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Cleanin Out My Closet by Eminem
Album: The Eminem ShowReleased: 2002Charted:
In this song Eminem talks about his mother who he feels neglected and mistreated him. When he says "Remember when Ronnie died and you said you wished that was me," he is referring to his uncle Ronnie who committed suicide in 1991. Eminem has a tattoo with his name on his left arm which reads R.I.P. with Ronnie written below it.
This was used in some of the first trailers for Eminem's movie 8 Mile. It was going to be featured in the film, but Eminem objected because he thought it was too personal. He wrote "Lose Yourself" to use in the movie and made sure to write it as the character he played in the movie.
The phrase "Cleaning out my closet" is saying that he is tired of keeping the truth about his past inside, and he wants to let everyone know about the things that happened in his childhood.
At one point, Eminem raps about his mother having Munchausen Syndrome, which is a condition where someone fakes illness to get attention. In this case, Eminem accuses him mom of keeping him sick for this purpose.
When Eminem raps, "Wasn't it the reason you made that CD for me, ma, so you could try to justify the way you treated me?," he's referring to a 2001 CD called "Set The Record Straight" by the rap duo ID-X. The disc contains a song called "Dear Marshall" where Debbie Mathers, who is Eminem's mom, reads a letter to her son.
On his 2013 track "Headlights
," Eminem apologizes to his mother for this song when he raps, "I'm sorry mama for 'Cleanin' Out My Closet.'" He also includes a line about how he dropped the song from his setlist: "That song I no longer pay at shows and I cringe every time it's on the radio."