Still Shady: how did Eminem’s 2005 greatest hits become last year’s biggest rap album?

Released in 2005, Curtain Call: The Hits has spent 552 weeks in the UK album charts. Are young fans thrilling to his outrageous lyrics – or is the truth more prosaic?

It was inevitable that amid the rolling waves of the Y2K revival, the era’s leading enfant terrible would be sucked into the cycle. The children of Eminem fans are growing up and logging on, and as 2022 came to an end the 8 Mile rapper’s 2004 track Mockingbird became his latest song to be sped up and spat out across TikTok. The ensuing trend involved young users of the app – in a mode that seems incredibly off-brand for the rapper – sharing stories of parental devotion while the song zipped along, pitched-up, in the background.

But while other ageing acts pulled into the algorithmic whims of youth culture might be grateful for an audience boost, Eminem (AKA Marshall Mathers), now 50, is hardly in need.

Last year, his 2005 greatest hits album, Curtain Call: The Hits, was No 6 in the UK Official Charts’ biggest albums of the year. Effectively, a 17-year-old greatest hits compilation was the bestselling rap album of 2022 – a year in which the likes of Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Megan Thee Stallion, DJ Khaled, Future and any number of other blockbuster hip-hop acts released new full-length efforts.

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