Eminem notched a few more Billboard chart accomplishments this week upon the release of his eighth studio album, The Marhsall Mathers LP 2: Not only did he score his first first number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart, but he became the first artist since the Beatles in 1964 to place at least four songs in the top 20 of the Hot 100 as a lead artist.
While that chart continues to be ruled by Lorde’s “Royals,” Em’s “The Monster” bowed highest at number three, while “Berzerk,” “Survival” and “Rap God” placed at numbers 15, 16, and 17, respectively. It was “The Monster” that also helped Eminem finally conquer the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart, an accomplishment it’s hard to believe he hadn’t already crossed off his list, especially considering the several Hot 100 number ones he’s had throughout his career (including “Lose Yourself” and “Love The Way You Lie,” which also featured Rihanna).
Eminem’s feat in the top 100 is particularly impressive as well, as he’s the first to achieve such a milestone since the Beatles did in April 1964 – and they actually landed six songs in the top 20, for two straight weeks no less (the first week was, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Twist and Shout,” “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Please Please Me,” and “I Saw Her Standing There”; while the following week “Do You Want to Know a Secret” rose into the top 20 as “I Saw Her Standing There” dropped out).
A handful of other artists have actually had at least four tracks in the top 20 in the years since – specifically 50 Cent in 2005, T-Pain in 2007-08, Lil Wayne in ’08 and Ludacris in 2010 – but those artists did so partly as featured artists, while both Eminem and the Beatles did so as lead artists.
Despite the success of the four Marshall Mathers LP 2 singles, Eminem has once again found himself at the center of controversy, particularly over lines in “Rap God” that many have perceived as homophobic. The pop singer Sia, who identifies as queer and recorded “Beautiful Pain” with Eminem for the album, said this week that she would donate the money she earns from the track to the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center to benefit homeless LGBT youth.
Eminem addressed the criticisms and his use of homophobic phrases during a recent chat with Rolling Stone, saying, “I think people know my personal stance on things and the personas that I create in my music. And if someone doesn’t understand that by now, I don’t think there’s anything I can do to change their mind about it.”