Slim Shady is the craziest manifestation of Eminem or Marshall Mathers or for any rapper, for that matter, we have even seen in the history of music. We have heard the most bizarre songs by Slim Shady, but what about a song about Slim Shady. And who else better to do that than Slim’s creator Eminem himself. Welcome to “The Real Slim Shady” by Eminem.
“The Real Slim Shady” was released as the lead single from Eminem’s third studio album ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’ on April 18, 2000. Eminem wrote the entire track in the last moment to satisfy Interscope label’s demand to have an introductory track on the album just as “My Name Is” served on Eminem’s previous album ‘The Slim Shady LP’ (1999).
Eminem snuck into the studio with Dr. Dre and came up with the song just hours before the album was made final.
“The Real Slim Shady” Accolades
“The Real Slim Shady” earned Eminem his first chart-topping hit in the UK and reached #4 in the US on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. It also reached #1 in Iceland, Ireland, and Scotland. The song has sold over 4 million copies in the USA, over 1.2 million copies in the UK, and a staggering 5+ million copies around the world. According to Chartmasters, “The Real Slim Shady” has also amassed over 648 million Spotify streams and 782 million YouTube views in the digital era.
Stats aside, “The Real Slim Shady” won Eminem the ‘Best Rap Solo Performance’ award at the 2001 Grammy Awards. Its infamous music video won ‘Video of The Year’ and ‘Best Male Video’ at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards. And it is pretty hilarious that the song got nominated for two awards at Teen Choice Awards in 2000.
Furthermore, “The Real Slim Shady” was ranked at number 396 on NME’s 2014 list of ‘The 500 Greatest Song of All Time.’ The song is produced by Dr. Dre and Mel-Man.
“The Real Slim Shady” Controversies
It would not be a Slim Shady track without controversy and “The Real Slim Shady” has aplenty. Eminem goes on to talk/diss about several celebrities including Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, Will Smith, Christina Aguilera, Tom Green, Fred Durst, Carson Daly, NSYNC, Britney Spears, and other mainstream pop sensations, and even institutions such as the Grammys (pretty hilarious that the song won a Grammy).
The overall theme of the song is about the notoriety of Eminem’s alter ego Slim Shady and the influence he has on the music field in general. He also mocks career-long blame that Eminem’s music turns kids into psychopaths and turns them against their parents.
However, in true Eminem fashion, nothing stops Slim Shady as he goes onto rap about how he see the world through the loose screws in his head.
Several radio stations in the US were fined for playing “The Real Slim Shady” for its crude contents and explicit language (in one cases even playing the clean version). However, these fines were later dropped in lieu of First Amendment Rights.
“The Real Slim Shady” Music Video
“The Real Slim Shady” music video takes place in several locations. However, the primary setting of the music video is a psychiatric ward filled with clone Slim Shadys. This prompts Eminem to ask “Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?” and obviously, all of the psychiatric patients stand up.
Other main settings include a room full of Slim Shady clones head-bobbing around Eminem, the Grammy Awards, and a factory that produces Slim Shady clones.
“The Real Slim Shady” music video features cameos by Eminem as Slim Shady, clones of Slim Shady, Britney Spears look-alike, the real Britney Spears, Dr. Dre, D12, Kathy Griffin, and Fred Durst. Watch the video below.
Buy ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’ Album on Apple Music & Amazon
“The Real Slim Shady” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
In the intro to the song, comedian Kathy Griffin (playing a nurse) asks for the real Slim Shady through PA system. Emienm voice acts this, too. Soon it becomes apparent that there are so many Slim Shady clones and look-alikes which is a real problem to the legacy of the real one.
Eminem starts off the verse by saying that his presence in hip-hop comes as a surprise to many. During the era that Eminem made a name for himself in rap and hip-hop, both these genres were predominantly dominated by Black artists. However, Dre saw beyond his skin color and opened up the door for the stage for Eminem. The rest is history.
Jaws all on the floor like Pam like Tommy just burst in the door
The first controversy Eminem brings in is the married life of the Canadian-American actress Pamela Anderson and Mötley Crüe’s drummer Tommy Lee. The two married just after four days of being together and things turned south for them when their sex tape was stolen by an electrician working at their house and sold copies of it on the Internet. Allegedly, this lead to fights between the two and resulted in Tommy Lee being sentenced to six months in prison after pleading no contest to felony spousal battery. [Source: US Magazine]
However, Eminem himself annotated this line on Genius and explained; “I wrote this line because I had recently had a sharkskin floor installed in my home. Hence…Jaws.”
Next, Eminem reveals that Dr. Dre is locked up in his basement rotting away. Eminem also annotated this line on Genius; “Ironically, Dre’s carcass began to smell, that’s why I had the sharkskin floor installed. It kills the odor.”
Eminem also talks about feminists who probably hated (still do?) the most. But Em also knows that they secretly admire him because he is cute.
The reference to Tom Green was regarding his song “The Bum Bun Song” in which Tom Green puts his behind on random objects, including a dead moose. Eminem asks how is this okay to be played while his music gets censored?
