(M) Eminem’s ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’ was fueled by diverse influences. Discover the artists who left their mark on this iconic album.

Released in 2000, Eminem’s third studio album The Marshall Mathers LP is widely considered one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. With its raw lyricism, boundary-pushing subject matter, and massive commercial success, the album cemented Eminem’s status as one of the most influential rappers ever. However, Eminem did not create this masterpiece in a vacuum – the album was deeply shaped by a variety of musical and artistic influences. Through weaving together samples, homages, and stylistic touches, Eminem synthesized the sounds and styles of many other iconic artists to forge his own inimitable brand of hip hop. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the key influences that helped sculpt The Marshall Mathers LP into the landmark work that it is.

Dr. Dre

Perhaps Eminem’s biggest influence was Dr. Dre, the legendary West Coast producer who signed Eminem to his Aftermath Entertainment label and executive produced The Marshall Mathers LP. Dre’s production style is all over the album, from the menacing synthesizers to the ominous drums. Tracks like “The Real Slim Shady” and “Who Knew” showcase Dre’s ability to craft dark, cinematic beats that provide the perfect canvas for Eminem’s lyrical acrobatics. Beyond the sonics, Dre also influenced Eminem’s vocal delivery and storytelling approach. Eminem has said Dre encouraged him to slow down his rapid-fire flow and enunciate more clearly. Dre’s penchant for narrative-driven gangsta rap also seems to inform Eminem’s more introspective songwriting on the LP. It’s no exaggeration to say The Marshall Mathers LP would not exist in its current form without Dr. Dre’s musical and artistic guidance.


Another massive influence was Nas, one of the greatest lyricists in hip hop history. Nas set the bar incredibly high with his intricate wordplay, creative imagery, and ability to tell compelling stories through rap. Eminem has cited Nas as a key inspiration, and it’s easy to hear Nas’ influence in Eminem’s dense rhyme schemes, conceptual song structures, and masterful storytelling throughout The Marshall Mathers LP. Songs like “Stan” directly reference Nas’ classic track “I Gave You Power” and were likely inspired by Nas’ ability to craft cinematic narratives within hip hop. Eminem also borrows Nas’ knack for switching up flows and cadences within a single verse, keeping listeners on their toes. Nas pushed hip hop lyricism to new levels, and his innovative approach clearly shaped Eminem into the wordsmith he became.

While hailing from opposite coasts, Tupac Shakur also left an indelible mark on Eminem. Known for blending raw aggression with insightful social commentary, 2Pac served as an inspiration for Eminem to channel his anger and frustrations into his music. Songs like “Who Knew” and “Marshall Mathers” tap into 2Pac’s menacing energy and willingness to tackle controversial topics. Eminem has said 2Pac helped him find the courage to say what he really felt without holding back. 2Pac’s rebellious spirit is all over The Marshall Mathers LP, as Eminem fearlessly pushes boundaries and says the unsayable. The album’s gritty sound also likely took cues from 2Pac’s menacing West Coast productions. Overall, 2Pac lit the fire for Eminem to fearlessly tackle social issues and push creative limits through uncompromising self-expression.

The Beastie Boys

While often recognized more for their comedic chops, the Beastie Boys were also seminal in shaping Eminem’s flow and lyrical approach. Known for their playful braggadocio and irreverent humor, the Beastie Boys brought a lightheartedness to hip hop that Eminem embraced. Songs like “The Real Slim Shady” and “I’m Back” channel the Beasties’ goofy swagger but with Eminem’s twisted sense of humor. Eminem also adapts the Beasties’ penchant for dense, multisyllabic rhyme schemes, packing maximum words and syllables into each bar. Beyond the lyrics, the Beasties’ eclectic sampling of various genres is reflected in Eminem’s incorporation of rock and pop elements on the LP. Overall, the Beasties showed Eminem how to have fun with rap while still delivering technical mastery, an approach that defined The Marshall Mathers LP.

Rock Music

While hip hop formed the foundation, Eminem has also cited rock music as a major influence on The Marshall Mathers LP. Artists like Nirvana, Metallica, and The Beatles seep into the album’s sound and style. Aggressive rock riffs and samples bring an edgy energy to tracks like “The Way I Am” and “Marshall Mathers.” Eminem’s gritty vocals also channel the angst and intensity of grunge rock. He even pays direct homage to Nirvana by interpolating their iconic “Smells Like Teen Spirit” melody in “The Real Slim Shady.” Rock lyrics also seem to have shaped Eminem’s storytelling approach and rebellious spirit. Blending hip hop with rock created a hybrid sound that pushed boundaries and brought Eminem’s music to a wider mainstream audience. The Marshall Mathers LP was truly ahead of its time in combining these genres seamlessly.


Through these diverse influences, Eminem crafted the sonically dense, lyrically complex masterpiece that is The Marshall Mathers LP. By synthesizing the production styles of Dr. Dre and rock music, the intricate lyricism of Nas, the gritty energy of 2Pac, the playful flows of the Beastie Boys, and more, Eminem forged his own truly unique sound. The album demonstrated hip hop’s ability to absorb various genres while bringing Eminem’s vivid storytelling to the forefront. It set a new standard for lyrical density, narrative rap, and pushing creative limits. Two decades later, The Marshall Mathers LP remains one of hip hop’s most important albums thanks to Eminem’s ability to channel the styles of his influences into a cohesive, boundary-pushing work of art. Its massive influence on the genre is still being felt today. Through drawing from this diverse well of inspiration, Eminem created the magnum opus that is his third studio LP.

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