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It’s Eminem’s 40th Birthday, So Let’s Look Back On His Early Pop Culture References

By / 10.17.12

Everyone has an Eminem story. Mine, like many others, begins with 1999’s The Slim Shady LP, Eminem’s breakthrough second album that has sold in excess of 12 copies worldwide. I was 12 years old at the time, with very little knowledge about rap, other than: black people. But one day after school, I saw the hyperactive music video for “My Name Is,” and I was instantly hooked. It was breakthrough for someone like me — a dumb white kid who couldn’t relate to Biggie or Dr. Dre, but did enjoy cheap pop culture references, something Eminem excelled at — needed to get into hip-hop. So I made my dad take me to our local Borders, and with a gift certificate he had given me a few weeks prior, I purchased the album, much to his chagrin and my delight.

Time hasn’t been kind to The Slim Shady LP (I’m pretty sure there are multiple ‘N Sync songs that use the same beat as the one in “My Fault”), but that doesn’t lessen its impact on my angry teen years. Today is Eminem’s 40th birthday, so I went back to the album, which I haven’t listened to in years, to see whether the thing that made me fall in love with it, the pop culture references, still hold up. (I’m including any name drop or of-its-time product mention as a reference.) Here are 15 notable examples, from most cringe worthy in 2012 to least.

#15. “Rock Bottom”

“Watchin’ ballers while they’re flossin’ in their Pathfinders
These overnight stars becomin’ autograph-signers”

#14. “Role Model”

“Me and Marcus Allen went over to see Nicole
When we heard a knock at the door, must have been Ron Gold
Jumped behind the door, put the orgy on hold
Killed them both and smeared blood in a white Bronco”

#13. “Role Model”

“You beef with me I’mma even the score equally
Take you on Jerry Springer and beat your ass legally
I get too blunted off of funny home grown
‘Cause when I smoke out, I hit the trees harder than Sonny Bono

#12. “My Name Is”

“My brain’s dead weight, I’m tryin’ to get my head straight
But I can’t figure out which Spice Girl I want to impregnate”

#11. “Role Model”

“My mind won’t work if my spine don’t jerk
I slapped Garth Brooks out of his rhinestone shirt”

#10. “My Name Is”

“Hi, kids, do you like violence?
Wanna see me stick Nine Inch Nails through each one of my eyelids?”

#9. “My Name Is”

“Clothes ripped like the Incredible Hulk
I spit when I talk, I’ll f*ck anything that walks”

(Eh, Hulk references aren’t ever “in” or “out” because they’re so easy to make.)

#8. “Bad Meets Evil”

He’s evil, and I’m bad like Steve Seagal
Above the law ’cause I don’t agree with police either
We ain’t eager to be legal

(I can’t believe Eminem never recorded a song called “On Deadly Ground.”)

#7. “Role Model”

“So if I said I never did drugs
That would mean I lie and get f*cked more than the President does
Hilary Clinton tried to slap me and call me a pervert
I ripped her f*cking tonsils out and fed her sherbet”

(Or in Texts From Hilary form, “Y u hate, Slim?”)

#6. “My Name Is”

“Got bitches on my jock out in East Detroit
Cause they think that I’m a mothaf*ckin’ Beastie Boy
So I told ‘em I was Mike D.
They was like, “Gee I don’t know, he might be!”

(No one wouldn’t recognize Eminem anymore, but I’ll never say no to a Beastie Boys reference.)

#5. “Cum on Everybody”

“My favorite color is red, like the blood shed
From Kurt Cobain’s head when he shot himself dead
Women all grabbin’ at my shish kabob
Bought Lauryn Hill’s tape so her kids could starve”

(That Cobain rhyme is brutal.)

#4. “Just Don’t Give a F*ck”

“Slim Shady, brain dead like Jim Brady
I’m a M80, you Lil’ like that Kim lady
I’m buzzin’, Dirty Dozen, naughty rotten rhymer
Cursing at you players worse than Marty Schottenheimer”

(They’re all so culturally insignificant, especially Marty, that I’m ranking this verse higher than I should.)

#3. “Guilty Conscience”

“Man, ain’t you ever seen that one movie Kids
No, but I seen the porno with Sun Doobie in it
Sh*t, you wanna get hauled off to jail
Man, f*ck that, hit that sh*t raw dog and bail

(I’m going to guess that’s the only time a Larry Clark film has been mentioned in a rap song.)

#2. “Guilty Conscience”

Tell her you need a place to stay, you’ll be safe for days
If you shave your legs with Renee’s razor blades

(That’s a reference to Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, which is ironically more relevant than Renée Zellweger’s career at this point.)

#1. “As the World Turns”

Slappin’ teachers and jackin’ off in front of my counselors
Class clown freshman, dressed like Les Nessman

(WKRP In Cincinnati for the win.)


TAGSDr. DreEminemMusicPop Culturerap

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