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"The Eminem Show"
The Eminem Show.jpg
Studio album by Eminem


May 26, 2002


Encore Studios (Detroit, Michigan), Marshall Mathers' House, (Detroit, Michigan), 54 Sound Studio (Ferndale, Michigan)


Hip hop




Aftermath, Interscope, Shady


Dr. Dre (also exec.), DJ Head, Eminem, Jeff Bass, Mr. Porter

Eminem chronology


"The Marshall Mathers LP" (2000)


"Encore (album)" (2004)

The Eminem Show is the fourth studio album by American rapper Eminem, released on May 26, 2002 by Aftermath Entertainment, Shady Records, and Interscope Records. The Eminem Show includes the commercially successful singles "Without Me", "Cleanin' Out My Closet", "Superman", and "Sing for the Moment".

The Eminem Show reached number one in nineteen countries, including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, and was the best-selling album of 2002 in the United States, with 7,600,000 copies sold. Since its release in 2002, the album has sold 10,600,000 copies in the United States and over 30 million copies worldwide. At the 2003 Grammy Awards, it was nominated for Album of the Year and became Eminem's third album in four years to win the award for Best Rap Album. On March 7, 2011, the album was certified 10× Platinum (Diamond) by the RIAA, making it Eminem's second album to go Diamond in the United States.


Eminem had started recording the album around the same time he was filming 8 Mile. Production was used for both the soundtrack of the film and his album. The album also saw Eminem take a substantially more predominant production role; most of it was self-produced, with his longtime collaborator Jeff Bass co-producing several tracks (mainly the songs which eventually, became the released singles). Dr. Dre, in addition to being the album's executive producer, produced three individual tracks: "Business", "Say What You Say", and "My Dad's Gone Crazy". In an interview with The Face magazine in April 2002, Eminem said that he treated the album like it was a rock record, in terms of production; incorporating the use of guitars while still having elements of hip-hop. He said that he wanted to capture the '70s rock vibe, which he felt "had this incredible feel", for most of the record. He said that he "tried to get the best of both worlds" on the album.


The Eminem Show was originally scheduled for release on June 4, 2002; however, pirated and bootlegged copies appeared online via peer-to-peer networks and began surfacing on the streets. It was provided by Rabid Neurosis (RNS), an MP3 warez release organisation who pirated the album twenty-five days prior to release. Radio show Opie and Anthony broadcast the entire album on May 17, 2002. Interscope decided to release the album earlier than planned, on May 28 to prevent bootlegging. However, many stores in the United States began selling it even earlier than the new release date on Sunday, May 26, and some put the album out as early as Friday. Promotional posters in stores read, "America Couldn't Wait". Due to the premature release by many retailers on a Sunday, the album had only one day of official sales for the chart week and was unavailable in Walmart stores during that period. The Eminem Show was Eminem's first album to include lyrics to all its songs inside the CD booklet. Additionally, the first 2,000,000 copies of the album shipped in the United States included a bonus DVD with an exclusive interview and live footage.

Despite the confusion over the exact release date, The Eminem Show still managed to have a very successful debut on the charts. The album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling approximately 284,000 copies in its first week, marking the first time an album had topped the charts with such an abbreviated sales week. It sold 1,322,000 copies the following week, where it registered a full week of sales, then sold 809,000 copies in its third week and 529,562 copies in its fourth week to bring its four-week sales total to just under 3,000,000 copies. The album sold 381,000 copies in its fifth week and topped the Billboard 200 for a fifth and final consecutive week. It has gone on to sell over 10,000,000 copies. On March 7, 2011, the album was certified 10x Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, making it Eminem's second album to receive a Diamond certification in the United States.

The Eminem Show also spent five consecutive weeks at the top of the UK Albums Chart. As of November 2013, the album has sold over 1,500,000 copies in the UK.

