Eminem: 50 Greatest Songs

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

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26. "If I Had" (1999)

Eminem is known for his mania, his scorched-earth delivery, and for packing syllables into stuffed lines, but he is charmingly even-keeled on "If I Had." That stems from the empty space in the production by the Bass Brothers, who helmed most of The Slim Shady LP. Their spare backdrops put a spotlight on Eminem's tongue-twisting heroics. The rapper articulates a clear class consciousness, though of a type more often found in country music: "I'm tired of bein' white trash, broke and always poor/Tired of takin' pop bottles back to the party store/I'm tired of not havin' a phone/Tired of not havin' a home to have one in if I did have one on." But don't think he's leading up to some final grandiloquent statement: "If I had one wish," Eminem concludes, "I would ask for a big enough ass for the whole world to kiss."

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