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 November 2001
Genre 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 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.

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 diss my own mama just to get recognition", before alleging her of abuse of medicinal drugs and causing him Münchausen syndrome by proxy. He also mentions the demo that his mother put out for him called Set The Record Straight.

Critical reception[edit]

Allmusic highlighted this song.[1] David Browne was lukewarm: "The unhealed scars of his childhood are pored over in Cleaning 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."[2] J-23 was positive: "Cleaning 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."[3] NME also praised the single: "Cleaning Out My Closet', a stunning outpouring of grief-stricken anger against his mother."[4] 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."[5] 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."[6]

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 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.

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 her own lyrics, in which she graphically recounts her experience with childhood sexual abuse.[7]

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download[8]
  1. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" - 4:57
  2. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" (Instrumental) - 4:57
  3. "Stimulate" - 5:06
  • UK CD single[9]
  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[11]
  1. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" - 4:57
  2. "Stimulate" - 5:06
  • German CD single[9]
  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[12]
  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. ^ The Eminem Show - Eminem | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic
  2. ^ "Music Review: The Eminem Show, by Eminem". Entertainment Weekly. 2002-06-07. 
  3. ^ Eminem - The Eminem Show (Advanced Copy) | Read Hip Hop Reviews, Rap Reviews & Hip Hop Album Reviews | HipHop DX
  4. ^ NME Album Reviews - Eminem : The Eminem Show - NME.COM
  5. ^ Feature for May 28, 2002 - Eminem's "The Eminem Show"
  6. ^ The Eminem Show | Album Reviews | Rolling Stone
  7. ^ "Angel Haze's 'Cleaning Out My Closet' Recounts Sexual Abuse & Eventual Triumph". 2012-10-23. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  8. ^ "iTunes - Music - Cleanin' Out My Closet - EP by Eminem". 2002-10-15. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  9. ^ a b "Cleaning Out My Closet 1: Music". Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  10. ^ "Cleaning Out My Closet [DVD]: Eminem: Music". Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  11. ^ "Cleaning Out My Closet (US Import): Music". Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  12. ^ Maxi #1 International Version on Music Unlimited
  13. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  14. ^ "Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet –" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  15. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  16. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  17. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". Tracklisten.
  18. ^ "Europe Official Top 100". Top 40 Charts. 2002-10-19. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  19. ^ "Eminem: Cleanin' Out My Closet" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  20. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet" (in French). Les classement single.
  21. ^ "Eminem - Cleanin' Out My Closet". Media Control.
  22. ^ "Archívum - Slágerlisták - MAHASZ - Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége" (in German). Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  23. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet" (in Dutch). Mega Single Top 100.
  24. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". Top 40 Singles.
  25. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". VG-lista.
  26. ^ "Arhiva romanian top 100". Archived from the original on 2002. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  27. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". Singles Top 60.
  28. ^ "Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet –". Swiss Singles Chart.
  29. ^ a b "Cleanin' Out My Closet - Eminem". Retrieved October 26, 2011. 
  30. ^ a b Cleanin' Out My Closet at AllMusic. Retrieved October 2011.
  31. ^ "2002 Australian Singles Chart". aria. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  32. ^ "2002 Austrian Singles Chart" (in German). Austriancharts. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  33. ^ "2002 Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  34. ^ "2002 Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart" (in French). Ultratop. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  35. ^ "Wanadoo Top 40" [2002 Dutch End-Year] (in Dutch). 
  36. ^ "2002 Swiss Singles Chart" (in German). Swisscharts. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  37. ^ "2002 UK Singles Chart". ChartsPlus. Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  38. ^ Australian certifications (Retrieved January 4, 2009)
  39. ^ Belgian certifications (Retrieved January 4, 2009)
  40. ^ New Zealand certification"Chart #1335: Cleanin' Out My Closet Gold certification". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. November 17, 2002. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  41. ^ Swedish certifications "". Archived from the original on 2012-05-27.  (Retrieved January 4, 2009)

External links[edit]