November 5, 2008

Eminem - The Slim Shady EP (December 1997)




After the failure of Eminem's Infinite, Marshall Mathers spiraled downward into a dark depression. Essentially, he went all 8 Mile on us, with his girlfriend issues, his family problems, his need to find a job to support his newborn daughter, and the general economic depression that affected (and continues to affect) the entire state of Michigan. His drug use and drinking (allegedly) spiked around this point, and things got so bad that he stopped taking this rap shit seriously.

So, of course, that's what helped him break through to the mainstream.

The Slim Shady EP was recorded on a lark by a rapper that took on a persona that was the polar opposite of his everyday life: in short, Eminem "became" Slim Shady, a masochistic jackass that had no qualms with violence, drugs, animal husbandry, and the like. He recorded songs that spoke of his daily concerns, but he did so with much more of an angry streak, as if he was going to hold the listener personally responsible if things didn't start getting better for him and his family.

The Slim Shady EP became somewhat of an underground success in Marshall's hometown of Detroit. It's also the disc that somehow ended up in Dr. Dre's hands, and was directly responsible for the record deal with Aftermath/Interscope. The rest, as they say, is history.

Read on...

1. INTRO (SLIM SHADY)
Considering what Infinite sounded like, this intro is a bucket of ice cold water dumped onto your senses. It's an incredibly lame rap album intro, don't get me wrong, but it does manage to establish the fact that what we're about to hear is a completely different rapper.

2. LOW DOWN, DIRTY
Okay, this is probably closer to the Eminem you're cognizant of today (or at least, the guy my two readers used to listen to). Unpolished delivery and poor mastering aside, this isn't that bad.

3. IF I HAD...
This is the same song that appears, in a much better sounding form, on The Slim Shady LP. However, it still sounds pretty damn powerful in its original incarnation.

4. JUST DON'T GOVE A FUCK
This is the same song that appears, in a much better sounding form, on The Slim Shady LP. The major label rework remains much more capable, however.

5. MOMMY
This skit is the same as the intro from "'97 Bonnie & Clyde".

6. JUST THE TWO OF US
This is the same song that appears, in a much better sounding form, on The Slim Shady LP. However, I always preferred this title to "'97 Bonnie & Clyde": I always felt that Interscope pulled a bitch move when the name was switched (as if anybody would confuse this with the Will Smith song). Given the fact that it was originally released when Eminem was a no-name indie rapper, this tale of Em killing his baby's mama with his daughter's help is even creepier than the mastered song. When I first read about Marshall in the Unsigned Hype column in The Source, this song title was the one that stuck with me.

7. NO ONE'S ILLER (FEAT SWIFT, BIZARRE, & FUZZ)
This posse cut was the first time I had ever heard of Bizarre, and I wasn't impressed then: imagine how I feel now. Swifty McVay, as he's known now, is pretty entertaining, though, as is the song itself. This track serves as a perfect companion piece to the posse cut that appeared on Bizarre's Attack Of The Weirdos EP, "Trife Thieves", which also featured Marshall. The first time I heard Kanye West's "Drive Slow", I was immediately reminded of this track (that's right, kids, Em's production team had the sample first). Sadly, "Low Down, Dirty" and "No One's Iller" were the only two songs that didn't manage to find a second life later in Marshall's career.

8. MURDER, MURDER
A remixed version of this song appeared on the soundtrack to Next Friday, which was pretty awful otherwise, even with the Wu-Tang Clan's contribution. Anyway, this song isn't bad at all, and I actually prefer this version to the remix. Although that may be because Em sounds more authentic when you know he's not wiping his ass with hundred dollar bills.

9. IF I HAD (RADIO EDIT)
Plays out exactly as it reads.

10. JUST DON'T GIVE A #?@! (RADIO EDIT)
Probably included more as a joke than anything else, as I can't imagine any radio station ever adding this to their playlist, unless, of course, your radio station was in Detroit.

FINAL THOUGHTS: The Slim Shady EP is so much of a departure from Infinite that you'll wonder if Max is fucking with you when he states that the same guy recorded both albums. Ultimately, Marshall would parlay the Slim Shady persona into a very successful career, and for the most part, it's well deserved, since the sadistic Slim Shady has always been much more entertaining than the Eminem of old. This is probably why I'm kinda-sorta looking forward to hearing what Em has in store whenever Relapse hits stores.

BUY OR BURN? While it is a lot more entertaining than Infinite, you shouldn't buy this disc. Why? Well, mainly because you can't: it's not exactly available anywhere. A burn will suffice for curious Eminem fans or the hardcore hip hop heads that are more partial to underground releases.

BEST TRACKS: "No One's Iller"; "If I Had..."; "Murder, Murder"

-Max

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5 comments:

  1. i prefer this version of just the two/bonnie and clyde. the sample-based version on this disc is much better than the bass brothers production imo

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  2. Man, you're crazy dismissing all the superior, original Shady mixes on the EP like that...

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  3. But I didn't dismiss them at all (except for "Just Don't Give A Fuck"). I wrote that "If I Had" was still very good in its original incarnation, and the other two songs that had a second life are presented in my preferred version on here.

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  4. i wont this album if anyone knows how i can get or obtain it let me know ayre_55@hotmail.com thax

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  5. This is my favourite project from Eminem. Murder Murder is an entertaining narrative.

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