The following is a run-down of all his major techniques, with quotes from rappers interviewed for the How to Rap books. The rappers who are quoted include people who have worked directly alongside Eminem in the studio (such as Cashis, Stat Quo, and Bobby Creekwater) and other acclaimed hip-hop legends (such as Kool G Rap, Rah Digga, and Brother J).
Eminem sometimes bends words, pronouncing them in a way that makes them sound alike even if they dont normally rhyme. This technique can be seen in Lose Yourself, when he rhymes:
The words arms and Moms do not have exactly the same vowel sound in the middle, but he pronounces them so that they work together as a type of rhyme.
TermanologyWhat I try to do is I try to rhyme two words every bar, versus a rapper that rhymes one time per bar. Its a lot harderyoure actually writing double the rhymes. Theres only a few rappers that really can rap like that, like Kool G Rap, Eminem…. Theres not really too many MCs that can do that.
Eminem does this kind of intense variation with his rhyme scheme placement. His song, Yellow Brick Road has rhymes which fall mainly on the 3 beat rather than the 4 beat (again, see How to Rap for information on how bars and bar numbers work).
Kool G RapThats the challenge of rapping like thatyou have to be very articulate to do a whole 16-bar verse where youre rhyming with the same rhyme and you are making it make sense, youre not just saying anything.
Rests occur when an MC pauses on the 1, 2, 3, or 4 beat of a bar (to understand exactly how this happens, read the explanations in How to Rap and How to Rap 2).
Eminem uses rests on the 1 beat of the bar to create punch-lines, and he also uses them to divide a verse into different parts. In the second verse of Eminems Yellow Brick Road, he raps for 8 bars with no rests, and at the end of the 8th bar he includes a rest on the 4 beat. He then uses a
different rhyme scheme and flow for the next 12 bars. So the rest signals a change in the flow and acts as the dividing line between the two different sections of the verse.
When rappers talk about Eminem and his work flow, they always mention that he takes time to craft his rapshe doesnt rush them and he is not lazy with his work.
Rah DiggaPeople like Nas, people like Eminem, I dont think theyre just flying through their verses in 10, 15 minutes. That type of rhyming and intricacy, thats not done with the snap of a fingerthats writing on a daily basis, constantly jotting down lines and phrases.