Eminem’s career has been blessed with a slew of guest spots from some of the world’s most celebrated artists, which has us thinking about the best Eminem collaborations throughout his long and varied career. From legendary, scene-stealing guest spots to the times he combined forces with others on his own work, musical alliances have inspired Eminem to deliver some of his greatest performances.
Here we celebrate 15 of the best Eminem collaborations of all time.
‘Guilty Conscience’ (featuring Dr Dre) (1999)
This early single sees Eminem pit himself against his mentor in a battle of moral wills, with Dr Dre playing the guilty-conscience angel to Eminem’s opposing devil (delivered in full nihilist Slim Shady mode). In an astonishingly cheeky sleight of hand, Em throws Dre’s past misdemeanours back at him.
Dr Dre: ‘Forgot About Dre’ (2001)
Keen to give full exposure to his young protégé, Dre returned the favour with a number of guest spots on his album 2001. ‘Forgot About Dre’ remains one of the best Eminem collaborations, as the man born Marshall Mathers proves himself worthy of Dre’s confidence, delivering a series of rapid-fire, tongue-twisting rhymes over a classic Dre beat.
Jay Z: ‘Renegade’ (2001)
The Jiggaman only handed out one guest spot on his sixth album, The Blueprint. Such was the jaw-dropping brilliance of Eminem’s slew of stunningly dexterous verses, he arguably outshone the in-form Jay Z himself. Rival Nas certainly thought so, later rapping the infamous diss: “Eminem killed you on your own s__t.”
‘Stan’ (featuring Elton John) (2001)
Eminem has pulled off no shortage of eye-opening collaborations in his career, but few can match the surprise that greeted this legendary rendition of ‘Stan’ alongside Elton John at the 2001 Grammy Awards. Long vilified for his seemingly homophobic lyrics, the stirring performance and post-song embrace with the openly gay singer saw Eminem answering his critics in inimitable style. Its inclusion on the deluxe edition of greatest hits release Curtain Call ensured its place among the best Eminen collaborations.
The Notorious BIG: ‘Dead Wrong’ (1999)
Taken from the Brooklyn legend’s posthumous album Born Again, this paean to hip-hop nihilism finds Biggie delivering a set of grisly threats in his typically dexterous style before Eminem ups the ante with a series of rhymes as shocking in theme as they were creatively brilliant.
50 Cent: ‘Patiently Waiting’ (2003)
Signed jointly to Dre and Eminem’s record labels, Aftermath and Shady Records, Mathers gave his protégé the ultimate seal of approval with this appearance on Fiddy’s hugely successful debut album, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’. Em uses his bars to find common ground with his collaborator with some of his most memorably dramatic lyrics.
BoB: ‘Airplanes, Part II’ (featuring Hayley Williams and Eminem) (2010)
In this uplifting testament to realising your dreams, Paramore singer Hayley Williams’ anthemic, rock-inflected chorus provides the hook for rapper BoB. and Em to swap pre-fame tales of struggle.
‘Love The Way You Lie’ (with Rihanna) (2010)
Not only one of the best Eminem collaborations but also one of his most controversial, ‘Love The Way You Lie’ finds Em and Rihanna taking on the subject of domestic abuse from the point of view of both abuser and victim. Given that both rapper and singer have admitted to being in abusive relationships in the past, the song is imbued with palpable feeling. Such was the song’s potency it became Eminem’s biggest hit to date.
Xzibit: ‘Don’t Approach Me’ (2000)
Arguably the best of the pair’s numerous collaborations, this cut from Xzibit’s Restless album finds them trading tales about the pitfalls of stardom. Providing the beats to the track himself, Eminem upstages his host as he relates a series of inventive rhymes dealing with his struggle for privacy. “And I’m the bad guy, ’cause I don’t answer my door/Like, ‘Hey, hi! You guys wants some autographs?/OK, form a straight line.’”
‘Remember Me?’ (featuring RBX and Sticky Fingaz) (2000)
Eminem nearly gets upstaged on his own song – a classic cut from his most critically acclaimed album, The Marshall Mathers LP. Over a dark and moody Dr Dre beat, Death Row rapper RBX delivers a solid start before Onyx’s Sticky Fingaz answers with an explosive set of tongue-twisting bars. Ever the competitor, Eminem steps up to the challenge with a furiously inventive closing verse full of violence and comedy.
Dr Dre: ‘What’s The Difference’ (featuring Eminem and Xzibit) (1999)
Another stand-out track from Dre’s 2001, ‘What’s The Difference’ is a classic example of the conversational back and forth that have made collaborations between the pair so richly rewarding. Dre and Eminem profess their feelings for each other in typically inimitable style… by offering to help murder their respective enemies.
Drake: ‘Forever’ (featuring Kanye West, Eminem and Lil Wayne) (2009)
A dream team collaboration between four of the world’s most celebrated rappers, this posse cut lives up to its billing with imperious performances from each over Boi-1da’s razor-sharp production.
‘Go To Sleep’ (featuring DMX and Obie Trice) (2003)
The trio combine brilliantly on this vicious diss song as they fire a well-aimed range of lyrical shots at the numerous enemies Eminem had beef with at the time, most explicitly Ja Rule and Benzino.
‘No Love’ (featuring Lil Wayne) (2010)
Both Lil Wayne and Eminem are in imperious form on this Just Blaze-produced highlight from 2010’s Recovery album, spitting a series of aggressive rhymes over a cleverly re-worked sample of Haddaway’s 1993 techno-pop hit ‘What Is Love’.
‘Walk On Water’ (featuring Beyoncé) (2017)
Released as a surprise single in advance of Revival, ‘Walk On Water’ instantly earned its place among the best Eminem collaborations and provided an enticing taster of the slew of guest spots that light up his new album. Beyoncé supplies a winning gospel hook on a song that sees Eminem taking a reflective look on his past, when “… when I had the world by the balls/Eatin’ out my palm.”
Follow the Eminem Best Of playlist for more essential Slim Shady.