Eminem: 50 Greatest Songs

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

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6. "Kill You" (2000)

In late 1999, Eminem called his mentor Dr. Dre. He doesn’t remember what they were supposed to discuss, but he was struck by the jauntily frenetic jazz loop (possibly borrowed from Jacques Loussier's 1979 composition "Pulsion," as a lawsuit claimed) that Dre was tinkering with in the background and demanded to use it. Though Em already had a triple-platinum, Grammy-winning album and a Rolling Stone cover touting his "dirty white boy rap," he was eager to warn folks that he was only getting started. (To quote Em's Angry Blonde: "If anything … I got worse.") To wit, "Kill You" uncorks a delirium of comic-book revenge, shading irony with savagery to bait and ridicule his critics. But the track is most fascinating impressive for its absurdly specific and self-aware depiction of an unhinged superstar (though, unfortunately, most of the ire is at the expense of women and features a homophobic slur). Vice presidential wife Lynne Cheney was among those taken aback. During a 2000 Senate hearing, she cited "Kill You" – in particular, Em's perverse revenge scenario against his estranged mom, who had sued him for $10 million after lyrics about her appeared on The Slim Shady LP – as one reason the music industry needed a rating and labeling system to protect children from harmful subject matter.

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