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Marshall Mathers LP at 15: Revisit Eminem's best live performances

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Interscope Records

Fifteen years ago this week, Eminem followed up his breakout record The Slim Shady LP with the then-hugely anticipated Marshall Mathers LP. The record almost went double platinum in its first week alone, eventually selling over 10 million copies in the United States. And it courted plenty of controversy too, thanks to Em’s no-holds-barred rhymes.

Earlier this week, Ed Sheeran shared how the record impacted him—and now, we’re combing through the deep recesses of YouTube to find the best 10 live performances for the album’s tracks. Sure, the classics are here—that one Grammys performance is included—but there are lesser-viewed gems that prove Eminem was a killer showman. The following are in order of each song’s placement on the album:

“Kill You” (Los Angeles, 2001) [go to 3:17]

Come for the top-notch choreography, stay for the overalls and hockey mask.

“Stan” (Grammy Awards, 2001, with Elton John)

This was an atypically somber performance by Eminem—and an important one. Despite claims that he held hatred towards the LGBT community, Em had Elton John join him on stage—and after their rousing performance, they shared an embrace.

“The Way I Am” (with Marilyn Manson)

Both Shady and Marilyn Manson were poster boys for alienated teens in the ’00s, so it made sense that the shock rocker, who also remixed the track, would join the rapper live.

“The Real Slim Shady” (MTV Music Awards, 2000)

Nope, not weird at all seeing 30 Eminem wannabes all together. The scene of the gang in Manhattan streets, walking into Radio City Music Hall, and having the rapper crush the song, though, is the core of the performance’s awesomeness.

“I’m Back” (BRIT Awards, 2001)

For early performances, props were essential to Eminem’s act: Live wires, explosions, a chainsaw! In this clip, the European crowd eats it up. Best of all, he steals the show by flipping off fans and busting out the classic “turning up the volume” move, so everyone sees that his middle finger is, in fact, pointed up.

“Marshall Mathers” (with Proof)

Em typically has a second MC on stage to volley quips or help fill in lines, and for this run of “Marshall Mathers,” it was one of his closest friends, Proof.

“Drug Ballad” (Detroit, 2002)

One of the album’s most underrated cuts, and the hometown crowd seems to adore it, too, humming every “whoa-oh” when prompted.

“Bitch Please II” (with Xzibit, Dr. Dre, and Nate Dogg)

What happened to Xzibit? Why couldn’t Snoop Dogg have shown up instead? No matter: three out of four guests isn’t bad. And Nate Dogg is present, singing hooks like only he could.

“Under the Influence” (with D12)

Where have all the posse cuts gone? We need more posse cuts. Look at the energy Eminem musters when his crew pops out. Running in overalls seems dangerous, but he could not be less worried.


Sadly, finding a full version of the MMLP closer proved difficult, but this taped show featured the premier rendition of the opening verse. The anger and stubbornness are palpable as Eminem asserts his place on top of the charts. Highlight: Em flipping off the camera while he’s spitting bars.