The Eminem Show

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The Eminem Show
The Eminem Show.jpg
Studio album by Eminem
Released May 21, 2002
Recorded 2001 – 2002
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
(Encore Studios)
(Marshall Mathers's House)
(54 Sound Studio)
Genre Hip hop
Length 77:30
Eminem chronology
The Marshall Mathers LP
The Eminem Show
Singles from The Eminem Show
  1. "Without Me"
    Released: May 14, 2002
  2. "Cleanin' Out My Closet"
    Released: September 17, 2002
  3. "Superman"
    Released: January 27, 2003
  4. "Sing for the Moment"
    Released: February 25, 2003
  5. "Business"
    Released: July 22, 2003

The Eminem Show is the fourth studio album by American rapper Eminem, released on May 21, 2002 by Aftermath Records, Shady Records, and Interscope Records. The Eminem Show includes the commercially sucessful singles "Without Me", Cleanin' Out My Closet", Superman", and "Sing for the Moment".

The Eminem Show reached number one in 19 countries, including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, and was the best-selling album of 2002 in the United States, with 7.6 million copies sold.[1] Since its release in 2002 the album has sold 11,500,000 copies in the United States.

At the 2003 Grammy Awards it was nominated for Album of the Year and became Eminem's third record in four years to win the award for Best Rap Album. On March 7, 2011, the album was certified ten-times-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America,[2] making it Eminem's second album to receive a Diamond certification in the United States.


The Eminem Show was scheduled for release on June 4, 2002; however, pirated and bootleg copies appeared online on peer-to-peer networks and began surfacing on the streets. It was provided by Rabid Neurosis (RNS), an MP3 warez release organization who pirated the album 25 days prior to release.[3] Radio show Opie and Anthony broadcast the entire album on May 17, 2002.[4] Interscope decided to release the album early, on May 28, to combat bootlegging. However, many stores in the U.S. began selling it early on Sunday, May 26, and some put the album out as early as Friday.[5] Promotional posters in stores read, "America Couldn't Wait". Due to the premature release by many retailers on a Sunday, the album had only one day of official sales for the chart week and was unavailable in Walmart stores during that period.[5][6] Despite the confusion over the exact release date, the album still managed to have a very successful debut on the charts. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 with sales of 284,000 copies.[5] This marked the first time an album had topped the charts with such an abbreviated sales week.[6] The album sold 1,322,000 copies in its first full week of sales.[7][8] It sold 809,000 copies in its third week and 529,562 copies in its fourth week, to bring its four-week sales total to just under three million copies.[9][10] The album sold 381,000 copies in its fifth week and topped the Billboard 200 for the fifth consecutive week.[11] The first 2 million copies of the album shipped in the U.S. included a bonus DVD with an exclusive interview and live footage.[6] The Eminem Show was Eminem's first album to include lyrics to all songs inside the CD booklet.[12] It was Eminem's most successful album in terms of charting singles. It spawned two top-ten and four top fifteen singles with "Without Me", "Cleanin' Out My Closet", "Sing for the Moment" and "Superman", which managed to reach the top fifteen without a widely available video counterpart (the video was mostly available on the 8 Mile DVD, rarely being shown on music video channels). In addition, "My Dad's Gone Crazy", "Business", "Hailie's Song", and "White America" were selected airplay singles of the controversial album.


Production for the album took place between 2001 and 2002. Eminem had started recording the album around the same time he was filming 8 Mile. Production was used for both the soundtrack of the movie and his album. The album also saw Eminem take a substantially more predominant production role; most of it was self-produced, with longtime collaborator Jeff Bass co-producing several tracks (mainly the eventual singles), and playing a significant role in co-writing many of the tracks. Dr. Dre, in addition to being the album's executive producer, produced three individual tracks: "Business", "Say What You Say", and "My Dad's Gone Crazy". In an interview with The Face magazine in April 2002, Eminem said that he treated the album like it was a rock record, in terms of production, incorporating the use of guitars while still having elements of hip-hop. He said that he wanted to capture the '70s rock vibe, which he felt "had this incredible feel", for most of the record. He said that he "tried to get the best of both worlds" on the album.[13]

Censored version[edit]

The "clean version" of The Eminem Show censors many more profanities than in clean versions of his previous albums, in which the words "goddamn", "prick", "bastard", "piss", "bitch", "ass", and "shit" were allowed. This album allowed no profanities, and the profanities were either muted or back-masked.[citation needed] In addition to this, entire sentences were sometimes removed from the censored version for being very sexually charged. The entire song "Drips" was removed in early clean versions and is heard only as four seconds of silence moving on to the next track, "Without Me". Some copies of the clean version, however, will feature an edited version of "Drips."

