By Thomas A. Harden
Eminem is no stranger to the VMA’s stage. In 2000, he kicked off the VMA’s at Radio City Music Hall in New York, with a stellar performance of his smash single “The Real Slim Shady,” off of his sophomore album, The Marshall Mathers LP. Fast forward ten years, and Mr. Mathers finds himself in a familiar position, as he’s set to open the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
This Sunday, September 12, is already proving to be a victorious evening for Em, as he’s nominated for eight Moonmen, the second-most behind Lady Gaga, for his hit “Not Afraid.” While there’s speculation brewing from fans regarding which chart-topping numbers the rapper will perform, one thing is for certain, just as he and Jay-Z rocked Comerica Park in Detroit for the Home and Home tour, Slim Shady will make history at this year’s VMA’s.
In anticipation of Eminem’s opening act, we took a trip down memory lane and uncovered Marshall’s top five MTV performances. Hit the jump to see which show was most memorable.
2002 MTV Movie Awards “Without Me”
Suspended in the air with a wire, and with the theme of Superman blaring from the speakers, Em flew into the 2002 VMA’s adorn in a Robin costume (Batman & Robin). Gliding into a phone booth, the costumed rapper jumps out as Slim Shady and is joined on stage by D12 member and long-time partner-in-rhyme, the late Proof, to perform his chart-topper “Without Me.”
With a stage set that resembled the House of Representatives in Washington DC, draped in a navy suite, with a white shirt and red tie, Em addressed his delegates and the 2002 VMA crowd with his controversial song “White America,” off his fourth studio album The Eminem Show. During the same set he re-appeared with a white hat, shirtless, in red and white stripped sweat pants and white sneakers, for the emotional set “Cleanin’ Out My Closet,” as Slim exorcised his demons, rapping “I’m sorry Ma’ma, I never meant to hurt you.”
2004 VMAs “Ass Like That” and “Mockingbird”
Em opened his set disguised with his dog hand puppet for an impromptu comedic interview with Lindsey Lohan, inviting the actress for a night of lust, before he took the stage to perform “Ass Like That.” Joined by half-a-dozen female dancers in puppet costumes, with large bottoms, and life-like Slim Shady puppet, Em soon switches the mood to perform an open letter song to his daughter Haley, “Mockingbird,” as images of Marshal and his baby girl flashed in the background.
1999 VMAs “Slim Shady,” “Guilty Conscious” and “Nuthin’ But A G-Thang”
Off his highly successful debut album, The Slim Shady LP, Eminem made his VMA debut. Sporting a navy blue “Role Model” hooded sweatshirt; Em took to the stage to perform his hits “Slim Shady” and “Guilty Conscious,” which featured Dr. Dre. Later in the set, Em and Dre brought out Snoop Dogg for a special performance of “Nuthin’ But a G Thang.”
The most infamous performance of his career, Eminem arrived at the 2000 VMA’s with few hundred Slim Shady clones standing outside Radio City Music Hall in New York. As he entered the concert hall accompanied by his Shady army of bleached blond hair, white t-shirts and blue jeaned soldiers, the VMA crowd roared as Em began to perform “The Real Slim Shady” and gave Carson Daily a pound on the way to the stage. He later ended the memorable performance with the controversial “The Way I Am.”
What's your favorite VMA Eminem performance? Let us know in the comments!