The Stories Behind Every Eminem Diss on the Marshall Mathers Lp
It has been over twenty years since Eminem first graced our ears with his magnum opus album, . An album that formed a core part of his triumvirate of albums which cemented him as one of the greatest hip hop artists of all time. This album is considered as a classic and his magnum opus not only because of its impact on Pop culture and its replay value but also because of its controversial lyrics which have become one of the hallmarks of Eminem’s music. Constantly creating controversies using his lyrics by dressing down top celebrities and taking aim at politicians and parents alike, Eminem successfully rose to the forefront of rap all thanks to his critically acclaimed, The Marshall Mathers LP album. He kept to the statement he made on his hit single “My Name Is” where he declared “God sent me to piss the world off” and he successfully did so. Protests and rallies were held by several social justice groups over the homophobic and misogynistic nature of his lyrics and even parents also complained about the content of his lyrics. However, that did not stop Eminem from using his Slim Shady alter ego as an outlet to mirror America’s hypocritical attitude towards issues affecting the contemporary American society at the time. The Marshall Mathers LP
Taking a closer look at those mind-boggling lyrics, one would realize Eminem’s genius as a result of his ingenious wordplay, fire bars, technical rap skills, wittiness, and most of all, his ability to lyrically obliterate anyone on his songs. A lot of top celebrities such as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Will Smith all caught heat from this album. Even his mother, Debbie Mathers, and his ex-wife, Kim were not spared from Eminem’s never-ending tirade either. This article aims to examine the stories behind every diss made on The Marshall Mathers LP.
Debbie Mathers (His Mother)
His mother has always been on the receiving end of his lyrical assaults ever since his hit single “My Name Is” was released in 1999. In this song, he raps “99 percent of my life I was lied to / I just found out my mom does more dope than I do” which led to his mum suing him for slander, demanding 10 million dollars in damages. This album was released while the matter was still in court at the time. However, Eminem wasted no time in continuing his tirade against his mother on the first track of the album, Kill You where he rapped about raping his mother. On the title track, Marshall Mathers, he took his time to react to being sued by his mother as he raps “… suing for 10 million / She must want a dollar for every pill I’ve been stealing”. This verse further intensified the controversy and Eminem ended up paying 25,000 dollars in damages, although it was claimed that a vast majority of the money went into the pockets of her lawyer, Fred Gibson who Eminem also dissed on the same verse. Later in 2003, Eminem made a diss track titled “Cleanin’ Out My Closet” which was aimed at his mother after she released a CD titled “Set the Records Straight” where she attempted to justify her actions. He released another, titled “My Mom” in 2009. However, Eminem later apologized to his mom on the 2013 track, “Headlights” where he expresses remorse and regrets for the songs attacking her.
Eminem’s beef with Will Smith was due to Will Smith’s acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards. After he won the award for the best male video with his single, “Miami” over Eminem’s “My Name Is”, Smith said “I never killed anybody in none of my records. I never used no profanity in none of my records and I still managed to get up here”. Eminem knew it was a dig aimed at him and he responded on his hit single, “The Real Slim Shady” where he raps “Will Smith don’t gotta cuss in his raps to sell records (nope) / well, I do, so…”. Eminem later claimed he respected Will Smith but could not bear to see him take shots at other hip hop artists that employ profanity in their lyrics. Will Smith did not respond to the diss aimed at him although he made a subtle reference to it on his track “Mr. Niceguy”.
Due to his controversial lyrics which were heavily laced with profanities, Eminem was public enemy number one at the time. Parents, social justice groups, feminists, and even media journalists all complained about the heavy usage of profanity on his second studio album, The Slim Shady LP. The album was a vividly painted picture of the state of mind of Eminem’s alter ego, Slim Shady, and depicted multiple acts of violence. On the track, “The Way I am” on The Marshall Mathers LP, he addresses these issues by calling out the parents as hypocritical lots, who are quick to blame him for their kid’s bad behaviour when in fact they have been parenting their children in a wrong manner. He references the Columbine shooting of students in his attempt to defend himself which was first attributed to the music the students listened to. He is also of the opinion that his crude language is a reflection of his opinions about issues and he is not the cause of the problems in the society. He also addresses the issue on The Real Slim Shady and several other tracks on the album mocking the hypocrisy of feminists, parents, and media journalists with lyrics such as “And that’s the message that we deliver to little kids / and expect them not to know what a woman's clitoris is”. Eminem believes that if his lyrical content is more focused on than the sex scandals of the president at the time, there must be a mix-up somewhere. Throughout his career, Eminem has always been the subject of criticism and he still deals with this till today.
Popular English actor, Mark Wahlberg also caught heat on the track Drug Ballad where Eminem raps “Back when Mark Wahlberg was Marky Mark (expletive) / this is how we used to make the party start”. The adlib on this verse was as a result of an incident which happened on TRL (Total Request Live), where Eminem made a comment referring to Wahlberg’s teenage raping days in his group, Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch. Eminem comically welcomes Mark by declaring that “we should all stand together like a happy fun bunch” despite Eminem being told by a staff who works for MTV not to refer to him as Marky Mark. After the comment, Wahlberg could be seen muttering an insult silently. The adlib is probably a subtle response to that incident. However, this minor beef has since been settled, as Eminem has appeared on Entourage, a film which was produced by Mark Wahlberg. Wahlberg also admitted to being a hater at the time because he thought he was a better rapper than Eminem during a 2017 interview. Eminem recently said that he is a fan of Mark Wahlberg in a live chat with his fans during the MMLP 20th anniversary celebrations. Below is a footage of the incident.
