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An exhaustive guide to everyone that Eminem dissed on the 'Marshall Mathers LP'

There's quite a lot

An exhaustive guide to everyone that Eminem dissed on the 'Marshall Mathers LP'
25 May 2018

Back on 23 May 2000, Eminem released his third album, The Marshall Mathers LP, and the follow-up to his breakthrough Slim Shady LP, which had seen him become a huge - and controversial - international star.

It sold staggering numbers - more than 1.76m copies in the US in the first week alone - with the album holding the title of fastest-selling studio album by a solo artist in US chart history all the way up until very recently, when Adele’s 25 took the crown.

However, success had not mellowed the famously combustible rapper - and if anything, he was angrier than ever, taking pot-shots at everything and anyone, including the nature of fame itself. Canadian author Robert Everett-Green summed it up best when he said: “Being offensive is Eminem’s job description.”

As soon as the record was released, people scoured the lyrics to see who he’d attacked this time, and they found plenty of material. So, 16 years on from the record’s release, who ended up winning out of the all the people he started lyrical beefs with? We take a look at the ultimate victors.

Debbie Mathers

Song: ’Kill You’/’Marshall Mathers’

Then: 45 year-old mother of an angry Marshall Mathers, estranged from her son.

Reason for diss: It’s safe to say that Eminem and his mother had a ‘difficult’ relationship. Having claimed in his breakthrough single ‘My Name Is’ that, “My mom smokes more dope than I do”, she sued him for $10m for slander, eventually winning just $1,600 in 2001. On The Marshall Mathers LP, he described raping his own mother on the incendiary album opener ‘Kill You’, as well as referring to the court case on the title song, rapping: “My fucking bitch mom’s suing for ten million/she must want a dollar for every pill I’ve been stealing/Shit, where the fuck you think I picked up the habit?/All I had to do was go in her room and lift up her mattress”.

Now: Eminem seemingly voiced his regret at the anger shown towards his mother on 2014’s ‘Headlights’, rapping the lines, “I don’t hate you, cos Ma you’re still beautiful to me/Dad fucked us both, you think that’d make us close/I was the man of the house, my shoulders carried the weight of the load/I’m sorry Ma that I cleaned out my closet, at the time maybe rightfully so/Now I know it’s not your fault/I cringe whenever it’s on the radio”. It’s unknown whether the two have formally reconciled.

Effectiveness of diss: 7/10

Christina Aguilera

Song: ‘The Real Slim Shady’

Then: a 20-year-old speaky-clean bubblegum pop star, famous for hits such as ‘Genie In a Bottle’ and ‘What a Girl Wants’.

Reason for diss: Aguilera angered Eminem after revealing on an MTV Special that he had married Kim in 1999 - it was not publicly known at the time and he resented the invasion of his privacy. He got his own back with the lines in hit single ‘The Real Slim Shady’: “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/Little bitch, put me on blast on MTV/”Yeah, he’s cute, but I think he’s married to Kim, hee-hee!”/I should download her audio on MP3/And show the whole world how you gave Eminem VD”, complete with a blow-up doll stand-in in the video.

Now: In 2002 she would completely reinvent her image, with the notorious ‘Dirrty’, before going on to have a long and successful career that continues to date, having sold well over 50 million albums worldwide. Despite initially saying that the diss was “disgusting, offensive and, above all, not true” and retaliating with a song called ‘Will The Real Slim Shady Please Shut Up’, they made up in 2002, hugging backstage at an MTV VMAs show.

Effectiveness of diss: 2/10

Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs

Song: ‘Marshall Mathers’/’I’m Back’

Then: 31-year-old Puff Daddy was at the peak of his powers, having released his debut solo album Forever the previous year, while he headed up the hugely-successful Bad Boy Entertainment.

Reason for diss: Eminem disliked what he perceived as his ‘flashy’ style of hip hop and called him out twice on The Marshall Mathers LP. On Marshall Mathers, he rapped “Is it because you love me that y’all expect so much of me? You little groupie bitch, get off me, go fuck Puffy”, while on I’m Back he described in graphic detail how he would impregnate his then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez.

Now: Having changed his named to P Diddy, then Diddy, then forming a group named, confusingly, Diddy - Dirty Money, he then went back to plain old Puff Daddy. In November 2017, however, he then announced that he would henceforth be known as “Love, aka Brother Love”. 

