February 25, 2007

Eminem - The Slim Shady LP (February 23, 1999)

 
This isn't really an album that I would be doing any favors for; it's already sold millions of copies. It's also considered to be a classic album by some hip hop heads, a few of which actually have valid opinions (like my own). 


Most of us already know the story, so I'll just hit the high points. Eminem was a poor white emcee in Detroit who released a couple of albums locally, caught the ear of the good Dr. Dre while freestyling, and signed a deal. He released The Slim Shady LP in 1999, selling tons of copies, making Eminem the most popular white rapper in history.


It helps that Marshall Mathers is actually a great rapper. 

Some of you may disagree with me (especially considering his current output), but when he made his major label debut, there weren't too many rappers who could fuck with him. The only two who came close to his style were Redman (a personal favorite of mine) and Royce da 5'9" (also a personal favorite). In fact, Royce is really the only rapper that Em could possibly see as a threat to his own success. He spent time as Eminem's hypeman at shows before releasing his own debut album.

The question on everyone's mind, though (and by everyone I mean myself), is: Does this album still hold up? And did it ever hold up in the first place?

If this were a brand new album, would you actually buy it, or bootleg the shit out of it?

SPOILER ALERT: It would be bootlegged. All rap albums are these days. Nevertheless:

1. PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
Thank God. I hadn't heard a rap album intro for about an hour, and I was starting to worry.

2. MY NAME IS
Did everyone really like this song back in 1999? Was this really played on the radio? What the fuck were we thinking?

3. GUILTY CONSCIENCE (FEAT DR. DRE)
I miss Slim Shady. The new mature Eminem is bland in comparison.

4. BRAIN DAMAGE
The epitome of early Eminem: simplistic beats, ad libs, Em voicing multiple characters, and vivid storytelling.

5. PAUL
Skit. (Zzzzz..............)

6. IF I HAD
Taken from the earlier The Slim Shady EP, just remastered. It's easy to release an album, actually, when you just put all your old shit on it.

7. '97 BONNIE AND CLYDE
Titled "Just The Two Of Us" on the EP. Marshall kills his ex-wife and tosses her in the river while his daughter rides shotgun. I can't imagine why this song was ever controversial.

8. BITCH
Voicemail skit featuring Henry Winkler's daughter (why?).

9. ROLE MODEL
My favorite Eminem song ever. There is no topping the bullshit that Marshall spits here. The video is ridiculous, too.


10. LOUNGE
Skit. (Zzzzz...............)


11. MY FAULT
A song about what happened when some chick had a bad reaction to Em's shrooms. I remember a strange radio edit of this track where Em apologizes for ordering a pizza with mushrooms, raising the standards for creatively getting around censorship in hip hop.


12. KEN KANIFF
Aristotle, an underground rapper, cameos as the title character in the most homophobic skit on the album. Strangely, after Em blew up and summarily fired Aristotle, deciding to instead do the voice himself (why?), Aristotle took it upon himself to release an internet album called The Real Ken Kaniff, performing the whole fucking thing in that lame ass voice. True story.


13. CUM ON EVERYBODY
Meh.


14. ROCK BOTTOM
You can picture Rabbit from 8 Mile writing this song right after he won the big battle at the end.


15. JUST DON'T GIVE A FUCK
From the popular Nicolas Cage film of the same name.


16. SOAP
...


17. AS THE WORLD TURNS
Marshall used to have a knack for saying the most fucked up things on record, but in a highly entertaining way. He doesn't do this anymore.


18. I'M SHADY
Huh. I thought I was shady. Guess I was mistaken, my bad.


19. BAD MEETS EVIL (FEAT ROYCE DA 5'9")
To this date, Royce is still the only rapper who can hold his own with Eminem's style. So of course, they don't work together anymore.


20. STILL DON'T GIVE A FUCK
Just in case you weren't sure after track 15.


FINAL THOUGHTS: Would I buy this album if it was brand new, coming out today? Hell no. Some of the shit here is corny as fuck, and the novelty of the white rapper has worn off. But does it hold up? Well, the beats don't, but the lyrics shine. Em's a natural storyteller and battle rapper, so he more than holds his own here.


