We continue to compile every Eminem feature from the course of his career. This week we tackle the years 2000 until 2005.
In the small time frame of 2001-2005, Marshall Mathers a.k.a. Eminem was completing his transition from bleach blonde sweatpant-wearing rap prodigy into full-fledged pop culture phenomenon. Entering this period, Em already had The Slim Shady LP and The Marshall Mathers LP under his belt, along with two Grammys for his exceptional work thus far. “Stan” - arguably Eminem’s most acclaimed song - was conquering both television and radio airwaves. You’d be hard to miss Eminem, whether on TV or in the magazines, and soon, the movies as well.
As Em accrued critical acclaim, he garnered high profile enemies, too. Detractors like the FCC and GLAAD had emerged, vexed by his controversial lyrical content. For every sold out concert tour, there was a protest in his name.
Despite polarizing opinions of him swirling, Eminem was still a scolding hot commodity and an oft sought-out collaborator. Although having little left to prove in the way of self worth, Em would still cut his teeth on numerous tracks as a guest player. If anything, Eminem’s success, filtered through his angst over the constant scrutinization of his work, made the Detroit emcee even more of a threat on a guest track.
The dude was liable to go off, during this period as much as ever, making this week’s journey into Every Eminem Feature Ever as juicy as all hell.
Every Monday, we'll be reviewing another four-year period of Eminem features, until we reach present day. Today, in Every Eminem Feature, we conquer 2001-2005. Onwards.
One foot still in the doorway of the underground, Eminem lends a helping hand to his old buddies, Outsidaz. Em is one of many uncredited voices in the titular track of the album, providing a gang vocal on the chorus alongside Rah Digga and others. This would be the last time Eminem collaborated with the rap ensemble on a track of their own.
JAY-Z - Renegade (Ft. Eminem)
If the title didn’t warn you, Eminem goes absolutely ballistic on this notable track (that he also produced). The first of many collaborations between two rap icons, “Renegade” in particular was the subject of much discussion among fans and rap pundits after Nas made reference to it on his classic JAY-Z diss track, “Ether”, saying “Eminem murdered you on your own shit.” JAY-Z definitely holds his own, here, but Em out-shining Hov is a hot take worth considering all these years removed. No matter what side you fall on, “Renegade” still remains as one of his all-time best featuring efforts.
Sticky Fingaz - What If I Was White (Ft. Eminem)
Before his foray into acting, Sticky Fingaz called upon his friend Eminem to ruminate on a question Em could lend his expertise to: “What if Sticky Fingaz was white?” The track is a mostly comical exploration, with Eminem providing his voice to the hook and his trademark goofy ad-libs over verses by the rapper-turned-Blade. It all comes to a screeching halt when Em asks “Yo, what if I was white?” during the song’s final moments, which, y’know, doesn’t make any sense.
Amid the burgeoning beefs between Eminem and both Canibus & Jermaine Dupree, this track served as a drawing of battle lines, seeing Xzibit take sides with Em. Xzibit was a formidable muscle, putting the diss track on his Man vs. Machine album, providing it a popular platform for public consumption. It’s a tough track, made complete with the crooning of late great Nate Dogg.
Promatic - Serious (Ft. Eminem & Swifty McVay)
2002 was a year in which Eminem had lots of industry beef. It was the year that gave us “Nail in the Coffin” and “The Sauce,” among others, so it’s no shocker that the topic would come up on his cameos. Among the track-list of the rare Promatic team-up between Proof and Dogmatic is the gem known as “Serious”, which Eminem features on. The song sticks with the trend of Eminem’s increasing paranoia towards his detractors, questioning the value of beefing with him in the song’s chorus. “Do you really want beef?” Em asks, repeatedly, aghast at the very idea.
Despite usually putting out music together under their duo name Bad Meets Evil, Eminem gets an old fashioned feature credit on “Rock City” - a love letter to their shared home of Detroit, off of an album by the same name. Em let’s his best take center stage here, with no verse to call his own. He does, however, deliver the bridge and chorus, giving the track the necessary vigor required for a title track.