Since The Marshall Mathers LP came out, he’s had another three top 10 albums and has branched out into movie production, restaurants, clothing and acting, appearing with most success in 2010’s Get Him To The Greek. He is now worth an estimated $825m. He plans one more album before retiring to concentrate on acting. The lyrics didn’t seem to bother him - the two have collaborated on tracks together several times since. Hey, he’s a businessman isn’t he?

Effectiveness of diss: 1/10

Insane Clown Posse

Song: ‘Ken Kaniff (skit)’/’Marshall Mathers’

Then: a Detroit ‘horrorcore’ hip hop duo comprised of Joseph Bruce and Joseph Utsler, aka Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope.

Reason for diss: a then-unknown Eminem had included the act on a flyer for his 1997 Slim Shady EP launch party as ‘maybe’ performing, without having actually asked them. When he approached them, they declined in no uncertain terms, leading Eminem to subsequently attack them at every opportunity. The Ken Kaniff skit saw the character - a gay rapist - receive fellatio from the two ICP members. Meanwhile, half a verse of homophobic offensiveness is dedicated to them on Marshall Mathers.

Now: the band are still active, 27 years after forming, with their thirteenth studio album The Marvelous Missing Link: Lost released in 2015 - and their fourteenth, Fearless Fred Fury, due for release in July 2018. Their beef with Eminem was finally settled in 2005, when his friend Proof set up a bowling game between D-12 and ICP over which they could iron out their differences, although Eminem himself did not attend.

Effectiveness of diss: 3/10

Dr Dre

Song: ‘The Real Slim Shady’/’Criminal’

Then: Hugely-successful producer and rapper for the legendary NWA who had just released his second solo album 2001 - confusingly, in 1999 - as well as signing Eminem to his Aftermath record label and producing three tracks on 1999’s Slim Shady LP.

Reason for diss: well, we guess you must have a pretty good working relationship if you can describe how your boss is, “dead, he’s locked in my basement!” and then explain further, “Oh, that’s Dre with an AK to his face. Don’t make me kill him too and spill his brains all over the place. I told you Dre, you should have kept that thing put away - I guess that’ll teach you not to let me play with it, eh?”

Now: Dre’s third album, and one of the most long-awaited in history, Compton, finally came out in 2015. Before that, Dre had masterminded the success of 50 Cent’s early career, whilst also becoming the ‘richest man in hip hop’ after the sale of his Beats by Dre brand to Apple for $3bn in 2014.

Effectiveness of diss: 0/10

Christopher Reeve

Song: ‘I’m Back’

Then: the 48-year-old actor had become a quadriplegic after being thrown from a horse in 1995, requiring a ventilator and a wheelchair to live. However, despite his severe injuries, he continued to work, appearing on TV, releasing a book and directing.

Reason for diss: incredibly, Eminem has dissed Christopher Reeve no fewer than five times, seemingly purely for the shock value it creates. On ‘I’m Back’, his second reference to the actor he raps: “It’s a a sick world we live in these days/’Slim for Pete’s sakes put down Christopher Reeve’s legs!’/Geez, you guys are so sensitive/’Slim it’s a touchy subject, try and just don’t mention it’”. However, on 2009’s ‘Medicine Ball’, he admitted that he used Reeve as “his name rhymes with so many different words”.

Now: Christopher Reeve died in 2004 of cardiac arrest after an adverse reaction to an antibiotic.

Effectiveness of diss: 10/10

Will Smith

Song: ‘The Real Slim Shady’

Then: A hugely-successful actor, with the likes of Men In Black and Independence Day under his belt, and an equally successful musical career, with 1999’s Willennium spawning a host of hit singles.

Reason for diss: Family-friendly Will was pretty much the polar opposite of Eminem’s ‘offend everyone’ approach, so he duly stuck it to him in a memory couplet on ‘The Real Slim Shady’, rapping: “Will Smith don’t gotta cuss in his raps to sell his records - well I do, so fuck him and fuck you too.”

Now: Will has concentrated on acting, appearing in a slew of subsequent box office hits, including a third Men In Black film in 2012. However, he hasn’t released an album since 2005’s Lost and Found.

Effectiveness of diss: 4/10

Britney Spears

Song: ‘Marshall Mathers’

Then: 19-year-old Spears was pretty much the biggest pop star in the world after the enormous success of singles ’…Baby One More Time’ and ‘Oops!…I Did it Again’.

