Cleanin' Out My Closet

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"Cleanin' Out My Closet"
Eminem - Cleanin' Out My Closet CD cover.jpg
Single by Eminem
from the album The Eminem Show
ReleasedJuly 16, 2002
  • Eminem
  • Jeff Bass
Eminem singles chronology
"Without Me"
"Cleanin' Out My Closet"
"Lose Yourself"
Music video
"Cleanin' Out My Closet" on YouTube

"Cleanin' Out My Closet" is a song by American rapper Eminem from his album The Eminem Show (2002). "Cleanin' Out My Closet" was the second single released off the album following "Without Me". Unlike the preceding single which was as his humorous Slim Shady persona, "Cleanin' Out My Closet" was a serious song inspired by the events of Eminem's childhood and relationships. It depicts Eminem venting his anger towards his mother, Debbie Mathers, for the way she raised him. In the chorus, Eminem sarcastically apologizes to his mother for hurting her and making her cry, but takes it back by showing the world what his mother, according to him, was like.

It became the second Top 10 single from the album, reaching number four on the United States Billboard Hot 100 chart, and one of the highest-charting singles of his career. The song did not reach number one on any foreign charts, but was certified Platinum in Australia. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" was also used in the initial theatrical trailer to Eminem's film 8 Mile, released in November 2002. With the release of The Marshall Mathers LP 2 in 2013, Eminem apologized to his mother on the track "Headlights". He stated that he cringes when he hears "Cleanin' Out My Closet" on the radio, and that he does not play the song in his concerts anymore.[1]

Lyrical content[edit]

  • In the introduction, Eminem says, "Where's my snare? I have no snare in my headphones." Using his verified Genius account, he explained that this was a true story: "the engineer had it muted for some reason."[2]
  • 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 in hopes of repairing their estranged relationship called "Set the Record Straight" and claimed she made it to try to justify the way she treated him. 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.[3] 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."[4] J-23 was positive: "Cleanin' Out My Closet" features the album's 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."[5] NME also praised the single: "Cleanin' Out My Closet", a stunning outpouring of grief-stricken anger against his mother."[6] 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."[7] Rolling Stone praised the song's 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."[8]

Remixes and 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 and 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 her own lyrics, in which she graphically recounts her experience with childhood sexual abuse.[9]

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download[10]
  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[13]
  1. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" - 4:57
  2. "Stimulate" - 5:06
  • German CD single[11]
  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[14]
  1. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" (Album Version (Explicit)) - 4:57
  2. "Stimulate" (Non Album Version) - 5:03
  3. "Cleanin' Out My Closet" (Instrumental) - 4:57

Charts and sales[edit]


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  2. ^ "Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  3. ^ "The Eminem Show - Eminem - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  4. ^ Browne, David (June 7, 2002). "Music Review: The Eminem Show, by Eminem". Entertainment Weekly. New York City: Meredith Corporation.
  5. ^ J-23. "Eminem - The Eminem Show (Advanced Copy)". Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Eminem : The Eminem Show". NME. London, England: Time Inc. UK. 12 September 2005. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  7. ^ " Feature for May 28, 2002 - Eminem's "The Eminem Show"". Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  8. ^ Ex, Kris (June 6, 2002). "The Eminem Show". Rolling Stone. New York City: Wenner Media LLC. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  9. ^ Makarechi, Kia (October 23, 2012). "Angel Haze's 'Cleaning Out My Closet' Recounts Sexual Abuse & Eventual Triumph". Huffington Post. New York City: Huffington Post Media Group. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  10. ^ "iTunes - Music - Cleanin' Out My Closet - EP by Eminem". 2002-10-15. Retrieved 2013-06-16.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ a b "Cleaning Out My Closet 1: Music". Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  12. ^ "Cleaning Out My Closet [DVD]: Eminem: Music". Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  13. ^ "Cleaning Out My Closet (US Import): Music". Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  14. ^ Maxi #1 International Version on Music Unlimited[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  16. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  17. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  18. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  19. ^ "Brazil" (PDF). ABPD. October 6, 2001. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  20. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". Tracklisten.
  21. ^ "Europe Official Top 100". Top 40 Charts. 2002-10-19. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
  22. ^ "Eminem: Cleanin' Out My Closet" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  23. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet" (in French). Les classement single.
  24. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  25. ^ "Archívum - Slágerlisták - MAHASZ - Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége" (in German). Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  26. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". Top Digital Download.
  27. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  28. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". Top 40 Singles.
  29. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". VG-lista.
  30. ^ "Arhiva romanian top 100". Archived from the original on 2002. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
  31. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved 2017-05-06.
  32. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". Singles Top 100.
  33. ^ " – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". Swiss Singles Chart.
  34. ^ a b "Cleanin' Out My Closet - Eminem". Retrieved October 26, 2011.
  35. ^ a b Cleanin' Out My Closet at AllMusic. Retrieved October 2011.
  36. ^ "2002 Australian Singles Chart". aria. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  37. ^ "2002 Austrian Singles Chart" (in German). Austriancharts. Archived from the original on 12 March 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  38. ^ "2002 Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  39. ^ "2002 Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart" (in French). Ultratop. Archived from the original on 17 April 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  40. ^ "Wanadoo Top 40" [2002 Dutch End-Year] (PDF) (in Dutch).
  41. ^ "2002 Swiss Singles Chart" (in German). Swisscharts. Archived from the original on 13 January 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  42. ^ "2002 UK Singles Chart" (PDF). ChartsPlus. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  43. ^ "Top 100 Songs of 2002 - Billboard Year End Charts". Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  44. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2018 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. February 3, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  45. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – singles 2002". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  46. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  47. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat" (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Retrieved January 5, 2018. Type Eminem in the top right search bar. Click on "Sok" and select Cleanin' Out My Closet and see certification.
  48. ^ "American single certifications – Eminem – Cleanin' Out My Closet". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 28, 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]