What does an Eminem beat sound like? It's usually an approximation of Dr. Dre's melodious thump, walloping bass and muffled drums, yet shorn clean of the good Doctor's P-funk tones. A key example may be Eminem's remix of 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G.'s only song together, "Runnin'," which was retitled "Runnin' (Dying to Live)" for the Tupac Resurrection soundtrack. As the two rappers speak their verses from beyond the grave, Eminem's beat creeps along with sparse, lugubrious movements, allowing enough space for the men to say their piece.
Critics haven't embraced Eminem's production work because it lacks the dynamism and brilliance of his lyrics. He's clearly a better rapper than a beat maker. (Of course, his legions of Stans love everything he does.) It may be why, after years of making his own tracks, he handed over the reins to a battery of producers for 2010's Recovery and this year's Marshall Mathers LP 2, while keeping a hand in the process as a coproducer.
Still, he has built quite a catalog of beats over the past decade or so, many coproduced with early Detroit supporters the Bass Brothers. He has scored hits, too, from his own classics like "Cleaning Out My Closet" and "Lose Yourself" to Lloyd Banks' "On Fire" and Akon's "Smack That." This short playlist takes a look at an often unacknowledged but important facet of Eminem's music.