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"Guilty Conscience" is a song by American rapper Eminem, featuring American hip hop record producer Dr. Dre. It was released as the third and final single from Eminem's The Slim Shady LP (1999). It was also released on his 2005 greatest hits album Curtain Call: The Hits. It samples "I Will Follow Him" by Little Peggy March.

"Guilty Conscience"
Eminem - Guilty Conscience CD cover.jpg
Single by Eminem featuring Dr. Dre
from the album The Slim Shady LP
ReleasedMay 18, 1999
Format
Recorded1998
GenreHardcore hip hop, horrorcore, comedy hip hop
Length3:19
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Eminem singles chronology
"My Name Is"
(1999)
"Guilty Conscience"
(1999)
"Role Model"
(1999)
Dr. Dre singles chronology
"Zoom"
(1998)
"Guilty Conscience"
(1999)
"Hello"
(1999)
Music video
"Guilty Conscience" on YouTube

Contents

BackgroundEdit

While Eminem and Dr. Dre were at a gym, they were talking about song concepts, and Dre said that they should do a song together called "Night 'n' Day", where everything Dre was saying, Eminem would say the complete opposite. Eminem thought about it and went home that same night and began writing it. An announcer from a talent agency was hired to come in to voice the narrator. Eminem and co. told him his parts and what he had to say, and they made the skit around what he said.[1]

The song is also mentioned in another Eminem song, "The Way I Am", in which one of the lyrics in the song say that "Guilty Conscience" received poor responses; "Oh, it's his lyrical content - the song 'Guilty Conscience' has gotten such rotten responses".

LyricsEdit

"Guilty Conscience" features a duel between the two rappers playing the roles of good and evil in someone's head in the manner of a medieval morality play, i.e., the angel and devil on a person's shoulders competing for possession of the person's soul. Dr. Dre is the angel; Slim Shady the devil. The song contains spoken parts and sound effects describing several conflicting scenarios building tension and curiosity, narrated by Mark Avery. Eminem is generally credited for writing Dre's verses as well as his own.

The first verse of the song features the story of Eddie, 23, a frustrated young man about to rob a liquor store. Dre warns Eddie not to go through with it, telling him that the witnesses will report the robbery to the police, that it will be mentioned on the news, and that Eddie will end up on the most wanted list. Slim Shady urges Eddie to go through with his plan; he tells Eddie to go to his aunts' house and disguise himself so witnesses would not recognize him. Shady uses the poverty of Eddie's family to justify the robbery, and in the unedited version, tries to persuade Eddie to murder the store clerk, whom Dre says is "older than George Burns". Though in the song alone the end is ambiguous, the music video depicts Eddie ultimately deciding not to go through with the theft and walks away.

In the next verse, the 21-year-old Stan takes an underage girl upstairs during a rave party. In the Director's Cut music video, the scene takes place at a fraternity party. Eminem attempts to convince Stan to date-rape the girl over Dre's protests and warnings about jail time for statutory rape, and it is left somewhat vague whether or not Stan goes through with it. Dre refers to the 1995 movie Kids in which the climax scene shows a teenage boy date-raping a girl who is infected with HIV. In the uncensored version of the song, Slim Shady suggests unprotected sex in an earlier refrain. Shady also references Funkdoobiest front man Son Doobie. In the edited version, the intensity is toned down and Slim suggests leaving the girl passed out on her parents' doorstep. The scene, especially the edited ending version, is reminiscent of a famous scene from the movie Animal House. During the narration of this scene, the song "Hoochie Mama" by 2 Live Crew is heard playing in the background at the party.

In the third verse, Grady, a 29-year-old construction worker, comes home to find his wife having sex with another man in bed. In the unedited version, Slim Shady demands that Grady brutally kill his wife. When Dre tries to cut in, Slim tells Grady to leave his wife and take their kids with him, bringing up Dre's violent N.W.A past accusing him of hypocrisy, including when he says "You gonna take advice from somebody who slapped Dee Barnes?" and again when he says, "Mr. Dre, Mr. N.W.A, Mr. A.K. coming Straight Outta Compton, y'all better make way. How in the fuck are you gonna tell this man not to be violent?" In turn, Dre argues that Grady doesn't need to take the same foolish path Dre himself once took, saying "Been There, Done That". In the end, Shady's taunting pushes Dre into agreeing that Grady should murder both his wife and her lover. This particular ending caused a lot of controversy, especially since it was left in the edited version of the song. This song was referenced multiple times in Eminem's next album, The Marshall Mathers LP.

Critical receptionEdit

Allmusic highlighted this song on LP.[2] David Browne noted that Eminem's "coldly-calculated-to-offend alter ego considers date rape".[3]

