Eminem: 50 Greatest Songs

The best from the bloody, bombastic, brilliant career of the hip-hop troublemaker

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24. "Brain Damage" (1999)

In "Brain Damage," Eminem tells the tale of DeAngelo Bailey, a bully who terrorized him in junior high. And in April 1999, a few weeks after The Slim Shady LP hit the charts, the real DeAngelo Bailey stood up and granted an interview to Rolling Stone to confirm that the grisly, over-the-top song, where a young Marshall's brain falls out of his skull, was at least somewhat based on factual events. "There was a bunch of us that used to mess with him. You know, bully-type things … We flipped him right on his head at recess," Bailey recalled. But in 2001, after Eminem's star had risen higher and his mother Debbie Mathers was awarded a small settlement over his lyrics, Bailey had a change of heart and sued the rapper, unsuccessfully, for $1 million. 

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