Rapper Eminem has been something of a controversial figure since he burst onto the music scene in 1999 with his hit single My Name Is. Since then, he has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, making him the best-selling hip hop artist of all time.
He may be famous for his rapping talents, but Eminem– whose real name is Marshall Mathers– has enjoyed some notoriety thanks to his provocative lyrics, and his tempestuous relationships with both his mother and ex-wife, Kim. He has faced accusations of homophobia and misogyny in his songs and has insulted fellow musicians and other celebrities in his so-called diss tracks for shock value.
Diss tracks may be part and parcel of the hip hop world, but Eminem has taken this controversial behavior way too far on several occasions, as you can see from the list below.
20 Rapped About Punching Lana Del Rey
Violent lyrics about women, and female celebrities, in particular, are part and parcel of Eminem’s tracks, but even some of his fans thought he had gone too far in 2014 when he released a video of a freestyle rap in which he proclaimed that he wanted to punch singer Lana Del Rey in the face.
19 Made Unfunny Comments About Christopher Reeve
Superman actor Christopher Reeve was paralyzed in a horse-riding accident in 1995 and proceeded to dedicate the rest of his life to campaigning for people with disabilities. Yet Eminem seems to think that Reeve is a legitimate target for hate, making jokes about the accident even after Reeve’s passing in 2004.
18 Blackballed Machine Gun Kelly From Hip Hop Events
Feuds are commonplace in the hip hop world, and Eminem certainly has the power to damage careers if he chooses to do so. One of his biggest beefs is with fellow rapper Machine Gun Kelly, who made some rather inappropriate comments on social media about Eminem’s daughter. MGK claimed that his feud with Eminem saw him blackballed from high-profile hip hop events.
17 Was Sued By His Own Mother Over Rap Lyrics
To say that Eminem has a difficult relationship with his mother, Deborah Nelson-Mathers, would be something of an understatement. He has said some terrible things about her in his tracks and in the press, and in 1999 she sued him for slander and won, though she only received $1,600 of the $25,000 pay-out.
16 Refused To Change The Lyrics In A Song With Justin Vernon
One of Eminem’s most unlikely collaborations was with Justin Vernon, the voice behind indie band Bon Iver. The track they worked on together, Fall, was problematic from the start, with Eminem refusing to change lyrics which Vernon felt went too far, and the two ended up having a very public falling-out.
15 Wrote Insulting Rap Lyrics About Tyler The Creator
In Fall, Eminem had taken the opportunity to rap some rather insulting, and quite frankly homophobic, lines about fellow hip hop star Tyler the Creator – something which hadn’t been discussed with Vernon before the track was released. Eminem later admitted himself that he had gone “too far” on this track.
14 Leaked Track About Rihanna And Chris Brown
Eminem has collaborated with Rihanna on two of his most successful singles, Monster and Love the Way You Lie. However, the duo may not be working together again any time soon after a ten-year-old track was leaked in 2019 which contained lines in support of Rihanna’s ex Chris Brown, who was convicted of assaulting the Umbrella singer.
13 Wrote Lyrics About Abusing Disabled Children
Before he became a rap megastar, Eminem’s lyrics were even more controversial, with a freestyle track called 4 Verses, recorded in 1997, including lines about assaulting disabled children. However, Eminem has always had a lot of time for his young fans, especially those with disabilities, so hopefully he has grown out of these problematic attitudes.
12 Featured His Young Daughter On A Track
Eminem may have had a very love-hate relationship with his ex-wife Kim, but he clearly dotes on Hailie, their daughter together. In fact, the rapper even featured Hailie on one of his tracks, I Think My Dad’s Gone Crazy, in 2002, despite the fact that Hailie was just seven-years-old and the song featured some very explicit lyrics.
11 Rapped About His Obsession With Mariah Carey
The rap world may be full of feuds and diss tracks, but no-one expected that Eminem and Queen of Pop, Marah Carey, would end up trading blows through their songs. It started when Eminem claimed that he and Mariah had dated, something the singer denied, and ended with him taking pot-shots at her in his 2009 single, The Warning.
10 Wrote Lyrics About A Serial Killer Survivor
It seems that no subject is taboo for Eminem and that no-one is safe from being targeted by the rapper in one of his tracks. One of the songs on his recent Kamikaze album made a reference to serial killer survivor Kala Brown, in lines that even some of his most loyal fans thought went too far.
9 Challenged Moby To A Fight At An Awards Ceremony
DJ Moby got the Eminem treatment in the 2002 single Without Me, but this was one feud that spilled out of the studio and into the real world. At the 2002 MTV VMA awards, Eminem used his acceptance speech for one of the four awards he won that night to threaten to hit Moby after the show was over.
8 Accused P Diddy Of Killing Tupac
Eminem may have been involved in some bitter feuds in his time, but compared to the rest of the rap world, where performers have been murdered for alleged slights, his risqué lyrics can seem rather timid. However, in a 2018 track, Eminem got involved in the east coast-west coast rivalry by claiming that P. Diddy was responsible for Tupac’s 1996 murder.
7 Was Allegedly The Target Of A Plot By Rival Suge Knight
Eminem’s close affiliation with Dr. Dre also saw him allegedly targeted by rap kingpin Suge Knight, currently serving a 28-year prison sentence for his part in a hit and run accident. Allegedly, Knight tried to have Eminem himself killed on two occasions for his vocal support of Dr. Dre, who was himself accused of trying to have Knight killed.
6 Problems With Substances
In recent years, Eminem has been very honest about the problem he has had with alcohol and illegal substances, which he says contributed to some of his bad behavior in his youth. However, the rapper has now been sober for 11 years, thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous and the support of celebrity pal, Elton John.
5 Recorded A Very Dark Track About His Ex-Wife, Kim
Eminem had a tempestuous relationship with ex-wife Kim, who he married in 1999, and again in 2006 before they separated for good the same year. He dedicated a very unflattering track to Kim on his Marshall Mathers LP, which ends with Eminem murdering his ex and dumping her body. He later apologized to Kim for the lyrics in the 2017 track Bad Husband.
4 Played A Part In Ruining Ja Rule's Rap Career
No longer content to just make money from his own records, Eminem founded Shady Records in 1999, and one of the first artists he signed was 50 Cent. Eminem and his protégé both ended up feuding with New York rapper Ja Rule, and it was a savage diss track from 50 Cent, released on Shady Records, that many people feel contributed to the end of Ja’s rap career.
3 Staged A Stunt At The VMAs With Sacha Baron Cohen
When comedian Sacha Baron-Cohen, dressed as his flamboyant comic creation Bruno, tumbled from the MTV Movie Awards stage and ended up in Eminem’s lap, his bare buttocks in the rapper’s face, observers feared that a savage diss track would be forthcoming from Em, who was known for his homophobic lyrics. It later emerged, however, that Eminem was in on the joke.
2 Convicted Of Carrying A Concealed Weapon
In 2001, Eminem pled guilty to charges of carrying a concealed weapon outside a Michigan bar and was sentenced to two years’ probation. The rap star had been arrested after allegedly pistol-whipping another man in the parking lot of the bar after he saw him kissing ex-wife Kim, though no criminal charges were brought for the assault.
1 And Had To Pay Compensation To A Man He Assaulted
However, the other man who was involved in the incident outside the bar, John Guerra, did bring a civil lawsuit against Eminem in 2002 for the physical and emotional damage caused by the incident. The pair eventually settled out of court, with Eminem forced to pay $100,000 to his alleged victim.
Sources: Shady Records, Billboard, MTV, EW, Rolling Stone