There’s no question that ever since “Lose Yourself,” Eminem has pumped out some of the most motivational songs in all of music. While not much can live up to the ferocity of the aforementioned Oscar-winning track, Em still has a robust catalog of songs that should be the soundtrack to your New Year’s resolutions.
From raps about scratching and clawing out of the slums to tracks about living to your full potential, consider this list your Eminem 2016 playlist for those times when you just want to give up. When those times do occur, pop one of these on, and get that fire back in your belly.
Quote: “No more games, I’m a change what you call rage/ Tear this motherf*cking roof off like two dogs caged/ I was playing in the beginning, the mood all changed/ I’ve been chewed up and spit out and booed off stage”
For: Finishing a project or quest, no matter how hard it is.
It’s possibly one of the most inspirational songs, not just in the history of rap, but in the history of music. Eminem flowed away the growing pains of trying to achieve stardom in rap, while fighting the obligatory obstacles that come from being a white man in a minority-based art form. It’s a song that should fuel you through the tough times when you think you’re just not good enough, or when you think your best shot is nothing more than a mistake.
“Guts Over Fear”
Quote: “So, this is for every kid who all’s they ever did was dreamt of one day just getting accepted/ I represent him or her, anyone similar, you are the reason that I made this song/ And everything you’re scared to say, don’t be afraid to say no more/ From this day forward, just let them a-holes talk”
For: Instilling yourself with the courage to push past limits.
With deep, pulsating piano chords, and Sia’s soaring inflection, “Guts Over Fear” is one of those under-appreciated Eminem songs from the twilight of his career. It’s an ode to keep pushing through no matter how much criticism you receive — keep your focus on your mission and your motivations, and let the haters hate.
Quote: “Thought I had it mapped out, but I guess I didn’t/ This black cloud’s still follows me around/ But it’s time to exercise these demons/ They’re all doing jumping jacks now!”
For: Realizing that mistakes are just teachable moments.
Eminem’s struggles with addiction are well documented (for the uninitiated, listen to “Deja Vu”), and “Not Afraid” is his comeback song. This is song is a dedication, not just to those who have struggled with substance-abuse, but to anyone who has had demons that they had to beat back to move forward. Em, in his trademark self-deprecating sensibility, even disses his previous album and acknowledges his past mistakes.
“Til I Collapse”
Quote: “Sometimes you just feel tired. You feel weak/ And when you feel weak, you wanna just give up/ But you gotta search within you/ Find that inner strength and just pull that sh*t out of you, and get that motivation to not give up/ and not be a quitter/ No matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.”
For: Achieving your best run time, lift, or any kind of goal you’ve set for yourself.
It’s got a staunch stadium feel to it, and it’s one of Eminem’s most uplifting tracks, one that encourages the listener to never give up on their dreams. Marshall relays the struggle to push past one’s own incurred limits by relating his efforts to get beyond his initial limitations on the way to music mastery. Bump this one while you’re on the bench press and reach a new high.
Quote: “By the time you hear this, I will have already spiraled up/ I would never do nothing to let you cowards f*ck my world up/ If I was you, I would duck, or get struck, like lightning/ Fighters keep fighting, put your lighters up, point em’ skyward uh”
For: Recognizing your successes.
Much of the inspiration in Em’s lyrics come from relating to the obstacles — both self-imposed and otherwise — he has faced in his life. “Lighters” does just that, with Em rapping about being cocky because he’s earned the ability to do so. Use this song to remind yourself that with hard work comes the capacity to look in the mirror and love what you see.
Quote: “From the beginning, it wasn’t ’bout the ends/ It was ’bout busting raps and standing for something, f*cking acronym”
For: Staying true to your mission.
In your quest to be the best you in 2016, it’s best to stay humble and remember the reasons why you’re doing this. Working out isn’t just about looking good on the beach (although that’s a nice perk) — it’s about extending your life to help provide love and care for your family. Just like Eminem’s quest to be the best, it wasn’t about the money — it was about espousing a message. Do what you love with passion, take care of yourself, and the rewards will be plentiful.
Quote: “Let me self-empower you/ When you’re down and they’re tryin’ to clown the f*ck out of you/ And you feel like you’re runnin’ out of fuel/ I’ll show you how to use doubt as fuel/ Convert it to gunpowder, too”
For: Ignoring the ignoramuses.
When it was announced that Eminem was producing the Southpaw soundtrack, you just knew he would have some kind of inspirational track. “Phenomenal” is the anthem for drowning out the naysayers in your life. Cynicism is quite easy (just look at the internet), but it’s diligence and fortitude that fuels the achievers in this world.
Quote: “It’s like they murdered your ass/ And threw dirt on your casket, but you’ve returned from the ashes/ And that hurt that you have, you just converted to gasoline/ And while you’re burning the past, standing in the inferno and chant”
For: Clearing the wreckage of your past.
Almost everyone lives with a regret or two — the things you wish you could have done differently or instances in which you could have reacted in better fashion. For those times, Eminem raps that you should use those moments to ignite the flames which propel you forward. It’s a powerful message, and it’s one that you should carry with you going into this new year.
Quote: “If you conceal it, reveal it, being reasonable will leave you full of bullets/ pull it, squeeze it, til it’s empty, tempt me, push me, pussies/ I need a good reason to give this trigger a good squeeze…”
For: Going into beast mode.
Some Eminem tracks are inspirational. This one is just pure aggression — unmitigated anger on wax that should only be used when you want to destroy and demolish anything standing in your path. There’s a beast in all of us, no matter how much time you’ve spent on the couch in 2015. Let that beast out, and revel in the way obstacles part like the Red Sea.
Quote: “I’m like a skillet bubblin’, until it filters up/ I’m about to kill it, I can feel it buildin’ up/ Blow this building up, I’ve been sealed enough/ My cup runneth over, I done filled it up”
For: Celebrating your victories.
There comes a time for work, and then, there comes a time for celebration. When Em raps, “Imma tell you who I be, Imma make you hate me, cause you ain’t me,” he’s in a celebratory state. You should do the same when you’ve broken through one of your goal points. Nothing will matter this year if you do not take the time to applaud yourself for your achievements. Then, when you’re done dancing around like a buffoon, get ready to scratch off your next goals. And repeat, over and over until you reach 2017.