What Three Eminem Tracks Mention Jeffrey Dahmer In The Lyrics?

September 2022 marked about 30 years since notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer died, and a few more since the extent of his crimes was made known (per History). And thanks to the documentary "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" that was released on Netflix the same month, he was once again thrust into the news cycle. However, though Dahmer more or less disappeared from the public eye for three decades, that doesn't mean he ceased to be a pop culture reference. The gruesomeness of his crimes (which, according to Marie Claire, included cannibalizing the corpses and committing necrophiliac acts against them) made him stand out among other American serial killers.

That Jeffrey Dahmer would come up in rap lyrics isn't all that surprising when you think about it. According to Flocabulary, the genre relies largely on similes in its lyrics, as it has for decades. For example, Lauryn Hill famously rapped, "I'm sweet like licorice, dangerous like syphilis." And at least three times in his career, Eminem (above) referenced Jeffrey Dahmer in his songs.

Why Would A Rapper Name-Check A Serial Killer?

As mentioned previously, a key component in the composition of rap lyrics is the use of similes, and Eminem has continued that tradition and done so with aplomb. For example, in "Stay Wide Awake," Eminem raps, "Soon as my flow starts I compose art like the ghost of Mozart." So why reference a serial killer? Well, for one thing, there's shock value, which Eminem has relied on since the beginning. In fact, Marshall Bruce Mathers seems to revel in being the guy who offends everybody. "But it's just me I'm just obscene / Though I'm not the first king of controversy / I am the worst thing since Elvis Presley," he rapped in "Without Me."

And of course, there's rhyme. "Dahmer" doesn't readily come to mind as something that rhymes with everyday English words, but Eminem is less about pure rhyming and more about using similar sounds. In linguistics, this is called assonance (per Smart Rapper), and Eminem is widely regarded as being particularly good at it. In the next section of this article, you'll see examples of Eminem making use of this device.

Eminem References Jeffrey Dahmer Three Times

As of September 2022, Jeffrey Dahmer's name has come up three times in Eminem lyrics, according to LAD Bible. Take a look at these lyrics and ask yourself: Is Eminem pulling off a well-crafted simile, going for a bit of shock value for its own sake, or crafting an excellent example of assonance? Or perhaps a bit of all three?

In "Bagpipes from Baghdad" (2009), Mathers makes a reference to the serial killer in the same song in which he takes digs at Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon, according to Song Meanings And Facts. "I cut you like Dahmer, pull a butcher knife on ya," he raps. On the same album ("Relapse"), he name-checks the murderer again on "Must Be the Ganja," saying, "Faced with a dilemma: I can be Dalai Lama / And be calm or bring drama, a step beyond of Jeffrey Dahmer." Mathers took a few years off from referencing Dahmer, but brought him back again in 2013 for "Brainless," in which he raps, "Just think if I had a brain in it, thank God that I don't / Cause I'd probably be Dahmer, 'cause mama always said."

Eminem explained in an interview that he had "a thing" for serial killers, saying (via the Daily Mirror), "I found that watching movies about killers sparked something in me."