2002 was also the year that Eminem began to shepherd in mentees of his own, among them: G-Unit. His Godfathering of the crew was evident in his brief cameo on their God’s Plan mixtape. Eminem doesn’t rap here, but instead has a voicemail he left praising G-Unit’s work featured. We'll let it slide as a 'feature.'
As soon as Eminem’s echoing hook starts being howled over snares, claps, and record scratches to kickoff “Hey Lady,” you know you’re in good hands. Although he’s a feature, Em’s got most of the stage time on this track, and for good reason. Obie, a talented emcee in his own right, gets lost in the shuffle here. He’s just the protege of a very talented man.
Obie Trice - Shit Hits The Fan (Ft. Eminem & Dr. Dre)
“Shit Hits The Fan” is yet another example of how Eminem didn't hesitate to share his shine with some of Shady Records’ budding emcees, and true friends. However, this is the only one that also features Slim Shady's own mentor, Dr. Dre. Em was all over Obie Trice’s debut album Cheers, giving the rookie and fellow Detroit native a large spotlight to share.
Obie Trice - We All Die One Day (Ft. 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks & Eminem)
A showcase of the most formidable members of the crew Eminem was rolling with at the time, “We All Die One Day” is one of many label team-up tracks from this time period. While the concept is pretty much standard fare, it is a standout as an Eminem production. The beat, in retrospect, sports a minimalism that is ahead its time.
Obie Trice - Hands On You (Ft. Eminem)
“Hands On You” may be the weakest of the Trice/Em collaborations. Its message is the most basic (“hey, I’m feeling you, let’s have sex!”) and the beat hasn’t exactly aged well-- nevertheless, Em does just fine here as a cameo, but on an album so laden with appearances by him, this one falls flat in comparison.
Obie Trice - Outro (Ft. Eminem & D12)
Strangely billed separately from D12, Eminem leads off another team-up track off Obie Trice's Cheers, this time with his D12 brethren. It’s a big Detroit posse cut, a theme of the time, which leads the album to its strong conclusion.
Eminem brings Obie Trice along for the lead single off the Cradle 2 The Grave soundtrack, an action movie starring Jet Li and DMX. This song kicks ass, and rightfully so given the ass-kicking it scored in the film. It’s mostly the sort of violent verses Eminem can deliver in his sleep, but it's extra fun due to the company he’s keeping and the campiness of the film itself.
50 Cent - Patiently Waiting Ft. Eminem
Not only is “Patiently Waiting” arguably the best track not named “In Da Club” off of 50 Cent’s classic Get Rich or Die Tryin’, it’s arguably Eminem’s best feature during this period of time we’re focusing on this week. With a creeping chorus, a name-dropping verse and a haunting instrumental all to his credit, Em plays triple duty here-- while taking good care of the still-evolving 50 Cent.
On an album stuffed to the brim with successful singles, “Patiently Waiting” was unfortunately not one of them, however it still managed to chart at #56 on the Hip Hop charts based on word of mouth alone.
“Don’t Push Me” is a Shady Records stand-out on Get Rich Or Die Tryin’,with verses about paranoia and short tempers from both Eminem and 50’s G-Unit cohort Lloyd Banks. Eminem is an expert on the subject matter and acts as the main event, stepping up to the plate last, closing out the track with its most impressive verse. The track is yet another Eminem production, with Em acting as a boost for his protégés.
Eminem makes another soundtrack appearance in the form of “One Day At A Time,” this time rubbing shoulders with the ghost of 2Pac. Off of the Resurrection soundtrack - one of the superior 2Pac documentaries - Eminem is given a huge honor by sharing mic time with the late California great, albeit posthumously. No stranger to the art of collaborating with the dead, Shady had previously appeared on a posthumous Biggie Smalls record.
