Cleanin' Out My Closet

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"Cleanin' Out My Closet"
Single by Eminem
from the album The Eminem Show
Released September 17, 2002
Format CD single, Digital download
Recorded 2001
Genre Hardcore hip hop, rap rock
Length 4:57
Label Shady, Aftermath, Interscope
Writer(s) M. Mathers, J. Bass
Producer(s) Eminem, Jeff Bass
Certification Platinum (ARIA)
Platinum (RIANZ)
Eminem singles chronology
"Without Me"
"Cleanin' Out My Closet"
"Lose Yourself"
Curtain Call: The Hits track listing
"Guilty Conscience"
"Cleanin' Out My Closet"
"Just Lose It"

"Cleanin' Out My Closet" is a song by American rapper Eminem released in 2002. It was from his fourth studio album, The Eminem Show and was later featured in his 2005 greatest hits album Curtain Call: The Hits. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" was the second single released off the album following "Without Me". However, unlike the preceding single which was as his humorous Slim Shady persona, "Cleanin' Out My Closet" was a serious yet sarcastic song based on his childhood and relationships. It also depicts Eminem venting his anger towards his mother, Debbie Mathers, for raising him horribly. In the hook, Eminem sarcastically apologizes to his mother for hurting her and making her cry but takes it back by letting the whole world know what a bad mother she was. It became the second top-ten single from the album, reaching #4 on the United States Billboard Hot 100 chart, and one of the highest-charting singles of his career. The song did not reach #1 on any foreign charts, but was certified Platinum in Australia.

It was also used in the initial theatrical trailer to Eminem's film, 8 Mile released in November of that year.

With the release of The Marshall Mathers LP 2 in 2013, Eminem apologized to his mother on the track "Headlights". He stated (among other things such as wrongfully mocking her drug problem, regretting that he never let his daughters meet their grandmother) that he cringes when he hears "Cleanin' Out My Closet" on the radio, and that he does not play the song in-concert any more.[1]

Lyrical content[edit]

  • In the first verse, Eminem deals with the criticism and activism against his lyrics, and how these people do not understand his background and personality.
  • The second verse then moves on to how his father abandoned him and his mother when Eminem was an infant, and then goes on to say how he would not do the same to his own daughter. The verse ends with a reference to Eminem's arrest for an alleged pistol whip on a bouncer who kissed his wife, a theme prevalent throughout the album.
  • At the start of the third verse, Eminem states that his comments regarding his mother are not made for the sake of public attention "now I would never dis my own mama just to get recognition", before alleging her for abuse of medicinal drugs and Münchausen syndrome by proxy as stated in the line, "Victim of Münchausen's syndrome. My whole life I was made to believe I was sick when I wasn't." He also mentions the demo that his mother put out for him called "Set the Record Straight". He then goes on to insult his mother by telling her he will not take his daughter(s) to her funeral and is enraged that she will not admit she was a bad mother and calls her out for suing him and says: "But how dare you try and take what you didn't help me to get / You selfish bitch, I hope you fucking burn in hell for this shit!" Finally, he mentions that at his uncle Ronnie's funeral, his mother told him he should have died instead, giving way to the final lyric: "Well, guess what? I am dead / Dead to you as can be!"

Critical reception[edit]

Allmusic highlighted this song.[2] David Browne was lukewarm: "The unhealed scars of his childhood are pored over in Cleanin' Out My Closet: In the chorus, he apologizes for making his mama cry, but in the verses, he lashes out at her (you selfish bitch) and vows to be a better dad than his own absentee father (I wonder if he even kissed me goodbye). The song is both fragile and furious, and the syncopated music-box arrangement matches it in tension."[3] J-23 was positive: "Cleanin' Out My Closet" features the albums most personal rhymes as he lets us know just how he feels about his parents. His third verse, dealing with his mother, is truly something to behold."[4] NME also praised the single: "Cleanin' Out My Closet", a stunning outpouring of grief-stricken anger against his mother."[5] RapReviews agreed: "The jokes don't last very long though, because Eminem's next song "Cleanin' Out My Closet" is a direct attack on his mother for not really being one."[6] Rolling Stone praised production: "Cleanin' Out My Closet" feature electric-guitar rhythms fraternizing with hip-hop-sensible drum patterns" and he noted that his (Eminem's) relationship with his estranged mother creates "Cleanin' Out My Closet," possibly the record's most powerful moment."[7]

Remixes & Mashups[edit]

Two remixes of the song feature as European bonus tracks on the Straight from the Lab mixtape later released as a compilation: a Drum and bass remix (which was produced by DJ Green Lantern) and a "Religious remix" entitled "(God is) Cleanin' Out My Closet".

