The Real Slim Shady
|"The Real Slim Shady"|
|Single by Eminem|
|from the album The Marshall Mathers LP|
|Released||April 18, 2000|
|Eminem singles chronology|
"The Real Slim Shady"
"The Real Slim Shady" was Eminem's first song to reach number one in the United Kingdom and it also peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100, giving him his biggest hit up to that point. The song was the 14th best selling of 2000 in the United Kingdom. It won multiple awards, including MTV Video Music Awards for Best Video and Best Male Video, as well as a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance. In October 2011, NME placed it at number 80 on its list "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years". It was listed at number 396 on NME's 500 greatest songs of all time.
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"The Real Slim Shady" was not originally intended to be part of The Marshall Mathers LP. Interscope Records's Jimmy Iovine wanted Eminem to have a song to introduce the album, similar to the way "My Name Is" was the first single on The Slim Shady LP. Eminem, Dr. Dre, Tommy Coster and Mike Elizondo wrote "The Real Slim Shady" just hours before the final copy of the album was due. The first single was intended to be "Who Knew."
The song is a critique of manufactured pop songs that were popular at the time. It was a hit single, becoming Eminem's first chart topper in some countries, and garnering much attention for insulting various celebrities, including:
- Actress Pamela Anderson's alleged abuse at the hands of her ex-husband, rocker Tommy Lee (Jaws all on the floor, like Pam, like Tommy just burst in the door, and started whooping her ass worse than before, they first were divorced, throwing her over furniture)
- Eminem claims in one line to have murdered Dr. Dre, and that he's locked him in his basement. This was a spin on one of his previous songs, "My Name Is", where Eminem says, "And Dr. Dre said..." then Dre comes on and says, "Slim Shady, you're a basehead." (And Dr. Dre said—nothing, you idiots/Dr. Dre's dead, he's locked in my basement.)
- Comedian Tom Green's humping of a deceased moose on TV, and his song "Lonely Swedish". (Sometimes, I wanna get on TV and just let loose, but can't/but it's cool for Tom Green to hump a dead moose.)
- Rapper Will Smith's brand of commercialized and clean rap music and his VMA acceptance speech where he boasted that he didn't need to curse or kill anybody on his records (Will Smith don't gotta cuss in his raps to sell records/well, I do. So fuck him, and fuck you too.) Eminem first dissed Smith in the music video in Dr. Dre's "Forgot About Dre" when a news reporter asked him questions about the fire he and Dre started and he responded, "Well I was just upstairs listening to my Will Smith CD" in replacement to the middle of Eminem's verse due to the explicit lyrics.
- Eminem mentions Britney Spears (You think I give a damn about a Grammy?/Half of you critics can't even stomach me, let alone stand me/"But Slim, what if you win, wouldn't it be weird?"/Why? So you guys could just lie to get me here?/So you can sit me here, next to Britney Spears?)
- Christina Aguilera was angered by his claim that she performed oral sex on Fred Durst of the band Limp Bizkit and on Carson Daly, an MTV VJ. (Shit, Christina Aguilera, better switch me chairs/so I can sit next to Carson Daly and Fred Durst/and hear 'em argue over who she gave head to first.)
- He also makes fun of the boy band NSYNC when he appears to dance in the video with the "group". (I'm sick of you, little girl and boy groups, all you do is annoy me/so I have been sent here to destroy you.). However, Chris Kirkpatrick was unhappy with this, so he called Eminem a "bully", and Eminem attacked him with the song "Without Me".
- He references the Bloodhound Gang's song "The Bad Touch" (They've got the Discovery Channel, don't they/We ain’t nothin but mammals).
The chorus is about the sudden fashion changes caused by Eminem's success: "I'm Slim Shady, yes I'm the real Shady/All you other Slim Shadys are just imitating/So won't The Real Slim Shady please stand up, please stand up, please stand up?" The chorus imitates the catchphrase of the quiz show To Tell the Truth: "Will the real ______ please stand up?" In an interview  while promoting his greatest hits album, Curtain Call, Eminem remarked that the sound of the chorus was intended to recreate that of a chainsaw going off. The sudden jump and increase in tempo as well as pitch recreates the motor of a chainsaw coming to life.
PopMatters described this song:
"In a number of songs on the new album, including the current single, 'The Real Slim Shady,' Eminem slams his 'enemies' with comic book intensity. In the video, he wears a superhero costume and an insane asylum straitjacket while rapping, 'I'm sick of you little girl and boy groups, all you do is annoy me / So I have been sent here to destroy you / And there's a million of us just like me / Who cuss like me; who just don't give a fuck like me / Who dress like me; walk, talk and act like me / And just might be the next best thing, but not quite me!' Of course, the irony is built into the song: Eminem's signature style the bleached blond hair, pale skin, humungous T-shirt has spawned droves of lookalikes and wannabes. Voila, he's a teen idol. Poor Em, can't win for losing."