The popular American pop artist was the subject of controversy when hit single “The Real Slim Shady went viral”. Eminem raps “…, 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”. Eminem claimed he dissed her to get even after she spread rumours about him being married to Kim on television, which he wanted to keep a secret at the time. The oral sex story was a reference to the 2000 VMA’s show where Fred Durst got on Stage with Christina Aguilera to perform “Livin’ it Up” which was frowned against by the rest of the Limp Bizkit group. It was claimed that while trying to get their support back, Durst had said that he did the live performance for oral sex. However, Christiana Aguilera released a statement claiming that none of what Eminem said on the song did happen. Eminem reportedly dissed her later in 2019 in a freestyle titled “Kick-Off”.
Insane Clown Posse
Insane clown posse was a hip-hop duo from Detroit at the time and they had major beef with Eminem. It all started in 1997 when Eminem was throwing a party to promote his Slim Shady EP. He gave Violent J an ICP member, a flyer which contained “featuring appearances by Esham, Kid Rock, and ICP (maybe)”. Violent J believed that Eminem did not contact the group before promoting their appearance on the flyer and he took offence saying they would not be coming to his party. After that incident, Eminem released Till Hell Freezes over which contained a diss aimed at ICP. ICP then responded with a parody of Eminem’s hit single “My Name is” which was entitled “Slim Anus”. The Slim Anus track revolved around Eminem being gay and insinuated that he performed sexual favours for Dr. Dre in exchange for his record deal. This led to Eminem dedicating a whole skit known as the “Ken Kaniff skit” to get back at them for the Slim Anus track. He also dissed them on the track, Marshall Mathers using homophobic slurs.
Eminem dedicated a whole song to his ex-wife, Kim Mathers. The song serves as a prequel to the Slim Shady LPs ‘97 Bonnie & Clyde, where he was running off with his daughter after murdering his wife. The track was named after her and it is generally considered as a harrowing love-hate song. Kim was a fictional story depicting how he murdered his wife. Eminem claims she cheated on him on and gives that as a reason for murdering her. She later sued him for defamation over the lyrical contents of the track. Although they later married again in 2006, they divorced not too long after, although they remain friends.
Robert Matthew Van Winkle also popularly known as Vanilla Ice at the time, also managed to get on Eminem’s hit list. In an interview with Vibe Magazine, he blasted Eminem, saying he raps like a girl. Eminem did not take kindly to this and clowned him on the track, “Marshall Mathers” where he raps “Vanilla Ice don’t like me (uh-uh) / He said some **** ( expletive) in Vibe just to spite me (Yo) / then went and dyed his hair just like me”. This verse was funny but true as indeed Vanilla Ice dyed his hair blond, just like Eminem did at the time after saying he did not like his music.
Fred Gibson was Debbie Mathers’s lawyer at the time she filed a lawsuit against her son demanding 10 million dollars in damages. Although his name was censored off the Marshall Mathers track due to legal implications that could have arisen, Eminem used homophobic slurs against him because he had said that Eminem had “fabricated his past”. Here is the uncensored version.
The Marshall Mathers LP brought about the emergence of Stan culture. His song Stan which sampled Dido’s “Thank You” was a brilliant storytelling song about a fan who became with Eminem and sent him disturbing letters frequently. The song became rooted in history when it entered the Oxford Dictionary as an informal noun, meaning “an extremely loyal and obsessed fan of a particular celebrity”. In the song “The Way I am, Eminem addressed the fact that fame has become annoying at times due to fans that bother him in toilets and public places just to get a signed autograph. He raps “but at least have the decency in you / To leave me alone when you see me out / in the streets when I’m eating or feeding my daughter / to not come and speak to me (speak to me), I don’t know you”. He also talked about this on the sequel to the Marshall Mathers LP album, on the track “So far”. MMLP2
Eminem used the title track of the album “Marshall Mathers” to target anyone that got on his hit list at the time and unfortunately, popular hip hop magazine XXL was one of them. It all started when Eminem’s team tried to get XXL to do a cover story during the promotion of his Slim Shady LP album and XXL refused to say “No, we aren’t doing articles on no white rappers”. However, after the relative success of the SSLP, XXL went ahead to publish a story about Eminem being a culture stealer and being a Ku Klux Klan member with a caricature of Eminem’s buttocks on the magazine. It was then, Eminem retaliated with the verse “Okay, let me give you mother***** some help / uh, here, XXL, XXL! / Now your magazine should not have much trouble to sell”. The beef was later squashed when Eminem and XXL worked together while promoting 50 Cent’s “Get Rich Or Die Trying” album.
Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys and N'Sync
These were popular pop acts at the time whom Eminem dissed on “The Real Slim Shady” single and “Marshall Mathers” track. There was no real beef here, Eminem just insulted them to show his disregard for popular pop artists during that period. He raps “An anti-Backstreet and Ricky Martins / whose instinct is to kill N’sync, don’t get me started”. He also called Britney Spears "garbage" It is however a point worthy of note that Eminem has since collaborated with popular pop artists such as Ed Sheeran, Skylar Grey, and Rihanna since that period.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Fawaz Akintunde