Emerging in the late ‘90s, rapper Eminem shook up a moribund music scene with his stellar verbal dexterity, lyrical fearlessness and total disregard for common decency. His stunning body of work helped birth a new painfully confessional strain of hip-hop that is still bearing fruit today. Over the course of his 25-year career, Eminem has also produced a slew of massively popular music videos. Here are his five best.
“My Name Is”
The Philip Atwell-directed video for “My Name Is” served as a brilliant introduction for Detroit’s best rapper. It’s full of the smart aleck humor, rapid-fire pop culture references and gleefully irreverence that made Marshall Mathers one of the new century’s biggest recording artists.
“Like Toy Soldiers”
Although Eminem is not and has never claimed to be a gangster, he is connected to that world and is acutely aware of the toll it takes on the people who live within it. The Saline Project’s haunting video sees the rhyme slinger ruminate on the lives that have been lost to rap game rivalries turned violent.
As “Without Me” was Eminem first solo single in two years, its primary purpose was to remind the ever fickle music buying public why he deserved their attention. Its Joseph Khan-directed promo clip, which features snarky superhero parodies, devastating Moby disses and some Osama bin Laden cosplay, proved that there was plenty of fresh spring water left in the well.
“The Real Slim Shady”
As great as The Slim Shady LP was, the fact that Eminem’s style was so uproariously funny and offensive, it seemed unlikely that he’d have any staying power in a then serious and safe musical pop landscape. However, Dr. Dre and Philip Atwell’s anarchic clip proved that the rapper wasn’t through captivating listeners by hurling Molotov cocktails at the culture.
The dark and cerebral “Stan” showed audiences that Eminem had more to offer than clever wordplay and subversive humor. Its spellbinding tale of an obsessive fan’s descent into madness is incredibly affecting and indicative of Mathers’ skills as a storyteller. Its Philip Atwell helmed music video does an excellent job of realized the song’s narrative in a way that is as unforgettable as it is disturbing.