My history with Eminem is pretty typical for a mid-western white boy who grew up in the 90’s (I was born in Missouri, where Eminem was born and raised, and have lived there my whole life). He was popular while I was in high school and got into his music a bit to keep up with the popular music.
But like all those other white boys, as I matured and grew up, I began to appreciate the his music for more than just the catchy rhythms and funny lyrics.
I began to see Eminem as an incredible success story of a kid who grew up in a difficult environment and spat on the future that the world laid out for him, took control of his own destiny and changed the world.
And he does not use excuses to pardon himself from anything. He takes full responsibility for everything he’s done in life.
Whether or not you respect the man, you have to respect the path he took and the raw, honest lyrics that you find throughout his entire musical career.
1. Lose Yourself
I may be wrong about this, but I think “Lose Yourself” is the song that really put Eminem into pop culture. The song is about fighting tooth and nail for your dreams, and the 8 Mile movie is about (at least how I interpreted it) how great things can happen in the worst of circumstances if you keep working.
But somehow, with this being one of his more serious songs, it has become the song which has the most jokes and memes around it. So if you want to bring mom’s spaghetti up on stage, then “Lose Yourself” is the perfect karaoke song.
2. The Real Slim Shady
Before “Lose Yourself” there was “The Real Slim Shady.” This was where Eminem started to become a household name in the world of rap. To be honest, I don’t think there’s a lot of substance to this song. It’s a pretty standard “F*** everyone else” rap song, but lord knows it’s fun to sing and super catchy.
Related List: 30 of the Best Rap Karaoke Songs
And beyond that there aren’t too many choruses that are more to sing in a room full of inebriated adults than “won’t the real slim shady please stand up?”
3. Rap God
I’ve long considered “Rap God” to be Eminem’s magnum opus. It’s a complete marathon of a rap (6 minutes) with several different styles throughout. So before you queue this one up on stage you better practice the whole thing front to back and be damn sure you can handle it.
A common theme in Eminem’s music is that he talks about how much he’s accomplished and the standing he has as a rapper, and then talks about how nobody has managed to dethrone him from his pedestal. And this song is like the culmination of all those thoughts and feelings. Plus the “supersonic speed” section is bound to impress if you can pull it off.
4. ‘Till I Collapse
This is one of the slower paced Eminem songs. As such it works quite well for those who love his music, but can’t keep up with some of the more fast paced lyrics (like in “Rap God”).
It’s an anthem to everyone who keeps fighting every day of their life, and as usual packs some serious rage and anger into the delivery. Not to mention it has a catchy chorus that’s also very easy to sing.
5. Not Afraid
“Not Afraid” is one of the few Eminem songs that is more musical than lyrical. Yes, the verses are still full on rap, but there’s something about this song that just seems like 1. he’s singing through his raps and 2. it was made as a pop song.
I think it’s because the chorus is very long and Eminem actually does sing through the bridge. Either way, this is one of his more famous songs and has that staple fighting attitude.
6. Without Me
You don’t typically think of Eminem music as dance music (that would be Michael Jackson), but “Without Me” is a song that usually makes me want to dance.
Often, Eminem’s songs are pretty serious, or angry or violent, but “Without Me” is one of the more fun and playful songs he’s done. Now I wouldn’t ever call him a comedian, but his fearlessness in bringing up all the drama in his songs is something that great comedians also do very well.
7. Love The Way You Lie
You don’t get a lot of chances to do a male/female karaoke with Eminem’s music, but “Love The Way You Lie” is one of those rare chances to get up on stage for a nice karaoke duet.
There’s quite a bit more rap than female vocals, but who’s to say the lady on stage can’t sing a verse or two?
Related List: 55 Karaoke Songs For Women With Low Voices
Or hey, why not have a little fun and go for that soprano chorus yourself?
I am a pretty big fan of the NBA, and my favorite source of NBA news is Reddit, where I regularly here other users called “stans” as an insult. This song is usually given credit for the origin of the term (it basically just means an obsessive fan).
Honestly, I don’t think this song is particularly well known outside of those who follow rap and/or Eminem, but there’s just something about this song that I love. Eminem raps from the perspective of his fans, and in classic Slim fashion, he basically just gives those fans the middle finger.
9. Forgot About Dre
The truth is “Forgot About Dre” is my favorite ever rap song. This probably dates me, as the song came out in 1999 (ironically on an album titled 2001).
Since it’s actually a Dr. Dre song, I felt weird putting it near the top of my list. It features only 1 verse of Eminem (and all the choruses are Eminem as well), but 2 verses of Dre.
The song’s lyrics aren’t particularly heavy or impactful, but this song just hits all my personal tastes right on the nose. Musically (but not lyrically) a perfect rap for me.
10. My Name Is
Another of Eminem’s early hits, “My Name Is” is where we were introduced to Eminem’s alter ego, Slim Shady. This song has 90’s rap written all over it from the track to the vocal effects and the bass/drum over the verses.
Related List: Best 90’s Songs For Karaoke
So if you want to take Eminem back to the 90’s sound, this is your best bet for a successful karaoke song.
“Godzilla” probably deserves a higher spot on this list. It’s the only song here that’s somewhat recent, and since I don’t keep up on pop and rap as much as I used to, I’m just not very familiar with this one. And of course, as Eminem’s music has evolved my personal tastes were left back in the 2000’s and 2010’s.
Regardless, this is one of his best recent songs, and if you’re playing to a younger crowd, this will probably go over better as a karaoke song than most others on my list.
12. Airplanes Pt. II
I know I know, this is NOT an Eminem song, it’s not even half Eminem (like Forgot About Dre). It’s just a regular old pop song with one verse featuring Eminem.
But this song has two things I love.
First, it’s an opportunity for you to bring up 2, 3 or even 4 of your friends to do a group karaoke number. Everybody can take a particular part of the song since several artists are featured in this song. And second, this is actually one of my favorite verses from Eminem. It’s a perfect composition of what it takes to succeed in life, and kind of spits in the face of lazy people who wish upon shooting stars.