Censored version[]

The "clean version" of The Eminem Show censors many more profanities and derogatory words than in clean versions of his previous albums, in which the words "goddamn", "prick", "bastard", "piss", "bitch", "ass", and "shit" were allowed. This album allowed no profanities, and the profanities were either muted, obscured by sound effects, or back-masked. In addition to this, entire sentences were sometimes removed from the censored version for being very sexually charged. The entire song "Drips" was removed in early clean versions and is heard only as four seconds of silence moving on to the next track, "Without Me". Some copies of the clean version, however, feature an edited version of "Drips".

There are some inconsistencies in clean version's censorship. In the skit "The Kiss", Eminem's shouting of the word "motherfucker" is still audible in the censored version. In the track, "Soldier", which is a continuation of "The Kiss", the word "bitch" was used three times, and can be clearly heard once. "Hailie's Song" contains a censored phrase on both the explicit and clean versions. Some sources claim the phrase is "abort her", while others claim it is "want her". Also, in "White America", the word "flag" is back masked when he raps, "To burn the flag and replace it with a parental advisory sticker" while the word "fuck" is heard at the end of Obie Trice's verse in "Drips".

Critical reception[]

The Eminem Show received positive reviews from critics. Alex Needham of NME hailed The Eminem Show as a "fantastic third album" that "is bigger, bolder and far more consistent than its predecessors". David Browne of Entertainment Weekly felt the album's more personal lyrics "succeed in fleshing out Eminem's complexities and contradictions", nonetheless concluding that "[l]ike its predecessors, though, The Eminem Show is a testament to the skills of its star. The sludgy rapping of such guests as D12 only confirms Eminem's dizzying prowess, gob-spewing individuality, and wickedly prankish humor." Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani wrote that he "peels back some of the bullshit façade and reveals a little bit of the real Marshall Mathers" on an album that "displays a—dare I say it?—more 'mature' Eminem." In his review for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine said the album "proves Eminem is the gold standard in pop music in 2002, delivering stylish, catchy, dense, funny, political music that rarely panders". Critic Robert Christgauwrote: "I think it represents an articulate, coherent, formally appropriate response to Eminem's changing position and role, one that acknowledges the privileges and alienations that accrue to all fame as well as the resolution of Marshall Mathers's worst traumas and the specifics of his success."

Edna Gundersen of USA Today wrote that Eminem is "as good as he gets but in the end inflicts more damage on himself, hoisting The Eminem Show to a level of self-absorption rivaled only by Woody Allen", and despite the presence of some mediocre tracks, he "displays an admirable dexterity in blending invective and invention, even though his approach is more reactionary than revolutionary." Uncut wrote, "Behind the hype and the swagger, he's still baring enough of his soul for The Eminem Show to be compelling theatre." Q was more mixed in its assessment, stating that as "Eminem outgrows his old alter-id, so the obligatory pantomime villainy, skits and crass cameos by Shady Records signings become a hindrance." Marc L. Hill of PopMatters felt that the album lacked the shock factor of his previous albums and described it as "a disappointing combination of promising musical experimentation and uninspired lyrics."

The Eminem Show became Eminem's third to win the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album and also swept the MTV Music Video Awards, winning four awards for Best Male Video, Video of the Year, Best Direction, and Best Rap Video. It also won Best Album at the 2002 MTV Europe Music Awards, as well as Album of the Year and R&B/Hip-Hop Album of the Year at the 2002 Billboard Music Awards. The Eminem Show was awarded Best International Album and International Album of the Year at the Brit Awards and the Juno Awards respectively in 2003.


In 2003, the album was ranked number 317 on Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and was later ranked at number 84 on the same magazine's best albums of the 2000s decade. The album received critical praise by most music critics and is often debated as Eminem's most personal and best work. Eminem said during an interview with MTV that was recorded on May 25, 2002, that he felt that The Eminem Show was his "best record so far". The Eminem Show was Eminem's first album to be mainly self-produced. This album has been notified as a classic and one of the greatest albums from the 2000s decade. In 2012, Complex Magazine deemed it a "classic" album that "cemented his place as one of the most important figures in rap history".

The Eminem Show was ranked as the 56th best album of all time on the Billboard Top 200 Albums of All Time.