The album that started it all. After the dismal performance of Eminem’s debut LP Infinite, things were looking bleak for the Detroit-based rapper. In fact, he attempted to end his life.
It was Interscope founder Jimmy Iovine who brought a demo tape of his to Dr. Dre, which impressed the doctor so much that he decided to recruit him to Aftermath and also produce his next album. The end product was the very demented and skilful The Slim Shady LP, an album that catapulted Eminem as one of the juggernauts of rap.
Welcome to the second addition to our new music review segment Journaling Eminem, where we look back and analyze the discography of legendary wordsmith and American rap icon Marshall Bruce Mathers III, more popularly known as Eminem.
The Slim Shady LP is the second studio album by Eminem, released on 23rd February 1999, under the labels Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records. It’s 59 minutes 53 seconds long with 20 tracks and Dr. Dre as the executive producer.
My Name Is
The album is known for many things, but the song My Name Is is responsible for making Eminem a household name, functioning as a preview of his alternate persona Slim Shady and what the rest of the album has to offer.
It topped the charts and was played consistently on the radio, making it impossible to ignore the soon-to-be-a-global-phenomenon in the making.
Listening to My Name Is today continues to be a delight. Its rhymes are witty and carry with them the charisma that Eminem would display for the greater half of his career.
Guilty Conscience (feat. Dr. Dre)
This back-and-forth between Good and Evil, embodied by Dre and Eminem respectively, makes for one of the darkest tracks in the album, with vivid descriptions of slashing throats and killing minors. Dre wins the first round, Eminem wins the second, while the third one was a bargain and a compromise between morality and evil.
A hyperbolic narrative of Eminem getting bullied at his previous school, which ended in a lawsuit from the bully who was named accurately in the song. Cartoony and zany and full of humor.
If I Had
Written around the time of his attempted suicide, this is Eminem at his most vulnerable. It deals with poverty and its resulting disenchantment from humanity. Here, Marshall is tired. He fantasizes about becoming rich, but has no intention of helping out the world. Instead, he’s ready to turn the world into alcoholics and ensure it serves him completely.
'97 Bonnie & Clyde
It’s not a debate. ‘97 Bonnie & Clyde is the most disturbing track on the album. It describes in vivid detail Eminem murdering his wife and disposing of her body, all the while driving his daughter in the car seat. It’s a twisted fantasy where Eminem and his daughter live happily ever after, just the two of them.
I don’t particularly enjoy this song. The idea that Eminem worked with was creating a sarcastic song that told his fans to not look up to him as a role model.
Cum on Everybody
Probably Eminem’s first party anthem, Cum on Everybody encapsulates late 90s humor, but manages to be a fun, upbeat song. The hook is hilarious and well-executed.
Just Don't Give a Fuck‘
This is Slim Shady, taking a dig at review magazines and anyone who’s had a problem with him or his music. It continues to be a fan favorite. It also contains some of his most impressive internal rhymes. For example, “looniest, zaniest, spontaneous, sporadic”.
Less villainous and more poking fun, I'm Shady makes reference to probably every STD and drug in existence. He’s cocky and well aware of his own entertainment value.
Bad Meets Evil (feat. Royce da 5'9")
A collaboration that would grow into one of the longest friendships in the industry, as well as an album of the same name, Bad Meets Evil demonstrates the technical prowess of Eminem and Royce da 5’9’’ as they go back and forth to establish dominance over the rap game.
Still Don't Give a Fuck
A reiteration of Just Don't Give a Fuck, Eminem concludes the album with a forewarning that Slim Shady indeed does not care, and refuses to conform or apologize. He rides the production with the kind of ease that would soon become his trademark.
It’s a strong ending, and a clue to his never-ending authority in hip-hop, a proclamation that the White boy from Detroit is here to stay.