“My Name Is” by Eminem
At the time of the release of “My Name Is”, Eminem was a virtually-unknown artist. Yes, he had already hooked up with Dr. Dre, the hottest hip-hop producer of the era. And by extension he got put on by Interscope Records, one of the most-influential labels of ‘90s and well into the 21st century.
But his first single, i.e. the one he dropped prior to this one, flopped. Yes, “I Don’t Give a F–k” appeared on a couple of Billboard charts. But it wasn’t actually getting any airplay. It was rather “My Name Is”, as its title implies, which really introduced Eminem to the world. And boy, what an introduction it was.
Take for instance the fact that he was sued, by his own moms even for stating in the song that ‘she does more d-pe than he does’. Indeed the true title of this track, as displayed in its entirety in the chorus (and cover art), is “my name is Slim Shady”. And out of Eminem’s three rap characters (Eminem, Marshal Mathers and Slim Shady), it is this persona which is the most off-the-rails.
A Funny Song
But that being established, as mentioned in the lower section of the article, Eminem considers this song, in his own words, as he “being funny”. Or stated differently, this lyrics are comedic in nature. They’re meant to make you laugh as opposed to serving as a true reflection of the artist at hand.
Or let’s just say they’re not intended to be taken seriously. Rather the point of it all is that Eminem is sort of jerk for lack of better word – the type you would find in the rude comedies of the 1990s.
So for instance, he can make jokes about ‘ripping Pamela Lee’s t-ts off’ or ‘impregnating’ a Spice Girl.
And we can safely conclude that rollin’ with Dr. Dre and all, that he was in fact a weed aficionado. However, Slim asserting that he smoked an entire “pound of grass” in a speedy manner would logically be an exaggeration. In the process of getting that point across, he also uses the phrases “fat b–ch” and “sl-t”. And Shady knows people will get pissed off by him utilizing such terminology. But he feels as if it is his divine mission to “piss the world off”, i.e. make as many people upset as possible.
Truly Crazy Lyrics
Interesting to note is that at the beginning of the first verse, Em alludes to his influence over children – one of his regular subthemes throughout his career.
Now keep in mind that, as noted earlier, this was before he even blew up. So it’s almost like Slim Shady knew he would become famous or influential or that people would be influenced by the image he portrays. But the entire related metaphor of him ‘sticking nails under his eyelids’, more to the point, is meant to illustrate that he’s crazy.
Or perhaps more accurately, considering the first half of second verse for instance, is the idea that the rapper is crudely-countercultural. He fantasizes about things like slapping his junior high English teacher, sticking his pe–s “in the tip cup” at a strip club and likens himself to an “extraterrestrial running over pedestrians”. So we can see that Eminem’s thoughts are destructive also.
About Being Famous
In the second half of the passage, he once again speaks to being famous. So obviously by this juncture in his personal history, he had in fact already had some run-ins with fame. But perhaps said statements are meant to focus on him having made it in general, i.e. securing a record deal and actually being put out by the monumental Dr. Dre.
But on this particular occasion, the reason he brings this subject up in the first place is to let it be known that he’d predicted he would “be a famous rapper” to his mother long ago. And once he did accomplish this goal, he would “make a record about doing drugs and name it after her”.
So ultimately, Em bragging about his fame this time around is connected to the overall idea of his mother being a drug addict. Moreover, whereas the rapper may genuinely appreciate his female fans, overall as far as fandom is concerned, he isn’t compelled to be nice to them either.
So again Slim Shady is, according to Wikipedia, Eminem’s “sadistic, violent after ego”. And this was a character he developed around the late 1990s. On this particular song, Em may be ‘sadistic’ and ‘violent’, though in sort of a dark humor sort of way. But as time further progressed, Eminem/Slim Shady would go on to drop some tracks that caused a more-considerable degree of controversy.
The music video to this track was directed by a filmographer who would go on to become a regular collaborator of Eminem’s named Phillip Atwell. And the visual also proved to be quite successful, taking home its own 1999 MTV Video Music Award. It won this award in the category of Best New Artist in a Video.
In the video Eminem himself imitates the likes of Bill Clinton (US President), Johnny Carson (talk show host), and Marilyn Manson (musician).
When did Eminem release “My Name Is”?
This track is from “The Slim Shady LP”, which some readers may recognize as being Eminem’s second album and first under a major label. And those labels would be Interscope Records and Aftermath Entertainment, who are still with the artist over two decades into the future.
Eminem came out with one single before this one, 1998’s “Just Don’t Give a F–k”, which served as the lead single from the above-mentioned project. However, that song didn’t catch on. It was only until “My Name Is” blew up that the rapper established, no pun intended, a name for himself.
“My Name Is” was officially released on the 25th of January, 1999.
Success of “My Name Is”
Even at that early stage in his career, this classic allowed Eminem to win a Grammy (for Best Rap Solo Performance, 2000). It also went double-platinum in the US and platinum in the UK.
In fact the song peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart entered the official singles charts of nearly 20 nations. And this includes appearing on 5 US Billboard charts. In doing so, it broke the top 40 of the Hot 100 (and remaining on the list for 10 weeks total).
And even beyond its chart showing, the track has been ranked amongst the “100 Greatest Songs of the ‘90s” by VH1. And in 2009, Q Magazine even placed it in the top 10 of their ranking of the “1001 Best Songs Ever”.
Eminem actually doesn’t like this song
Despite the popularity of “My Name Is”, Eminem went on to express a disdain for the song, even during live performances.
More specifically he was irked that his comedic raps, like this one, tend the get more shine than the “real” songs he puts out, the ones he puts his “heart and soul into”, such as “The Way I Am” (2000). And by comparison yes, the former was a lot better received than the latter.
More Interesting Facts about “My Name Is”
Dr. Dre, who has already been given a couple of shoutouts on this post, is the sole producer of “My Name Is”. And he also co-wrote the track with Eminem and Labi Siffre.
The latter artist is actually a relatively-unknown British singer from the late 20th century. He is credited because the instrumental to “My Name Is” samples a track he wrote/released back in the 1970s entitled “I Got The” (1975). One of Siffre’s best known works is his 1987 hit single titled “(Something Inside) So Strong“.
Furthermore Labi is gay. And originally “My Name Is” featured what can be deemed as an anti-homosexual joke which Siffre made Eminem omit before granting him permission to use his song.
Dre and Eminem recorded this track, according to Dre, in a very short amount of time during the first day they ever actually recorded together in the studio.
Royce Da 5’9”, a famous rapper in his own right and a long-time homey of Eminem’s, was also at that studio session. And he described the conception of this song in particular as “one of those magical moments”.
Reportedly there is a secret (though similar) message in the chorus of this song if one were to play it backwards.
Concerning the aforementioned lawsuit which Debbie Maters, Eminem’s mother, filed against the rapper for slandering her, she actually tried to score a solid $10,000,000 from sonny boy.
And she wasn’t only upset about this song but also the things he said about her in the media in general. Either way, at the end of the day the judge only awarded her $25,000. And even the bulk of that money ended up having to go to her attorney.
Was “My Name Is” released as a single?
Yes. Yes, it was. It was the second single Em and his management released from his iconic “The Slim Shady LP” project. The following three other singles emerged from the album:
- “Guilty Conscience”
- “Just Don’t Give”
- “Role Model“