Eminem: 50 Greatest Songs

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

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22. "Criminal" (2000)

"'Criminal' was my new 'Still Don't Give a Fuck' for The Marshall Mathers LP," Eminem wrote in the 2000 book Angry Blonde. "That's why it's the last song on the record. It sums up the whole album." Perhaps by design, "Criminal" comments on the controversy whipped up by Em's debut, while at the same time ensuring that the follow-up album will generate even more outraged headlines. The first verse's "Hate fags? The answer's yes" was treated like a smoking gun in op-eds about Em's homophobia, but that line, just like "Relax, guy, I like gay men" a few bars later, feels more like a shock-value punchline than a sincere declaration. Politically, "Criminal" is irresponsibly scattershot, but as a thesis statement for Eminem's refusal of responsibility in the name of artistic license, it's terribly on point. 

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