Eminem recently celebrated his 42nd (!!!) birthday, and what a long, strange, trip its been. Since breaking out with The Slim Shady LP back in 1999, the man has been synonymous with celebrity feuds, diss tracks, and being really, really angry.
If any of us had this many beefs to juggle, we’d probably be pretty rattled too. But where most of us spent the late ’00s and ’00s diss-tracking into our ICQ info boxes and LiveJournals, Em took his public, recording track after track of pure vitriol. And hey — you can’t say he isn’t convincing. The dude was intense. That’s why we thought we’d pay homage to some of his notable feuds and the diss tracks/lines that would’ve broken our spirits.
Just lose it, etc.
Insane Clown Posse, 1997
“Fuck ICP / buy my CD!”
To celebrate the release of The Slim Shady EP in 1997, Eminem threw a party and advertised it with flyers. Unfortunately, the flyers claimed that members of the Insane Clown Posse might show up, and that’s where everything went south: the ICP had no intention of making an appearance, especially since they hadn’t even been asked. So, to ICP’s Violent J’s cries of “fuck that!” Eminem responded with the diss track, “Till Hell Freezes Over.” This went back in forth until 2005, when D12’s Proof set up a bowling game, and peace was restored.
“I’m cancerous, so when I diss you wouldn’t wanna answer this / If you responded back with a battle rap you wrote for Canibus”
After Eminem denied to Canibus that he ghostwrote LL Cool J’s “The Ripper Strikes Back,” Em claimed the rapper was “rude” to him. Which, of course, led to everything: believing Canibus’ “Phuck U” was about he and LL Cool J, Mathers set the war in motion, with “Role Model” being one of the first professional disses (and far from the last). The two still aren’t pals, and Canibus continues to make reference in his music to Em even now. And yes, for the record, these are adult men.
“Yesterday was so long ago / Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit came along now / don’t nobody wanna hear your old ass sing no more”
Everlast started it! (Or so they say.) With both artists having contributed to the End of Days soundtrack, the two crossed paths backstage at a show in early 1999, where Eminem claimed Everlast didn’t acknowledge him, and Everlast claimed Eminem blew him off. Classic. In response, Everlast recorded a verse on the Dilated Peoples’ “Ear Drums Pop” and Eminem hit back with this song that is 100% directed at Everlast. Then, back and forth they went, until everyone finally chilled out in by 2010.
Christina Aguilera, 2000
“Causin’ terror to Aguilera / when I grab her by the hair and drag her across the Sahara”
In a rational response to Christina Aguilera’s suggestion that women should look out for abusive men (like Eminem, whom she had just called cute), the rapper released not one, but two diss tracks. (The second, of course, was “The Real Slim Shady” that included the verse about Aguilera performing sexual acts on Carson Daly and Fred Durst.) So, she hit back with an alleged diss track of her own, but bridges were mended shortly after at the 2002 MTV Music Video Awards, where she presented him with one of the night’s trophies.
Fred Durst, 2001
“C’mon dog, it was supposed to be on that song [‘Quitter’] / Talking about how bad you hate him / Now you all on his thong … You fucking sissy / Up onstage screaming how people hate you / They don’t hate you/ They just think you’re corny since Christina played you.”
UGHHH because nobody here knows how to communicate. A byproduct from his beef with Everlast, Eminem began feuding with Durst when the Limp Bizkit frontman dropped out of “Quitter” and later claimed that in a physical fight between Everlast and Eminem, Everlast would win. So, “Girls” happened, and — as mentioned previously — a mutual respect was reported between all parties in 2010.
“And Moby you can get stomped by Obie / you 36-year-old bald-headed fag blow me / you don’t know me / you’re too old let it go it’s over / nobody listens to techno”
Like Aguilera, Moby dared challenged Eminem’s message, this time condemning the rapper’s homophobic lyrics at the 2001 Grammys (where Eminem actually performed with Elton John). His criticisms obviously struck a chord, and in 2002, the first single off The Eminem Show dedicated a sizeable chunk of lyrics to the techno star. Not that Moby was ruffled: he ended up blogging about it shortly after the release, and in 2004, Moby praised Eminem’s anti-Bush lyrics on “Encore.” As far as we know, they’re cool now.
Ja Rule, 2003-2005
“The Ja Shit, I tried to squash it, It was too late to stop it / There’s a certain line you just don’t cross and he crossed it / I heard him say Hailie’s name in his song and I just lost it”
This one’s actually pretty valid. As Ja Rule and 50 Cent’s beef got worse (circa 2003), diss tracks got pretty personal — especially with the release of Ja Rule’s “Loose Change” which referred to Eminem as “feminem” and went on to insult Mathers’ then-ex Kim Mathers, his mom, and his daughter Hailie. From there, Eminem recruited D12, recorded “Bully,” “Doe Rae Me (Hailie’s Revenge),” and “Toy Soldiers” in 2009 — which is arguably a very telling POV of what being in the midst of a major rap feud is like. Meanwhile, in July of this year, Ja Rule claimed to have once beat up 50 Cent. But whatever — it still doesn’t have as much credibility as this:
Michael Jackson, 2004
“I done touched on everything, except little boys / that’s not a stab at Michael / That’s just a metaphor / I’m just psycho”
Because he could? A good portion of the video punches down in a big way (see: jokes about everything from child molestation charges to plastic surgery to MJ’s hair catching fire in a 1984 Pepsi commercial), especially since Michael Jackson’s long, slow, sad spiral downward was already underway. But Michael got the last laugh: in addition to calling into Steve Harvey’s radio show to say “It is one thing to spoof, but it is another to be demeaning and insensitive” (which is true), Jackson ended up owning several Eminem tracks when Sony ATV Publishing bought Famous Music. (Ya burnt.)
Mariah Carey, 2009
All of them? But especially: “You gonna ruin my career? / You better get one”
Remember the 2009 Mariah Carey song “Obsessed”? Sure. Evidently, it was (reportedly) released in response to Eminem’s claims — throughout his career — that he and Mariah once dated. So, she retaliated with a video that depicted an Em-like figure stalking her, and he retaliated with this, a song off his 2009 album, Relapse. Woof. Carey’s then-husband Nick Cannon ended up blogging about it, but that’s about all that happened, and now it’s not spoken of so don’t even try.