Allmusic highlighted the single.
Will Hermes was positive:
"In the aftermath of Slim Shady, he married the girlfriend he imagined killing, while his mother, immortalized in his hit single 'My Name Is' (I just found out my Mom does more dope than I do), sued him for $10 million for defamation of character."
LA Times wrote:
"'The Real Slim Shady,' the first single from the album, is a modest step to the mainstream—a fresh and funny, almost PG-rated swipe at everything from the Grammy Awards to shallow teen pop."
"The album's obligatory 'pop' number is exposed on 'The Real Slim Shady,' which chugs and lurches along to a boinging electro funk beat. It would be a total pop smash if it weren't for the lyrics, though. Leave it to Em to juice it up with ear candy effervescent, but keep the words in the subversive. As with the other Dre crafted tunes on the album, there's plenty of cool special effects bustling about—fart noises, heavy breathing, all of it coalescing with Em's cartoon character on crystal meth delivery. Sure it's pop, but of the most demented nature."
Rolling Stone praised the sound of the single as "slick, bright, melodic funk that's so R&B-ish, you can dance to it".
The music video features Eminem performing the song in a psychiatric ward, a local Detroit neighborhood nearside a park, a fast-food joint, the Grammy Awards, and even in a factory where multiple clones of the rapper are produced. The video also features cameo appearances by Dr. Dre, D12, Fred Durst, Kathy Griffin; lookalikes of Kid Rock, Carson Daly, Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee; and even a stuffed Bill the Cat doll can also be seen being held in possession by one of the mental patients in the hospital scenes.
Actress and comedian Kathy Griffin, who is also known for insulting celebrities in her act, appears in the video as an attending nurse in a psychiatric ward. Griffin said during a July 21, 2005, interview on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno that Eminem selected her for the video because fellow rapper Snoop Dogg told him she was "really funny."
The video also features Eminem dressed in the same superhero costume used by Tom Green in the "Lonely Swedish" video chasing *NSYNC lookalikes, taking Justin Timberlake down to the ground and putting 'his bum on the man's lips.' The costume can be seen later in the "Without Me" music video following the release of The Eminem Show.
The video features scenes corresponding to specific lyrics:
- Two young boys watching the Discovery Channel on television with two rhinoceroses mating, then looking at each other in awe, referring to the 1999 song "The Bad Touch", by Bloodhound Gang. (Of course, they're gonna know what intercourse is by the time they hit fourth grade/They got the Discovery Channel, don't they?/"We ain't nothing but mammals.." Well, some of us cannibals)
- Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee chasing each other around a couch and Anderson screaming in front of the camera. (Like Pam, like Tommy just burst in the door, and started whooping her ass worse than before, they first were divorced, throwing her over furniture.)
- An obese man in underwear being enslaved by a dominatrix with a paddle. (Yeah, I probably got a couple of screws up in my head loose, but no worse than what's going on in your parents' bedrooms.)
- A gay marriage is shown and Eminem breaks up the two men about to kiss each other and showing disgust. (But if we can hump dead animals and antelopes/then there's no reason that a man and another man can't elope)
- Eminem performing in a private room with all his clones produced from the factory with their heads bobbing to the music. (the chorus: 'Cause I'm Slim Shady, yes, I'm the real Shady/all you other Slim Shadys are just imitating/So won't The Real Slim Shady please stand up?/Please stand up?/Please stand up?)
- Eminem at the Grammy Awards dressed as Britney Spears, along with Fred Durst and Carson Daly pulling a blow-up doll of Christina Aguilera between their seats towards each other angrily until it flies out of the chair. (Christina Aguilera better switch me chairs so I can sit next to Carson Daly and Fred Durst, ang hear 'em argue over who she gave head to first.)
- A clip from a cartoon of a frog tap-dancing on a turtle (from the Flip the Frog film Fiddlesticks) can be seen on a TV in the hospital and the viewer laughs at it.
- Eminem working in a fictional fast-food restaurant with an 'Ask Me' patch giving a woman her order and rejecting it because of the onion rings being forgotten, however he gets the onion rings and he spits in them as a form of revenge for her rude treatment of him, and gives the onion rings to the woman to complete her order, which she begins eating as she walks away. The same scene also shows Eminem driving recklessly around in circles in a parking lot in a blue AMC Pacer. (He could be working at Burger King, spitting on your onion rings/or in the parking lot, circling, screaming: "I don't give a fuck!"/With his windows down and his system up)
In the uncensored version of the music video, the fat man in underwear wears a ball gag; in the censored version, he does not. The edited version also does not show Eminem raising his middle fingers; instead, he points at the camera.
Covers and parodies
Parody songs include:
- In the UK Queen-musical We Will Rock You the phrase Who (the Hell) is the real Slim Shady appears during an interrogation.
- "The Real Church Lady", a Saturday Night Live parody in "Church Chat" with Dana Carvey
- "The Real Greg Brady", a song written and performed by Barry Williams.
