The Eminem Show is the fourth studio album by American rapper Eminem. After it had originally scheduled for release on June 4, 2002, the album was released on May 26, 2002, by Aftermath Entertainment, Shady Records, and Interscope Records due to pirating and bootlegging of it. The album saw Eminem take a substantially more predominant production role; most of it was self-produced, with his longtime collaborator Jeff Bass, and Dr. Dre being the album’s executive producer. It features guest appearances from Obie Trice, D12, Dr. Dre, Nate Dogg, Dina Rae and Eminem’s daughter Hailie Jade Scott-Mathers.
The album incorporates a heavier use of rap rock than Eminem’s previous albums, and its themes are predominantly based on Eminem’s prominence in hip hop culture, as well as his ambivalent thoughts of fame. The album also features political commentary on the United States, including references to 9/11, Osama bin Laden, the War on terror, President George W. Bush, Lynne Cheney and Tipper Gore. Due to its less satirical and shock factor lyrical approach, The Eminem Show was regarded as Eminem’s most personal album at the time and a step back from the Slim Shady alter ego.
Widely considered the most anticipated album of 2002, The Eminem Show debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and stood there for six non-consecutive weeks. It sold over 1.3 million copies in its second week in the US, where it registered a full week of sales. It also topped the UK Albums Chart for five consecutive weeks. It produced four commercially successful singles, “Without Me“, “Cleanin’ Out My Closet“, “Superman“, and “Sing for the Moment“. The album was met with positive critical reviews, with praise directed at Eminem’s mature, introspective lyricism and the album’s experimental production.
The Eminem Show was both the best-selling album of 2002 in the United States and the best-selling album worldwide of 2002. It was certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and its worldwide sales of over 27 million copies make it one of the best-selling albums of all time and the third best-selling album of the 21st century. At the 2003 Grammy Awards, it was nominated for Album of the Year and won Best Rap Album, while “Without Me” won Best Music Video. Blender, Muzik and LAUNCH named it the best album of 2002, and several publications named it among the best albums of the 2000s decade.