This story is over 5 years old.

What I Learned about Style from Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady"

Live your life like Em in this career-making video and you'll be just fine.
September 10, 2014, 2:45pm

OK, OK, a lot of people know this video is pretty damn great. It won Best Video and Best Male Video at the MTV VMAs back when MTV still played music videos, so those awards may actually meant something. Eminem’s on-screen antics mirrored the intensity of his hard-hitting verses, as he cavorted across the screen, each outfit and situation more absurd than the next.

Watching it as a young kid it was an education in goofing off while establishing yourself. Obviously, I too thought it was pretty damn great. My appreciation for his rapid fire delivery culminated in a truly legendary concert experience when at age 13 I found myself at an Eminem concert that erupted into a mob. Above the fray, Eminem rapped this very song, undaunted by the chaos. Punches were ducked, middle school cafeteria stories were made. Even now, watching this video serves up a heady dose of nostalgic, irreverent fun. Let's observe the life and style lessons herein.

real slim shady

We’re rounding the corner into fall 2014, and the majority of this year’s trends have already been cemented. This is the year of the blonde and bleached hair reigns supreme. Attention All Supermodels of 2014: Eminem reached for the bleach first. The early 2000s may have been a simpler time of lame fashion and bootcut pants, but Eminem poured peroxide to make platinum way before Soo Joo Park.

real slim shady
real slim shady
real slim shady
real slim shady
eminem real slim shady

Dressing as a made up superhero and wearing spandex with a cut out butt in a rap video? Oh Eminem, you know the way to my heart. Look at that golden cape billow as you chase people down the street. Admire the majesty of your figure as you wiggle your bare ass in some poor guy’s face á la Nicki Minaj circa “Anaconda.” Looks like once again, Em was ahead of the curve. ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE
Even if you’re locked up in the psych ward, you can still make a music video. Other prime venues include fast food restaurants and the Grammy Awards. The message is clear: if you’re cool enough, the world is your music video set. BE YOUR OWN BACK UP DANCER
Hey Em, lend me your creepy clone factory? Your clones don’t really do much besides nod their heads in freaky, Stepford-y union, but I’m already thinking bigger. Use clones to wait for you in line for the iPhone 6, put you on their shoulders at concerts, and feed you grapes as you binge watch Breaking Bad. The possibilities are endless. Does it count as slave labor if it’s technically yourself? Inquiring minds must know.


I’m not making a universal statement here, but here there’s a clear correlation between ugly uniforms and bad behavior. Hospital-smock wearing Eminem throws his pill bottle at the nurses, and fast food worker Eminem spits in a customer’s food (although to be fair, she was asking for it). But when Eminem is free to be his fun loving, white t-shirt wearing self, it’s all swagger.

If we’re mirroring the mix of people Eminem surrounds himself with, there should be a pretty balanced ratio of real famous people, fake famous people, and crazy people. On the real famous people front there’s Fred Durst and Kathy Griffin dressed up as a nurse, popping pills with the best of them. The fake famous people include everyone from Kid Rock to Eminem dressed as Britney Spears, and if that’s not as diverse as an after school special I don’t know what is.

britney spears eminem

(Weirdly looking at Em as Britney now reads as a crystal ball-like foretelling of what she would look like some 15 years later. Whatta visionary.) I wouldn’t necessarily recommend going to an insane asylum to even out your crew, but I’m not your mom so do what you want.

Eminem Real Slim shady
real slim shady

The times that Eminem can be seen standing upright in this video are few and far between. Instead, he models textbook gangsta postures: the slouch, the lean, the squat. Magically, he hasn’t ended up looking like Quasimodo. See mom? Eminem’s back hasn’t gotten stuck looking that way!


Pamela Anderson, Dr. Dre, Will Smith, Carson Daly, *NSYNC… nobody's off limits here. Sure, famous people get into fights with each other on Twitter daily, but calling out an all-star lineup of the early 2000s is a whole new level of drama. Does anybody else want to go back to the golden days of calling out people’s shenanigans in award winning songs instead of award acceptance speeches? Now that was cool.

In an attempt to follow Em's rule of "All The World's A Stage" Aliza was recently ejected from Trader Joe's for doing rap squats and singing in the vegetable aisle. Hey it happens. She's on Twitter - @AlizaAbarbanel


More life lessons via the medium of music videos! What I Learned About Style From Nicki Minaj, Jessie J, and Ariana Grande's "Bang Bang"

What I Learned About Style From Iggy Azalea's "Black Widow" ft. Rita Ora

What I Learned About Style from Headgirl's “Please Don’t Touch”