In the mashup video "Atomic Closet" (a fusion of Eminem's original "Cleaning Out My Closet" and Blondie's "Atomic"), Blondie's hit was heavily sampled as the background song, with Eminem rapping throughout. The video was directed by Dr. Dre and Philip Atwell.

The B side "Stimulate" appears on the deluxe edition bonus disc of the soundtrack Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture 8 Mile, and also appears on Straight from the Lab.

The song was mashed up with "Hotel California" by The Eagles, which appears on DJ Vlad & Roc Raida's mashup mixtape, Rock Phenomenon.

Jon Connor's 2012 mixtape The People's Rapper LP included a remix of the song, as well as other Eminem remixes.

Cover versions[edit]

In October 2012, New York City hip hop artist Angel Haze released a reworked version of Cleanin' Out My Closet using their own lyrics, in which they graphically recount their experience with childhood sexual abuse.[8]

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download[9]
  1. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" - 4:57
  2. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" (Instrumental) - 4:57
  3. "Stimulate" - 5:06
  1. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" - 4:57
  2. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" (Instrumental) - 4:57
  3. "Stimulate" - 5:06
  4. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" (Video) - 4:57
  • UK Cassette
  1. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" - 4:57
  2. "Stimulate" - 5:06
  1. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" (Video - Version 2) - 4:57
  2. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" (Making of the Video) - 3:00
  • German CD single[12]
  1. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" - 4:57
  2. "Stimulate" - 5:06
  • German CD single[10]
  1. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" - 4:57
  2. "Stimulate" - 5:06
  3. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" (Instrumental) - 4:57
  4. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" (Video - Version 1) - 4:57
  • Maxi #1 International Version[13]
  1. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" (Album Version (Explicit)) - 5:01
  2. "Stimulate" (Non Album Version) - 5:03
  3. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" (Instrumental) - 5:44

Charts and sales[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ The Eminem Show - Eminem | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic
  3. ^ "Music Review: The Eminem Show, by Eminem". Entertainment Weekly. 2002-06-07. 
  4. ^ Eminem - The Eminem Show (Advanced Copy) | Read Hip Hop Reviews, Rap Reviews & Hip Hop Album Reviews | HipHop DX
  5. ^ NME Album Reviews - Eminem : The Eminem Show - NME.COM
  6. ^ Feature for May 28, 2002 - Eminem's "The Eminem Show"
  7. ^ The Eminem Show | Album Reviews | Rolling Stone
  8. ^ Makarechi, Kia (2012-10-23). "Angel Haze's 'Cleaning Out My Closet' Recounts Sexual Abuse & Eventual Triumph". Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  9. ^ "iTunes - Music - Cleanin' Out My Closet - EP by Eminem". 2002-10-15. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  10. ^ a b "Cleaning Out My Closet 1: Music". Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  11. ^ "Cleaning Out My Closet [DVD]: Eminem: Music". Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  12. ^ "Cleaning Out My Closet (US Import): Music". Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  13. ^ Maxi #1 International Version on Music Unlimited
  14. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  15. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  16. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  17. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  18. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". Tracklisten.
  19. ^ "Europe Official Top 100". Top 40 Charts. 2002-10-19. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  20. ^ "Eminem: Cleanin' Out My Closet" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  21. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet" (in French). Les classement single.
  22. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". GfK Entertainment.
  23. ^ "Archívum - Slágerlisták - MAHASZ - Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége" (in German). Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  24. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  25. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". Top 40 Singles.
  26. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". VG-lista.
  27. ^ "Arhiva romanian top 100". Archived from the original on 2002. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  28. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". Singles Top 60.
  29. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". Swiss Singles Chart.
  30. ^ a b "Cleanin' Out My Closet - Eminem". Retrieved October 26, 2011. 
  31. ^ a b Cleanin' Out My Closet at AllMusic. Retrieved October 2011.
  32. ^ "2002 Australian Singles Chart". aria. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  33. ^ "2002 Austrian Singles Chart" (in German). Austriancharts. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  34. ^ "2002 Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  35. ^ "2002 Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart" (in French). Ultratop. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  36. ^ "Wanadoo Top 40" [2002 Dutch End-Year] (PDF) (in Dutch). 
  37. ^ "2002 Swiss Singles Chart" (in German). Swisscharts. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  38. ^ "2002 UK Singles Chart" (PDF). ChartsPlus. Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  39. ^ Australian certifications (Retrieved January 4, 2009)
  40. ^ Belgian certifications (Retrieved January 4, 2009)
  41. ^ New Zealand certification"Chart #1335: Cleanin' Out My Closet Gold certification". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. November 17, 2002. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  42. ^ Swedish certifications "".  (Retrieved January 4, 2009)

External links[edit]