It’s an exercise in futility, but it’s hella fun.

Whittling down the vast Eminem catalog—a trove of records deeper than Jack Handey’s thoughts—to 32, and then ranking them, should only spark debate and passionate objection. The stans will be coming for us.

But not unlike Marshall Mathers’ roller-coaster career, this listicle is more about the process—the journey—than the end result. The joy lies in the getting there.

Re-listening to 20-plus years of album cuts, smash singles and loosies reminds us how versatile and volatile, how ingenious and risky Eminem has been. Of course, we were also met with the cold splash of the flops and misses. But when you hurl so much spaghetti on your sweater, not all of it is gonna stick.

As far as parameters are concerned, we've eliminated cameo tracks on other artists’ albums (sorry, no “Dead Wrong” or “Patiently Waiting” or “Caterpillar”), Em’s work as D12’s band leader (but we still bump “Purple Pills” and “How Come”) and tracks from the excellent Bad Meets Evil rhymefests.

The result is a list of songs that both captured Em’s maniacal, mischievous (and, yes, sensitive) mind at the time of release and remain undeniably great today. And still it pained this author to leave a heap of personal favorites on the cutting-room floor (“Amityville,” “So Bad,” “Evil Deeds,” “Love You More,” etcetera, etcetera, etcetera).

Here are Eminem's 32 best songs, ranked. You’ll love it. You’ll hate it. Let’s agree to disagree. —Luke Fox

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