Boo-Ya TRIBE - 911 (Ft. Eminem & B-Real)
Eminem reunites with B-Real of Cypress Hill, after having originally collaborated on Cypress Hill’s "Rap Superstar." This by way of a guest feature on Boo-Ya TRIBE’s “911.” After their debut New Funky Nation in 1990, The American Samoan born rap ensemble had developed a niche audience by leaning into the Rap/Metal sound more and more. As a result, Em and B-Real’s mutual energies’ serve as nice compliments to Boo-Ya TRIBE in 2003.
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40 Glocc - We Just Came To Party (Ft. Eminem)
Notorious crip turned rapper & short-lived G-Unit Records signee 40 Glocc was lucky enough to book Eminem for a hook, as part of his debut LP The Jakal. Somehow, the track didn’t even make it to the album, leaving the LP with no high profile features. The album went on to sell less than 4,000 copies worldwide.
The beat and Em’s contributions would be recycled for an unreleased version of the track by Rah Digga, which you can find floating around on the internet.
Eminem commiserates with some of the game’s toughest emcees, caught smack dab in the middle of a The LOX reunion during a time wherein those were few and far between. By singing on the chorus and rapping a characteristically dense verse, Eminem lends his own street credibility to the often discussed LOX hometown of D-Block - not that Em’s confirmation of thuggish authenticity was really needed. Whether necessary or not, Em’s verse ranks up there with some of his best guest efforts.
Strike - Pale Moonlight (Ft. Eminem and Dina Rae)
Ever hear the story of Eminem bailing out a Detroit emcee so he could play a battle-rapper in 8 Mile? Strike’s that dude. Eminem didn’t let the favors stop there, going the extra mile for Strike and delivering a beat and a short little verse for “Pale Moonlight.” Buried among 20+ tracks, on a rare Strike mixtape, Em’s verse is a quick little sing-song that's basically just about trying to bag.
“Warrior Part 2” plays the role of obligatory group cut for Lloyd Banks’ debut album The Hunger for More, and it does the trick perfectly. Nate Dogg provides the fresh hook as each emcee takes their turn making their case for ultimate warrior. All three emcees chew the scenery on this track, relishing in their alpha personas.
2Pac - Black Cotton (Ft. Eminem, Young Noble, Kastrom, El Noble)
While it’s nice that Eminem got the call to work on another Pac project, the fact that it was for a track that equates the rap game to black slavery is a little suspect, to say the least. Limited - probably wisely - to just a chorus here, the only thing to note of this track is the legendary company being kept and Em’s controversial presence on a track of this nature. There are better posthumous 2Pac songs and better suited Eminem songs.
2Pac - Soldier Like Me (Ft. Eminem)
“Soldier Like Me” is a far better fit for Eminem than “Black Cotton” - both tracks originating from Pac’s posthumous Loyal to the Game. The song is the first track on the album, remixed and mastered by Eminem himself. Em does a convincing job frankensteining the “unreleased” track to life, using unearthed Pac verses and providing near-perfect production.
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50 Cent - Gatman & Robbin (Ft. Eminem)
Right in the heart of the Benzino beef, Eminem lends a hand to 50 Cent to form a one-two punch diss track. Not the most memorable of the bunch that were brought on by the rivalry, but still a good opportunity to listen to 50 and Em go in together. Despite not going down in the rap annals as an all-time diss track, it does deserve an award for its title.
Eminem joined some of the early-2000’s finest when hopping on the “Lean Back” remix with Mase, Lil Jon and Remy Ma. Already sweeping the nation, the remix kept the Fat Joe comeback track in rotation that much more heavily. Em’s verse is groovier than his usual intense demeanor, embracing the party vibe of the smash hit single.
Another case of Eminem providing some added star power for those close to him, Em featured alongside Obie Trice for a track off Tony Yayo's debut album Thoughts of a Predicate Felon, which dropped in '05. Em also had a hand in the production of this song, alongside Jeff Bass-- perhaps unsurprisingly once you click play and hear that haunting, urgent drum-riddled beat. It's definitely a sound we've come to associate with Em.