There are some inconsistencies in clean versions' censorship. In the skit "The Kiss," Eminem's shouting of the word "motherfucker" is still audible in the censored version. In "Soldier," which is a continuation of "The Kiss," the word "bitch" was used three times, and can be clearly heard once. "Hallie's Song" censors "want her," possibly because it sounded too much like "abort her" when Eminem raps, "God, I'm a daddy, I'm so glad that her mom didn't want her" [14] on both the explicit and clean versions. Also, in "White America", the word "flag" is back masked when he raps, "To burn the flag and replace it with a parental advisory sticker". When a clean version of "Drips" was made, at the end of Obie Trice's verse, the word "fuck" is still heard from him.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 75/100
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[15]
Robert Christgau A−[16]
Entertainment Weekly B+[17]
HipHopDX 4.5/5 stars[18]
Kludge 8/10[19]
NME 9/10[20]
Pitchfork 9.1/10[21]
Vibe 4/5 stars[22]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[23]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[24]

Critical response to The Eminem Show was general acclaim. It was viewed by many critics and fans as a growth in Eminem as an artist. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 75, based on 20 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[25] Alex Needham from NME gave it a positive review, calling it a "fantastic third album" that "is bigger, bolder and far more consistent than its predecessors".[20] In his review at AllMusic, Stephen Erlewine said the album "proves Eminem is the gold standard in pop music in 2002, delivering stylish, catchy, dense, funny, political music that rarely panders".[15] With a rating of 4 out of 5 stars, Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani said The Eminem Show "reveals a little bit of the real Marshall Mathers" that "displays a—dare I say it?—more 'mature' Eminem." And he called "Without Me" "a pop-friendly ditty that displays enough of Eminem's talent for tight rhymes and well-timed controversy to validate his perpetual upward climb."[24]

David Browne at Entertainment Weekly concluded, "[l]ike its predecessors, though, The Eminem Show is a testament to the skills of its star. The sludgy rapping of such guests as D12 only confirms Eminem's dizzying prowess, gob-spewing individuality, and wickedly prankish humor." He gave it a grade of B+.[17] Robert Christgau gave the album an A- and said "I like it and I enjoy it; I think it represents an articulate, coherent, formally appropriate response to Eminem's changing position and role, one that acknowledges the privileges and alienations that accrue to all fame as well as the resolution of Marshall Mathers's worst traumas and the specifics of his success."[16] Uncut said "Behind the hype and the swagger, he's still baring enough of his soul for The Eminem Show to be compelling theatre. The reviewer at HipHopDX admired both the musical and lyrical aspects of the work, and gave a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars: "Em flows on beat so effortlessly and naturally you'd swear it was his everyday style. Overlooking his lyrics would be a crime though."[18] Kludge gave it a rating of 8 out of 10[26] and Rolling Stone gave it a 4-star rating.[23] It has been deemed a classic by XXL and Complex.[27]

The record became Eminem's third to win the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album and also swept the MTV Music Video Awards, winning four awards for Best Male Video, Video of the Year, Best Direction, and Best Rap Video. It won Album of the Year & R&B/Hip-Hop Album of the Year at the 2002 Billboard Music Awards.[28] It won Best International Album and International Album of the Year at the Brit Awards and the Juno Awards respectively in 2003.[29] It also won Best Album at the 2002 MTV Europe Music Awards.[30]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling approximately 284,000 units in its first week, which due to a premature release by retailers and street-date violations, counted only a day and a half of sales.[5] The album sold 1,322,000 copies the following week, where it registered a full week of sales.[7][8] The album topped the Billboard 200 for five consecutive weeks.[31][32] The album also spent five consecutive weeks at the top of the UK Albums Chart.[33] It has gone on to sell over ten million copies.[34] On March 7, 2011, the album was certified ten-times-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America,[2] making it Eminem's second album to receive a Diamond certification in the United States.