BUY OR BURN? I'm going to have to recommend you burn this one, unless you find it for two dollars somewhere. It's not vital to own this album, but you should listen to it all the way through at least once.


BEST TRACKS: "Role Model"; "Guilty Conscience"


-Max

12 comments:

  1. Nice reviews, I agree Role Model's the best Eminem song. The beat holds up and the concept makes you want to be a renegade. I watched the video, and the line he adds about getting the sixth mic from the source from ll's arm is dope. Congratulations, now you have three readers

    ReplyDelete
  2. I always thought the beat for Role Model was similar to Rza's 4th Chamber beat off Liquid Swords. Both are paramount 90's tracks, I always thought that it was Dre's (or one of his studio musician's) take on it. I'm sure I'm not the only one who noticed the similarity between the two. No doubt a hype mix is either already out there, or sitting in some dj/mixer's computer. When some tracks like those two come out, new music will be something to get excited about

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't think you're giving enough respect to "Still Don't Give A Fuck."

    That song still makes me want to jump through a wall when I hear it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. kevin bielawskiNovember 21, 2008

    i also agree on role models being probably the best eminem song out and the rest of the review is pretty much on point as the world turns is also one of his funniest songs and congrats on 4 readers

    ReplyDelete
  5. I agree that "Still Don't Give a Fuck" deserves more respect than your review gives it. Other than that, your review is spot on, in my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Only thing I disagree is how it's not a buy for you. I'd still rather bump this over the 95% bull shit that comes out in hip-hop today. At that time it was a novelty to be white, but if it were released right now I'd buy it without a doubt. The worldplay is off the chain and even the corny as fuck songs still beat all of the albums pushed out by the G-Unit roster and Cash Money roster combined.

    ReplyDelete
  7. still don't give a fuck is eminem's best song, the third verse is his finest verse. Recognise that. this album is SO good, i'm surprised you don't agree man.

    ReplyDelete
  8. AnonymousJuly 09, 2012

    this is one of your worst reviews man. atleast give an opinion on each song. i mean the skits sure, they dont deserve an opinion. but it seems like u were just trying to get through this review as quickly as possible. "From the popular Nicolas Cage film of the same name." what?

    ReplyDelete
  9. AnonymousJuly 09, 2012

    you have said yourself that eminem is one of the best to ever do it, but your reviews of his albums dont make it seem that way

    ReplyDelete
  10. sTILl don't give a fuck and cum on everybody are amazing, though I agree that role model is em's best song ever.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Em's always been trash. And I will post this exact same comment in the Marshall Mathers review because it's true, lol. Eminem has 3 great songs. Exactly 3. And to me, they're blindly obvious:

    Stan, Role Model and Guilty Conscience.

    I have a soft spot for "Without Me" (It's over! nobody listens to techno, now let's go!!!"). and I think his verse on "Dead Wrong" is blisteringly good.

    When I hear newbie hip hop fans proclaim Em as top 5, and the actual great rappers never say shit to the contrary, I cringe. Em's beat selection is horrendous. Regardless of whether you love Em's voice, it's hard to ignore the fact that dude hasn't worked with the greatest hip hop producers (with the exception of Dre and the now lackluster Rubin). Which is fucking weird to me. And his 'angry' flow is grating. Twas never hot in le streets.

    over and out.

    ReplyDelete
  12. ^The above commenter sort of reminds me about how Max constantly berates Nas as well. I'm not here to get anyone to change their opinions; people have different opinions from time to time, and it's nice to hear something that's antagonistic to my preference (in this case, I love both Nas and early Eminem, but I can see there are those that don't).

    On the album itself, I understand this review was almost a decade ago, but it definitely deserves more depth than given here. Plus, it's quite awesome to hear raw Slim Shady during his underground days. While it's not the greatest album ever, there are moments where Em shines.

    Or maybe nostalgia is clouding my mind... hmm...

    ReplyDelete