- "The Real Rahim Jaffer", a This Hour Has 22 Minutes parody performed by Rick Mercer and Cathy Jones in 2001 following the incident where one of Canadian Federal MP Rahim Jaffer's aides posed as Jaffer in a radio interview.
- "The Real Sin Savior", by Christian parody band Apologetix
- "The Real Sugar Baby", by Sugar Lyn Beard.
- "Will the Real Slim Shady Please Shut Up", a parody written and performed by a female rapper Emily Ellis, who is frequently confused with Christina Aguilera
- A performance in the UK satirical spoof documentary Brass Eye in the controversial 2001 "Paedogeddon" episode. It features satirist Christopher Morris performing as a rapper, "JLb-8".
- In their song "On Passing Lilac Urine" from the 2001 EP, Editor's Recommendation, Half Man Half Biscuit sing "I'm Slim Shady/I'm the real Slim Shady/the other Slim Shady's gone to play tennis"
- "Will the Real Mitt Romney Please Stand Up?", a viral video satire of Mitt Romney, 2012's Republican candidate for President of the United States, his campaign, persona, religious beliefs, gaffes, controversies and public-relations (PR) problems. The "rap" featured in this video is constructed almost entirely out of clips of Romney from a wide variety of public speaking engagements and interviews; a number of other politicians, including Barack Obama, fill in the rest.
- "I'm not Omnistrife"/"Nem vagyok Omnistrife", a parody song written and performed by the Hungarian Fekete Dániel posing as Naruto character Hoshigaki Kisame in an animated video
- The song was featured in "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "Angry White Boy Polka" on his album Poodle Hat.
- William Shatner performed a spoken word cover of the song during the "Where No Fan Has Gone Before" episode of Futurama prompting Melllvar to exclaim, "He found a way." This is a parody of Shatner's spoken word music album The Transformed Man, as well as his recitation of Elton John's "Rocket Man" at the 1978 Saturn Awards.
- In an episode of Coronation Street, Kirk Sutherland recited the main chorus of the song in order to win the heart of Fiz Brown.
- "The Real Pacers Fans", by Indianapolis, Indiana-based radio station RadioNow 93.1, when the Indiana Pacers were playing the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2000 NBA Finals.
- In the final episode of Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights, this was performed by Jerry St Clair (Dave Spikey) impersonating Eminem as part of the Stars In Their Eyes sequence.
- "Seurasaari Rap" featuring Seurasaari Open Air Museum, Helsinki, by Tapio Nurminen. The Finnish-language rap from 2000 deals with the museum, guides, their parties and the tourists.
- ProjectRNL, an Israeli band did a progressive rock cover to this song.
- The song's instrumental was used in The "Drink Wontons" song (He hundun, 喝混沌), a rap song sung in the Nanjing dialect. It became very popular with teenage Nanjingers in 2006 and remains a great example of the so-called Nanjing dialect.
"The Real Slim Shady" was very successful at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards, winning awards for Video of the Year and Best Male Video, as well as being a nominee for Best Rap Video, Best Direction, Best Editing and Viewer's Choice. The song was also performed by Eminem at the show with look-a-likes of himself, as in the video.
|2000||Billboard Music Awards||Maximum Vision Video||Won|
|Best Rap/Hip-Hop Clip of the Year||Won|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Music: Video||Nominated|
|Choice Music: Summer Song||Nominated|
|MTV Video Music Awards||Video of the Year||Won|
|Best Male Video||Won|
|Best Rap Video||Nominated|
|Viewer's Choice Award||Nominated|
|2001||Detroit Music Awards||Outstanding National Single||Won|
|Grammy Awards||Best Rap Solo Performance||Won|
- UK CD single
|1.||"The Real Slim Shady"||4:44|
|2.||"The Real Slim Shady" (instrumental)||4:44|
|3.||"Guilty Conscience" (radio version with new hook) (featuring Dr. Dre)||3:19|
|4.||"The Real Slim Shady" (video)||4:44|
- UK Cassette
|1.||"The Real Slim Shady"||4:44|
|2.||"My Fault" (pizza mix)||3:53|
- German CD single
|1.||"The Real Slim Shady"||4:44|
- German Maxi CD single
|1.||"The Real Slim Shady"||4:44|
|3.||"The Real Slim Shady" (instrumental)||4:44|
|4.||"My Fault" (pizza mix)||3:53|
|5.||"Just Don't Give A F**k" (music video)||4:39|
|Austria (IFPI Austria)||Gold||25,000*|
|Canada (Music Canada)||2× Platinum||160,000*|
|Denmark (IFPI Denmark)||Platinum||90,000|
|Norway (IFPI Norway)||Gold|
|Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)||Gold||20,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||2× Platinum||1,240,000|
|United States (RIAA)||4× Platinum||4,000,000|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance
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