Bizarre - Hip Hop (Ft. Eminem)
The two D12 members connected as individual solo artists on Bizarre's "Hip Hop" off his solo album Hannicap Circus. Like Tony Yayo, this served as Bizarre's debut album and introduction to the public, displaying his controversial-comedic rap persona, which would mesh well with Em's dark comedic overtures as well. On this particular collaboration, though, they reflect on the current state of hip hop.
Notorious B.I.G. - It Has Been Said (Ft. Eminem, Diddy, Obie Trice)
Duets: The Final Chapter was a clever concept that paired Biggie posthumously with numerous emcees. Here, with Eminem. The track was one of the better ones off the album, which received mixed-to-negative reviews. Even though Em collaborated on a Notorious B.I.G. track before, this one stands out as special because of its Diddy feature as well. One question, though: how do you open an album of duets with a track that features four rappers?
Hush - Off to Tijuana (Ft. Eminem, Kuniva, Swift)
In this dark track about a thug’s life on the run, Eminem and his D12 sidekicks have enough real-life experience to improvise from. Eminem provides one of his trademark half sung/half rapped choruses, dissonantly discussing a make-believe mad dash in a getaway car. Kuniva and Swift get more mic time than their D12 captain.
The Game - We Ain't (Ft. Eminem)
The Game’s debut The Documentary remains as one of Shady/Aftermath’s best releases, and “We Ain't” is Eminem’s sole feature on the album. Although The Documentary is certainly feature-heavy (appearances are made by Mary J. Blige, Busta Rhymes, among others), the album stands out in this retrospective because - unlike Obie Trice’s Cheers - Eminem’s guiding hand wasn’t needed as heavily here. With all that said, The Game does appear to adopt Em’s flow for this song, especially in its final verse.
Another scrapped track from Quo’s never-to-be Shady/Aftermath album. With a handful of Eminem collaborations scrapped, including ones with beats Em made (like “Atlanta”), it makes you wonder how severe the falling out between Quo and Mathers had to be to leave so much money on the table.
“I tried to be on some ‘Nah, I don’t like that; that ain’t a hit.’ I was really arguing with the top-selling rapper of all time on what a fucking hit was,” said a humbled Quo earlier this year, “What a dummy idiot I was.”
Stat Quo - Classic Shit (Ft. Eminem)
How cruel a fate, for a song with the title of “Classic Shit” to fall into obscurity due to the hubris of Stat Quo. It’s hard to believe anyone would question the song making ability of Eminem in the prime of his career, but Quo was admittedly stubborn and alienated himself from Eminem. The result? This track and Quo’s Statlanta LP never seeing the light of day in an official capacity.
Trick Trick - No More to Say (Ft. Eminem & Proof)
This is yet more evidence of Eminem not only representing his city, but helping to put others on from his city. Bringing along his late best friend Proof, Em adds a guest verse to Detroit native Trick Trick's "No More to Say," off the rapper's debut album, The People Vs. Trick Trick. "No More to Say" has that menacing production sound that's trademark to Em during this period of time-- he produced the record.
Trick Trick - Welcome 2 Detroit (Ft. Eminem)
This song was the only single released by Trick Trick, off the aforementioned debut, The People Vs. Trick Trick. With Eminem's assist on the hook (plus a verse), it would go on to enter the Billboard Hot 100 at #90.
Proof - Oil Can Harry (Ft. Eminem)
The late Proof had his best friend and D12 collaborator Eminem help usher in his new persona - Oil Can Harry - into the scene on a track by the same name. After retiring his previous nickname of Dirty Harry a year prior, Proof dedicated this song to the new alter-ego he was adopting - that of, or in homage to, Mighty Mouse. Villain Oil Can Harry. This song would wind up being recycled years later as part of a Proof tribute album. R.I.P.