Reason for diss: Another pop star to get both barrels on Marshall Mathers, as Eminem rapped “Britney’s garbage/What’s this bitch retarded? Gimme back my sixteen dollars”.

Now: The singer released two more hit albums, before a public meltdown in 2007 related to issues with her husband Kevin Federline. She’s continued to release successful albums since - her last being 2016’s Glory - and appeared as a judge on the US X Factor, cementing her place as one of the most famous popstars of all-time.

Effectiveness of diss: 1/10

Vanilla Ice

Song: ‘Marshall Mathers’

Then: Vanilla Ice achieved fame with the hit single ‘Ice Ice Baby’ in 1990 but soon became synonymous with one-hit wonders and naffness, leading to a break from music and problems with drug abuse. He began making darker songs, musically and lyrically, on his third album, 1998’s Hard to Swallow, which saw him start to develop a small-but-loyal following.

Reason for diss: Ice was the first famous white rapper, and someone who Eminem would always be seeking to distance himself from in his own bid for credibility. Thus, on Marshall Mathers, he rapped, “Vanilla Ice don’t like me - said some shit in Vibe to spite me, then went and dyed his hair just like me.”

Now: Ice continues to release music independently, tours and has branched out into television hosting and even theatre, playing Captain Hook in the Chatham, Kent Central Theatre pantomime production of Peter Pan in 2011.

Effectiveness of diss: 4/10

Gianni Versace

Song: ‘Criminal’

Then: A legendary Italian fashion designer, who founded the iconic Versace brand, he was murdered outside his Miami Beach home in 1997, with his funeral famously attended by the likes of Sir Elton John and Princess Diana, shortly before she herself, tragically died. The motive for the murder is still unknown.

Reason for diss: Playing into his posture of “I am whatever you say I am”, his verse about the gay Versace was interpreted as being a mockingly ironic homophobic attack, where he rapped: “Hey, it’s me, Versace. Whoops, somebody shot me, and I was just checking the mail - get it? ‘Checking the male?’”

Now: Well, still dead, sadly.

Effectiveness of diss: 0/10

Kimberly Anne Scott

Song: ’Kim’

Then: To say that Eminem and Kimberley Anne Scott had a difficult relationship is possibly one of the great understatements of all-time. They couple endured a rocky relationship since beginning dating in 1989, while they had a daughter, Hailie, who was born in 1995. The pair married in 1999, with The Marshall Mathers LP coming out in 2000.

Reason for diss: Kim was the first song written for the album, during a time when the pair were estranged, and she was denying him access to Hailie. The song describes Eminem screaming abuse at her for leaving him for another man, before he reveals that he has killed her new boyfriend and his son. He then cuts her throat before burying her.

Now: Rather unsurprisingly, despite Eminem arguing that the song proved how passionately he cared about her, it did not go down well, with Kim attempting suicide after watching the rapper perform it in front of her at a show later in 2000. Eminem then filed for divorce, Kim sued him for defamation, they then reconciled, before Kim then filed for divorce in 2001, which went through. 

They then remarried in January 2006, before divorcing again in April, agreeing joint-custody of their daughter Hailie. Tragedy then struck when Kim’s twin sister Dawn died of an apparent heroin overdose in January 2016. Eminem apologised to Kim for his previous behaviour on the track ‘Bad Husband’ from 2017’s Revival album, rapping the lines: “But I’m sorry, Kim/More than you could ever comprehend”.

Effectiveness of diss: 10/10

Bill Clinton

Song: ‘Who Knew’/’Remember Me/Criminal’

Then: 42nd President of the United States, who presided over one of the most prosperous periods in the country’s history. However, he was impeached in 1998 over a sex scandal involving White House employee Monica Lewinsky, although he was acquitted, eventually serving his full term.

Reason for diss: Angry about the hypocrisy of the calls for censorship of his lyrics while a President was involved in a scandal himself, he rapped the lines, “I’m sorry there must be a mix-up/You want me to fix up lyrics while the President gets his dick sucked?” as well as “Slim gets blamed in Bill Clint’s speech to fix these streets? Fuck that!” If the message hadn’t fully got through, he added on ‘Criminal’, “My morals went thhbbpp when the President got oral sex in his Oval Office on top of his desk off of his own employee”.

