,

they tried to shut me down on MTV but it feels so empty without me.

So come on dip, bum on your lips fuck that,

cum on your lips and some on your tits and get ready

cos this shit's about to get heavy

I just settled all my lawsuits; fuck you Debbie!"

TRACK ELEVEN

Slim Shady LP: My Fault

Marshall Mathers LP: Marshall Mathers

Eminem Show: Paul Rosenberg (skit)

Encore: Big Weenie

VERDICT: Encore

Jay's pick finally shows up, more than half an album in, with Big Weenie which is, for me, Eminem at his best. Just look at the below.

EXAMPLE LYRIC:

"I can bust one take without looking at no paper

It doesn't take a bunch of takes or me to stand here in this booth all day

For me to say the truth, ok?

You're drooling, you have tooth decay.

Your mouth is open, you're disgusting;

what the fuck you eat for lunch?

A bunch of sweets or something, what?

You munch a bunch of Crunch 'N Munch?"

TRACK TWELVE

Slim Shady LP: Ken Kaniff (skit)

Marshall Mathers LP: Ken Kaniff (skit)

Eminem Show: Sing For The Moment

Encore: Em Calls Paul (skit)

VERDICT: Eminem Show

Ridiculous. Totally by default. It's a shit song, too.

EXAMPLE LYRIC:

"They say music can alter moods and talk to you.

Well, can it load a gun up for you and cock it, too?

Well, if it can, then the next time you assault a dude.

Just tell the judge it was my fault, and I'll get sued."

TRACK THIRTEEN

Slim Shady LP: Cum On Everybody

Marshall Mathers LP: Drug Ballad

Eminem Show: Superman

Encore: Just Lose It

VERDICT: Encore

This is really annoying, because I love Superman, and it'd get on my greatest hits collection for Eminem - but there's no messing with Just Lose It.

EXAMPLE LYRIC:

"Come here little kiddies, on my lap.

Guess who's back with a brand new rap?

And I don't mean rap as in a new case of child molestation accusation.

No worries, papa's got a brand new bag of toys.

What else could I possibly do to make noise?

I done touched on everything, but little boys."

TRACK FOURTEEN

Slim Shady LP: Rock Bottom

Marshall Mathers LP: Amityville

Eminem Show: Hailie's Song

Encore: Ass Like That

VERDICT: Encore

A bit of a free hit, this, for Jay's album - Ass Like That is good Eminem, but it's not great Eminem.

EXAMPLE LYRIC:

"Mr. Officer, I demand to see my attorney.

I will simply plead innocent, cop a plea and be free.

Free, yes, free, right back on the streets.

What you mean my lawyer's with Michael, he's too busy?

I am Triumph, Britney Spears has shoulders like a man.

And I can say that and you'll laugh cuz that is a puppet on my hand."

TRACK FIFTEEN

Slim Shady LP: Just DGAF

Marshall Mathers LP: Bitch Please II

Eminem Show: Steve Berman (skit)

Encore: Spend Some Time

VERDICT: Encore

Christ, Jay's on a roll here. I can't bear to look at him - that's three in a row for Encore.

EXAMPLE LYRIC:

"You used to say all you wanted was for me to be yours.

All I ever wanted from you was a few booty calls.

If you recall I used to treat you as a groupie broad;

when we fucked I refused to even take my jewellery off."

TRACK SIXTEEN

Slim Shady LP: Soap (skit)

Marshall Mathers LP: Kim

Eminem Show: When The Music Stops

Encore: Mockingbird

VERDICT: Encore

Encore goes level with Eminem Show on five tracks apiece. FML.

EXAMPLE LYRIC:

"I remember back one year when daddy had no money,

Mommy wrapped the Christmas presents up and stuck 'em under the tree

and said some of 'em were from me

cos daddy couldn't buy 'em.

I'll never forget that Christmas, I sat up the whole night crying."

TRACK SEVENTEEN

Slim Shady LP: As The World Turns

Marshall Mathers LP: Under The Influence

Eminem Show: Say What You Say

Encore: Crazy In Love

VERDICT: Encore

Shut up. I don't want to talk about it. I can picture his smug smile from here.

EXAMPLE LYRIC:

"You're the ink to my paper, where my pen is to my pad.

The moral, the very fibre, the whole substance to my rap.

You are my reason for being, the meaning of my existence.

If it wasn't for you, I would never be able to spit this."

TRACK EIGHTEEN

Slim Shady LP: I'm Shady

Marshall Mathers LP: Criminal

Eminem Show: 'Till I Collapse

Encore: One Shot 2 Shot

VERDICT: Marshall Mathers LP

Thank God, an album other than Encore steps up. This was a close call between two average Eminem songs in Criminal versus 'Till I Collapse, with the latter boasting a better beat, but the former winning in lyrical content. Which is kinda Eminem's thing.

EXAMPLE LYRIC:

"My mother did drugs - hard-liquor, cigarettes, and speed.

The baby came out, disfigured, ligaments indeed.

It was a seed who would grow up just as crazy as she.

Don't dare make fun of that baby, cos that baby was me."

TRACK NINETEEN

Slim Shady LP: Bad Meets Evil

Marshall Mathers LP: The Kids

Eminem Show: My Dad's Gone Crazy

Encore: Final Thought (skit)

VERDICT: Marshall Mathers LP

A really easy win for The Kids. Thanks, in main, to the South Park characters rocking up.

EXAMPLE LYRIC:

"My penis is the size of a peanut, have you seen it?

Fuck no, you ain't seen it, it's the size of a peanut."

TRACK TWENTY

Slim Shady LP: Still DGAF

Marshall Mathers LP: N/A

Eminem Show: Curtain's Close (skit)

Encore: Encore / Curtains Down

VERDICT: Encore

And that's the victory for Jay. After an incredible back-end of the album, Encore is officially (ish), Eminem's finest album. You could say none of his other LP's had an Ass Like That. Sorry.

EXAMPLE LYRIC:

"You're off the map now, radar can't even find you.

We stay on the grind, you slip, we out-grind you.

You walk around mad, you let your anger blind you.

We walk around just playin' the violin behind you."

FINAL RESULTS:

Slim Shady LP: 4

Marshall Mathers LP: 4

Eminem Show: 5

Encore: 7

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