“The Real Slim Shady” by Eminem
“The Real Slim Shady” is true vintage Eminem. It is themed on the rapper boasting about his disturbing influence on pop culture. And in the midst of it all, what really made this track appealing, besides its imaginative and comical flow, is the fact that the vocalist uses it to dis many well-known celebrities.
The track begins with Eminem coming off as someone akin to an auditorium announcer. And what he is requesting is that “the real Slim Shady please stand up”. This would imply that there are a bunch of fake Eminems in the group – so much so that it is hard to pick out the real one. And this is the same apparent theme which the choruses featured throughout the song are based on.
“The Real Shady”
However, Eminem does not use the verses themselves to attack imitators as one would presume. Rather he operates more along the lines of proving he is indeed “the real Shady”. And his character Slim Shady, as we all know, is not only lyrically-gifted but more notably mentally-disturbed. This becomes evident from the onset of the first verse where he relays a metaphor about being a White rapper (they were really rare in those days) by comparing the situation to abuse actress Pamela Anderson allegedly suffered via rock star Tommy Lee, whom she was married to shortly before this song was released.
Then he makes a concealed callback to “My Name Is”, the lead single from his previous album. And therein he insinuates that he murdered his famous producer, Dr. Dre. Next he brings up the fact that women think “he’s so cute” despite his off-putting mannerisms and even admits he “probably got a couple of screws up in (his) head loose”, meaning he likely possesses mental issues. This eventually leads to the rapper speaking against unfair censorship of his art by referencing a slapstick comedian named Tom Green who once “humped a dead moose”, reportedly on an MTV comedy program. And the section ultimately climaxes with Eminem making fun of, if you will, cannibalism and homosexuality. And that’s just the first verse.
Attacks on other Celebrities
Subsequently the most-famous parts of the songs are those where Eminem disses other celebrities. For instance, at the beginning of the second verse, he says “F him” in reference to rapper/actor Will Smith. This was reportedly due to a little-known beef between the two artists. And Shady really got offended due to critical remarks the Fresh Prince made after besting him at the MTV Video Music Awards the year prior to this song coming out.
He also for the most part states that songstress Christian Aguilera had intimate affairs with MTV personality Carson Daly and popular musician Fred Durst. And his tiff with her was based on comments she made during an interview (once again on MTV) where she revealed that Eminem (despite his misogynistic character) had secretly married his girlfriend, Kim Scott. Moreover Slim implies that he too had intimate relations with Aguilera.
And in the third verse he also throws a jab at “little girl and boy groups”. And it has been known that Chris Kirkpatrick, member of the boy band NSYNC, took offense to this in addition to how the group was parodied in the song’s award-winning music video.
But outside of the disses, the rest of the song is really dedicated to Eminem touting how influential he is on mainstream society. And as implied earlier, “The Real Slim Shady” isn’t actually an attack on people who imitate him. Rather the purpose of this track is to point out that the artist does indeed have copycats, even “a million” according to his own estimations.
And more to the point, this tirade is to show that a lot of people follow the rapper and in fact want to “walk, talk and act like” him. Indeed “every single person” has “a Slim Shady” – as in a mentally-disturbed persona – “lurking” in their psyche. And Slim Shady, as an artist, appeals to that particular mindset. So Eminem isn’t disturbed by having such an influence on people but rather seems proud of it. In fact all things considered, the best way to describe this song perhaps is as his ode to mass-personal anarchy, which his own celebrity has contributed to, much to the chagrin of the society at large.
The music video to “The Real Slim Shady”, which has garnered over 400 million views on YouTube, was directed by Philip G. Atwell and Dr. Dre.
Celebrities who make an appearance in the music video include the following:
- The track’s co-producer (and Eminem’s label boss) Dr. Dre
- Eminem’s rap crew D-12
- Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit
- Comedienne Kathy Griffin
A Great Hit
“The Real Slim Shady” marked the first time Eminem ever topped the UK Singles Chart. And the song also scored a number one in Iceland, Ireland, Scotland and Billboard’s Eurochart Hot 100. Furthermore, it charted in almost 20 other countries.
In Eminem’s home country of the United States, the track peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
It also achieved multi-Platinum status in the United States and Canada.
“The Real Slim Shady” was placed at number 396 on NME’s 2014 compilation of “The 500 Greatest Song of All Time”.
And the song, in conjunction with its music video, managed to achieve a number of notable accolades. For instance, the track won a Grammy Award in the category of the “Best Rap Solo Performance”.
Release Date of “The Real Slim Shady”
This Eminem classic was released by Em’s own label alongside Aftermath and Interscope Records on 16 May 2000. It was the lead single from Eminem’s third album, “The Marshall Mathers LP”.
Writing Credits for “The Real Slim Shady”
Eminem actually wrote the song at the last minute. This was due to Interscope’s insistence that the album feature an introductory song, similar to the role “My Name Is” played on Eminem’s previous album, “The Slim Shady LP” (1999).
One of Eminem’s most Controversial Songs
This track is without a shred of doubt one of the most controversial tracks released by Eminem. Owing to its highly controversial nature, a couple of radio stations were actually fined thousands of dollars by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for playing this song (in one case even the edited version). However, the fines were withdrawn after it had been argued that doing so was against the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (i.e. the freedom of speech).