Now: Having narrowly missed out on becoming the United States’ first ‘First Gentleman’ as his wife Hillary lost the 2016 election, he is still much-loved by the general public, although Donald Trump was not slow to bring up his misdemeanours when in office during his successful campaign for the presidency.

Effectiveness of diss: 2/10

Jennifer Lopez

Song: ‘I’m Back’

Then: Having already made a name for herself as an actress, she ventured into music with 1999’s incredibly-successful debut album On the 6. While working on this record, she began dating Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs.

Reason for diss: As described earlier, Eminem used Lopez to get at Combs, with the charming lyrics “If I ever stuck it to any singer in showbiz/It’d be Jennifer Lopez, and Puffy you know this!/I’m sorry Puff, but I don’t give a fuck if this chick was my own mother/I still fuck her with no rubber and cum inside her/and have a son and a new brother at the same time/and just say that it ain’t mine”. A true romantic.

Now: Lopez split from Combs before briefly marrying dancer Cris Judd - she later married Marc Anthony before they divorced in 2014. Her career took a downward path from around 2003 through to 2009, before something of a renaissance after appearing as a judge on American Idol.

Effectiveness of diss: 3/10


Song: ‘I’m Back’/’Marshall Mathers’

Then: the boyband at the absolute top of the game, having just released No Strings Attached, which ended up becoming not only the top-selling album of 2000, but the best-seller of the entire decade.

Reason for diss: essentially, an easy target. I mean, just look at this photo. On ‘I’m Back’, he went for the jugular, rapping, “And by the way NSYNC, why do they sing?/Am I the only one who realises they stink?/Should I dye my hair pink and care what y’all think?/Lip sync and buy a bigger size of earrings?”. For good measure, he then added on ‘Marshall Mathers’, that he had “instincts to kill NSYNC, don’t get me started”.

Now: the group split amicably in 2002, with Justin Timberlake launching his hugely-successful solo career later the same year. They had a one-off reunion in 2013 and all turned up to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in April 2018 but, other than that, the other members have done little since. And Lance Bass still hasn’t gone into space.

Effectiveness of diss: 9/10

Backstreet Boys

Song: ‘Marshall Mathers’

Then: Along with NSYNC, Backstreet Boys were the biggest boyband on the planet, with 1999’s Millennium becoming the biggest-selling album of the year.

Reason for diss: Seemingly just a general desire to attack anything perceived as popular and/or cheesy, the Backstreet Boys were an obvious target, and thus Eminem declared that he was “anti-Backstreet Boys” - albeit this was arguably his softest diss yet.

Now: Follow-up album Black & Blue, released in 2000, again sold over a million in its first week, making them the first band since the Beatles to perform such a feat. The went on hiatus for two years, with Kevin Richardson departing, releasing two further albums as a quartet before Richardson rejoined in 2012. They continue to tour and release music today and are the biggest-selling boyband in history.

Effectiveness of diss: 0/10

Ricky Martin

Song: ‘Marshall Mathers’

Then: Martin was at the forefront of 1999’s Latin explosion, primarily via his enormous hit ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ and the self-titled parent album which sold an enormous 8 million and 22 million copies respectively.

Reason for diss: Along with Backstreet Boys, NSYNC and Britney Spears, poor Ricky was another soft and easy target for Eminem’s hate.

Now: Martin has continued to release music, primarily sung in Spanish, the latest being 2015’s A Quien Quiera Escuchar, although the turn of the millennium was undoubtedly his commercial peak. Perhaps in solidarity with one of his fellow dissees, in 2017, he portrayed Antion D’Amico in the true crime television series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.

Effectiveness of diss: 2/10

New Kids on the Block

Song: ‘Marshall Mathers’

Then: One of the first enormous boybands, NKOTB broke through with albums Hangin’ Tough and Step By Step, in 1989 and 1990 respectively, to become worldwide sensations. However, after accusations of lip-syncing and a general waning of popularity, they had disbanded by 1995.

Reason for diss: Just to establish his anti-boyband views, Eminem went after the forefathers of them all, rapping, “New Kids on the Block, sucked a lot of dick/Boy girl groups make me sick”.

After: The band reunited in 2008, and toured in 2011 with the Backstreet Boys. Their most recent album 10 was released in 2013, charting at an impressive number 6 on the Billboard chart.

Effectiveness of diss: 1

(Images: Rex/Getty)