Some of Eminem’s historic rivalries date back to before he even landed a record deal with Dr. Dre. Artists from Detroit had run-ins with the rapper long before he was a mainstream sensation. Even artists from New York were feeling the wrath of Marshall Mathers when he exploded on the scene with “My Name Is.”
His major label debut, The Slim Shady LP dropped in 1999 and at that time, his beef with independent rapper Cage was already in full swing. After the line “I bought Cage’s tape, opened it and dubbed over it,” was present on the album, Cage fired back at Slim Shady more than once.
According to the Atlantic, Eminem has held rivalries with everyone from Pamela Anderson to Triumph, The Insult Comic Dog. But which feuds were the juiciest?
Here’s a look.
3. Insane Clown Posse
Both Detroit natives, Insane Clown Posse (ICP) and Eminem’s beef goes back to long before the release of The Slim Shady LP. According to Violent J, Eminem approached him in a club one night to ask the clowns if they’d make an appearance at his then-upcoming album release party, to which they declined. Years later, Violent J says the rapper caught him offguard after dissing the Insane Clown Posse on an episode of Howard Stern’s morning radio show.
Violent J responded to being called out by Eminem when he and the other half of ICP, Shaggy 2 Dope, later appeared on Howard Stern. The two played a vulgar parody of “My Name Is.”
Eminem responded to the track with the song “Marshall Mathers,” in which he called into question whether the two were actually from Detroit. The record also contained a skit lampooning the Insane Clown Posse.
ICP followed that with the song “Nuttin But A B**** Thang,” in which they called Eminem out for being from Warren, Michigan, rather than Detroit.
The feud actually escalated through numerous tracks and seemed to end when Eminem pulled a gun on an associate of the Insane Clown Posse, Douglas Dail, according to MTV. Eminem received probation for the incident and didn’t address the beef again until 2013 on the Marshall Mathers LP 2, though he didn’t directly attack either member of the group. The lines were thought to be somewhat ambiguous.
Violent J says ICP and the rest of Eminem’s now-defunct hip-hop group D12 settled the beef at a bowling alley, playing rounds of bowling against one another. Eminem hasn’t directly stated how he feels about the feud, at least publicly, since he was convicted of crimes associated with the incident.
2. Christina Aguilera
According to Eminem, Christina Aguilera outed Kim Mathers as the rapper’s wife, disrespecting Eminem’s privacy.
His reaction? He blasted the pop diva on his debut single for The Marshall Mathers LP, “The Real Slim Shady.” Eminem’s lead single for that album was one of his biggest of all time. He dedicated a large portion of the song to taking Christina Aguilera to task. The song featured lewd claims about the singer, which she and publicists representing Aguilera denied.
Christina Aguilera went on a radio show later and made a parody of “The Real Slim Shady” called “Will The Real Slim Shady Please Shut Up.” In the song she called him a “wannabe.”
The two later solved their rivalry by hugging backstage at an award ceremony.
Probably the feud most damaging to Eminem’s career was the one with Benzino.
Benzino is a rapper and co-founder of The Source magazine. He publicly denounced Eminem and claimed the rapper was a racist. Benzino went on to refer to Marshall Mathers as “a rap David Duke, a rap Hitler, a culture-stealer,” according to the Independent.
Eminem didn’t take such accusations lying down. He blasted back at Benzino with songs like “Nail in the Coffin,” but Benzino later issued a mixtape through The Source, which contained an old Eminem song, in which Eminem made racist statements. The song was an indictment of African-American women and spoke of the singer’s previous troubles with them.
“Blacks and whites they sometimes mix, but black girls only want your money because they’re dumb chicks.”
Eminem ultimately apologized for the song, which was more than a decade old when it was released in 2003.
“The tape was something I made out anger, stupidity, and frustration when I was a teenager. I’d just broken up with my girlfriend, who was African American, and I reacted like the angry stupid kid I was. I hope people will take it for the foolishness that is was, not for what somebody is trying to make it into today.”
It marks one of the only times another musician was able to draw an apology from Eminem. Benzino apologized for the beef back in 2012, but as recently as 2018, he took to Twitter to blast the rapper’s album, Revival.
Eminem hasn’t responded.