Eminem – “The Marshall Mathers LP” review

After dropping his major label debut The Slim Shady LP appearing his mentor Dr. Dre’s sophomore effort The Chronic 2001 all just the year before, St. Joseph born/Detroit raised MC/producer Eminem IMMEDIATELY went from a nobody to an international superstar. Interscope even gave him his own imprint Shady Records & this is the very 1st release under the label, albeit still signed to Interscope as well as Dre’s label Aftermath Entertainment. Unlike the last album where we got to know a little bit more about his alter ego Slim Shady, we see Em getting more personal with his 3rd full-length album over here. The album starts off with “Kill You”, where Em is just angrily warning us not to fuck with him over an illegal sample of “Pulsion” by Jacques Loussier. The next track “Stan” is about a fictional crazed Eminem fan named Stan (hence the title) who writes 2 letters to Em as well as a 3rd one right before he kills himself & his pregnant girlfriend because he never got a letter back. However, Eminem actually writes a response to Stan’s first 2 letters but realizes at the end of the song that he had already taken his life a couple weeks ago. This is often considered to be Em’s best song & rightfully so because the story was really well written & the beat from The 45 King (who is one of the most underrated producers of all-time in my opinion) is straight dope. Especially with how way he sampled “Thank You” by Dido for the hook. The track “Who Knew?” has a semi-funky bassline & Em’s basically firing back at those who say his music is negatively influence the youth. The way he does it though is not only kinda humorous, but it is logical. Especially with the line “I see 3 little kids up in the front row, screamin’ “Go” with their 17-year-old uncle. I’m like, “Guidance, ain’t they got the same moms & dads who got mad when I asked if they liked violence?” & told me that my tape taught ’em to swear. What about the makeup you allow your 12 year old daughter to wear?”. The track following that “The Way I Am” sees Em taking a jab at beatmaking & he does it well because the chords & bells throughout fit perfectly with the song’s lyrics. “The Real Slim Shady” is a typical comedy hip hop song kinda like “My Name Is” off his last album but this one’s WAY funnier. The track “Remember Me?” was actually an outtake from The Chronic 2001, but hearing it on here makes much more since to me since it’s in the same vein as “Xxplosive” off that album as well as “Stranded on Death Row” off of Dre’s 1992 solo debut The Chronic. The track “I’m Back” sees the return of Slim Shady & the rhyme schemes throughout are completely bonkers. After that, we see Em getting personal again with the track “Marshall Mathers” & the 2nd verse on here is a flawless diss towards the Insane Clown Posse. “Drug Ballad” is pretty self-explanatory but the way he talks about it is very personal in an awesome way. “Amityville” sees Em teaming up with fellow D12 member Bizarre to describe how sick The D really is & I really like how sinisterly executed it was. The next track “Bitch Please II” is a follow up to “Bitch Please” by Snoop Dogg & not only does Em get Snoop to join him on the sequel, but we also get Dre on the beat as well as verse from Xzibit & Nate Dogg on the hook (all 3 of whom are reprising their contributions on the original). We also hear a verse from Dre at the very beginning & while Dre has always been my all-time favorite producer, I’ve always viewed him to be just SLIGHTLY above average when he’s on the mic. However, it was cool to hear him spit the verse Em had written for him before everyone else goes in. The next track “Kim” is truly one of the most disturbing hip hop songs ever made because for 6 & a half minutes, we hear Em screaming about fictionally murdering his ex-wife Kim & the thunderous production enhances the depressing atmosphere of the song. Understandably, the clean version of this album replaces this track with an alternative song called “The Kids” where Slim Shady is a substitute teacher for Mr. Garrison (from the classic animated Comedy Central TV show South Park) & he’s basically talking to the students about drugs but he sounds overly enthusiastic about it which I find to be kinda funny. The track “Under the Influence” sees Em bringing every single member of D12 on board to talk about the usual crazy shit they do & the ominous sounding violin loop throughout is flawless. The album closes out with “Criminal” where Em is once again firing back at those who were calling him a negative influence but unlike “Who Knew?”, this track is much more confrontational & the best part about this song is that he literally sounds like he doesn’t give any fucks whatsoever. I will always view this album to be Em’s best work. Not only because I feel like his lyricism & the production are at their strongest, but I feel like he pretty much said what was on his mind at the time & didn’t care what anyone else thought throughout the album’s 72-minute run time. Hate him or love him, you CAN’T deny his craft & I think this album is the biggest example of that

Score: 5/5

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