Next, Eminem jumps on to the topic of ‘Eminem is brainwashing the kids of America to be evil.’ We already talked about this in another Eminem song “Sing For The Moment.” In both songs, Eminem’s counterargument is that kids learn from home and not from some random rapper they hear on the radio, censored, once a day.
Starting from parents’ behavior to what they show on TV (like Tom Green’s song), kids are exposed to more violence and harm and sexually suggestive content than Eminem’s songs.
But if we can h*mp dead animals and antelopes
Then there’s no reason that a man and another man can’t elope
Clever wordplay by the master of lyrics. Em says that if the kids are allowed to see atrocities such as Tom Green’s videos on the Internet, two men getting married should not be the worst thing that parents try to shield their kids from. ‘Eloping’ is running away together, which was more accurate than ‘getting married’ for the LGBTQ community back in the day. ‘Antelopes’ and ‘can’t elope’ are just precise craftsmanship by Eminem.
I’m Slim Shady, yes I’m the real Shady
All you other Slim Shadys are just imitating
So won’t the real Slim Shady please stand up
Please stand up, please stand up?
These infamous lyrics tell that there is only one Slim Shady and he is singing the song right now. Anybody who tries to match Slim Shady’s persona is just setting themselves up for failure.
Eminem has a bone to pick with Will Smith. Not only Will Smith won the 1999 MTV Video Music Award for ‘Best Male Video’ for “Miami” over Eminem’s “My Name Is,” Will Smith told at the acceptance speech; “I never killed anybody in none of my records. I never used no profanity in none of my records and I still managed to get up here.”
Eminem probably took this a little bit more personal. He later told; “I used to respect Will Smith. [Now] he’s dissed the whole genre of rap. He dissed gangsta rap music. And that is one of the most influential musics out there. I respect him for saying his opinion, but not everybody is as happy as Will Smith. Not everybody sees life as happy and as positive as he sees it.”
Although there was a little bit more back-and-forth in this beef between Eminem and Will Smith, nothing major came out of it.
So, in “The Real Slim Shady,” Eminem just shouts f*** Will Smith and moves on.
Watch Eminem Perform “The Real Slim Shady” Live in 2001 with Proof
Next begins Eminem’s tandem on award shows, specifically the Grammys. Eminem has outspoken about his dislike for the prestigious awards show for bating artists to attend the show to increase their viewership ratings. In an interview in 2018, Eminem told that he would never attend Grammy’s again;
“Every f*cking year. I’m tired of seeing it. For whatever reason they’re always pitching this hint that you might win album of the year, which used to be a big deal. I don’t think it’s a big deal now. I sat at home for the Grammys this year and watched Jay and Kendrick not get it, and I felt like one of them should have got it. I felt Joyner Lucas should have won a Grammy for “I’m Not Racist.” Every year we went, I was up for album of the year, and then ‘the winner is Norah Jones!’ Who?!
Don’t f*cking get us all here, to use as your selling point for your f*cking show, and stiff everybody every single f*cking time. After that point in time I said don’t ever ask me to come here again. My answer is no for a hundred million years.”
However, in this song, Eminem takes it a step further. He talks about some celebrities that he doesn’t really connect well with. Christina Aguilera is among them, who is said to have a few sexual run-ins with Carson Daly and Fred Durst. Christina spoke about the situation later;
“You wish you got some nookie from it.
“He got no nookie. That did not happen, OK? I just want to clear the table right there, and the thing with Carson [Daly] too. Eminem’s whole song [“The Real Slim Shady”] did not happen, OK? It just didn’t, but it’s some really crazy stuff that people want to insinuate and people want to say, and it is hurtful.”
Christina Aguilera also spoke about Eminem in her MTV special titled ‘What a Girl Wants.’ She picks Eminem’s “My Name Is” for some reason and goes on to mention the relationship between Eminem and his ex-wife Kim.
Eminem goes on to diss the mainstream pop groups that dominated the music scene back then. He mentions Britney Spears and he had spoken about his dislike for the N’Sync boyband.
The third verse of the song is all about Slim Shady and what makes Slim Shady the real Slim Shady.
Eminem says that he is the only artist who is out there who can actually say what’s on his mind on a record or on a live concert. Everybody else thinks about it and talks about it in their living rooms. But none of them have the guts to say it out loud. This attitude is why we fell in love with Slim Shady and why Eminem had so many problems from so many different parties all through his career.
But we are glad that nothing could stop Eminem or Slim Shady from being themselves. Although of late (writing in 2021), it seems as if Slim Shady has been taking a long vacation from music, Eminem still spits fire, crazy bars, and around 50% of mentally ill stuff as Slim Shady did.
There is a reason why Eminem was able to amass millions of fans around the world with his Slim Shady persona. “I guess there’s a Slim Shady in all of us.”
Will the real Slim Shady stand up, ever again? Only time will tell.
Let us hear what you think about this song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics on Genius.