Music videoEdit

The video for "Guilty Conscience" has a nonstop back-beat with a chorus, unlike the album version, and a different narrator, played by actor Robert Culp. The lyrics in the chorus samples the song "I Will Follow Him" by Little Peggy March ("These voices, I hear them. And, when they talk, I'll follow"). The version that aired on MTV eliminated the murder at the end of the song and converted it into an escalating argument between Eminem and Dre with no resolution. The Director's Cut leaves the murder in.[4] The video is produced using the bullet time technique, depicting Eminem and Dr. Dre rapping to the song's protagonists on how to deal with their conflicting situations: including a man's temptation to robbing a liquor store, a college student's urge to have sex with an underage girl at a frat party, and the urge of a construction worker to murder his wife after he catches her cheating with another man. Dr. Dre poses as the "good conscience" and wins the first arguments (Eddie) while Eminem poses as the "evil conscience" and wins the second (Stan). However, in the third argument, which is over the actions Grady (the construction worker) should take when he catches his wife cheating with another man, Eminem's taunting and accusations of hypocrisy coaxes Dr. Dre into agreeing with him that Grady should kill them both and subsequently Dre suggests that Grady should get his gun and murder his wife and her lover. The song contains a sample from the Ronald Stein song "Go Home Pigs" from the soundtrack to the film Getting Straight. Eminem later released "Guilty Conscience" on his greatest hits album, Curtain Call: The Hits. The nonstop back-beat and chorus from the music video were only used in the edited version of the song, but the narrator was not changed. The video won the "Hottest Music Video" award at the Online Hip-Hop Awards in 2000.[5][6] The video was listed on MuchMusic's 50 Most Controversial Videos at No. 38 for its promotion on how people get crossed with their consciences.

LawsuitEdit

In September 2003, 70-year-old widow Harlene Stein filed suit against Eminem and Dr. Dre on the grounds that "Guilty Conscience" contains an unauthorized sample of "Pigs Go Home" composed for the film Getting Straight by her husband, Ronald Stein, who died in 1988.[7] Although the album's liner notes state that the song contains an "interpolation" of "Pigs Go Home", Stein is not credited as a composer and his wife was not paid royalties for use of the song.[7] The lawsuit requested 5 percent of the retail list price of 90 percent of all the copies of the record sold in America, and 2.5 percent of the retail price of 90 percent of the copies of the album sold internationally.[7]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Track listingEdit

UK CD1[10]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Guilty Conscience" (radio edit) (extra clean with new hook)3:16
2."Guilty Conscience" (album version) (with new hook)
  • Mathers
  • Young
  • Dr. Dre
  • Eminem[a]
3:19
3."'97 Bonnie & Clyde"5:03
4."Guilty Conscience" (video)  3:19
Total length:14:57
UK CD2[11]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Guilty Conscience" (radio edit) (extra clean with new hook)3:16
2."Guilty Conscience" (instrumental)
  • Mathers
  • Young
  • Dr. Dre
  • Eminem[a]
3:19
3."My Name Is" (clean version)
  • Dr. Dre
4:30
4."My Name Is" (video)  4:28
Total length:15:33
UK Cassette
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Guilty Conscience" (radio edit) (extra clean with new hook)3:16
2."Guilty Conscience" (instrumental)
  • Mathers
  • Young
  • Dr. Dre
  • Eminem[a]
4:27
Total length:6:35
German CD single[12]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Guilty Conscience" (radio edit) (extra clean with new hook)3:16
2."Guilty Conscience" (instrumental)
  • Mathers
  • Young
  • Dr. Dre
  • Eminem[a]
3:19
3."'97 Bonnie & Clyde"5:03
4."My Name Is" (clean version)
  • Dr. Dre
4:30
5."My Name Is" (video)  4:28
Total length:20:36
Notes

ChartsEdit

Chart (1999) Peak
position
France (SNEP)[13] 97
Germany (Media Control Charts)[14] 40
Ireland (IRMA)[15] 12
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[16] 21
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[17] 25
UK R&B (Official Charts Company)[18] 1
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[19] 5
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[20] 56

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[21] Silver 200,000^
United States (RIAA)[22] Gold 500,000 

^shipments figures based on certification alone
 sales+streaming figures based on certification alone

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Angry Blonde pg. 52 and 53
  2. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "The Slim Shady LP - Eminem - Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  3. ^ "The Slim Shady LP - EW.com". Entertainment Weekly's EW.com. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  4. ^ Video clip on YouTube
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2011-07-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "The Online Hip-Hop Awards". Archived from the original on 17 June 2000. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Wiederhorn, Jon (September 17, 2003). "Eminem Gets Sued ... By A Little Old Lady". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
  8. ^ "MTV Video Music Awards 1999". mtv.com. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  9. ^ "Past Winners Search (Eminem)". GRAMMY.com. National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  10. ^ "Guilty Conscience [CD 1]: Amazon.co.uk: Music". Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  11. ^ "Guilty Conscience [CD 2]: Amazon.co.uk: Music". Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Guilty Conscience: Amazon.co.uk: Music". Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  13. ^ "Eminem feat. Dr. Dre - Guilty Conscience" (in French). lescharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  14. ^ "Eminem feat. Dr.Dre, Guilty Conscience" (in German). charts.de. Media Control Charts. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  15. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know" (insert "Eminem" into the "Search by Artist" box, or insert "Guilty Conscience" into the "Search by Song Title" box). irishcharts.ie. Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  16. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 33, 1999". top40.nl. Dutch Top 40. Archived from the original (in Dutch) on 22 August 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  17. ^ "Eminem feat. Dr. Dre - Guilty Conscience". swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  18. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  19. ^ "Eminem". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original (select "View Singles" tab) on 8 August 2012. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  20. ^ "Eminem Album & Song Chart History: R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  21. ^ "British single certifications – Eminem – Guilty Conscience". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved January 31, 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Guilty Conscience in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  22. ^ "American single certifications – Eminem – Guilty Conscience". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 28, 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External linksEdit