Accolades and legacy[edit]

In 2009, the album was ranked #317 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and was later ranked at #84 on the same magazine's best albums of the 2000s decade. The album received critical praise by most music critics and is often debated as Eminem's most personal and best work. Eminem said during an interview with MTV that was recorded on May 25, 2002, that he felt that The Eminem Show was his "best record so far".[35] The Eminem Show was Eminem's first album to be mainly self-produced.This album has been notified as a classic and one of the greatest albums from 2000s. In his song "A Star Is Born", Jay-Z raps "Wayne did a mili, 50 did a mili, Ye too, but what Em did was silly", Stating that the album was a success and had encountered a big part of the hip hop history.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Curtains Up" (skit)   Eminem 0:30
2. "White America"   Marshall Mathers, Jeff Bass, Luis Resto, Steve King Eminem, Jeff Bass (co.) 5:24
3. "Business"   Mathers, Andre Young, Neff-U, Mike Elizondo Dr. Dre 4:11
4. "Cleanin' Out My Closet"   Mathers, Bass Eminem, Bass 4:57
5. "Square Dance"   Mathers, Bass, Resto Eminem, Bass (co.) 5:24
6. "The Kiss" (skit) Mathers, Bass Eminem 1:16
7. "Soldier"   Mathers, Resto Eminem 3:46
8. "Say Goodbye Hollywood"   Mathers, Elizondo, Resto Eminem 4:33
9. "Drips" (featuring Obie Trice) Mathers, Obie Trice, Denaun Porter, Bass Eminem 4:45
10. "Without Me"   Mathers, Bass, Urban Kris, Shawn Baumgardner, Kevin Bell Eminem, Bass (co.), DJ Head (add.) 4:50
11. "Paul Rosenberg" (skit)     0:23
12. "Sing for the Moment"   Mathers, Bass, Resto, King, Steven Tyler Eminem, Bass (co.) 5:40
13. "Superman" (featuring Dina Rae) Mathers, Bass, King Eminem, Bass (add.) 5:50
14. "Hailie's Song"   Mathers, Resto Eminem 5:21
15. "Steve Berman" (skit)     0:33
16. "When the Music Stops" (featuring D12) Mathers, Ondre Moore, Porter, Von Carlisle, DeShaun Holton, Rufus Johnson, Neff-U Eminem, Denaun Porter (co.) 4:29
17. "Say What You Say" (featuring Dr. Dre) Mathers, Young, Neff-U, Elizondo Dr. Dre 5:09
18. "'Till I Collapse" (featuring Nate Dogg) Mathers, Nathaniel Hale, Resto Eminem 4:58
19. "My Dad's Gone Crazy" (featuring Hailie Jade) Mathers, Young, Neff-U, Elizondo Dr. Dre 4:28
20. "Curtains Close" (skit)     1:01
Sample credits

Information taken from The Eminem Show liner notes:[38]

  • Early clean versions of the album replace "Drips" with 4 seconds of silence. Later clean versions feature an edited version of the song.
  • Another censored version of the album did not allow the words "goddamn", "prick", "bastard", "piss", "bitch", "ass", "shit" and "fuck" to be left uncensored.
  • "Curtain Close (skit)" is performed by Ken Kaniff, who Eminem portrays at the end of the album before continuing on with the persona on Relapse in 2009, as displayed in the album booklet.

Charts and cerfications[edit]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]

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Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Grammy Award for Best Rap Album
Succeeded by
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Preceded by
We Invented The Remix Vol. 1 by Various Artists
Nellyville by Nelly
Billboard 200 number-one album
June 2, 2002 – July 6, 2002
September 1, 2002 – September 7, 2002
Succeeded by
Nellyville by Nelly
Home by Dixie Chicks
Preceded by
Destination by Ronan Keating
UK number-one album
June 1, 2002 – July 7, 2002
Succeeded by
Heathen Chemistry by Oasis
Preceded by
18 by Moby
Australian ARIA Albums Chart number-one album
June 3, 2002 – July 14, 2002
September 23–29, 2002
Succeeded by
By the Way by Red Hot Chili Peppers