Review Summary: An excellent, star-studded album that’s a perfect compliment to the movie.4 of 4 thought this review was well written
At the time that 8 Mile
came out, Eminem had released three albums on a major label. Not only was he the biggest name in hip-hop but one of the most successful artists in the world, regardless of genre. But despite all of his success, on the 8 Mile soundtrack, Eminem was able to put himself in the mindset he was in before his popularity exploded and he does it in a thoroughly convincing manner. Even with all the star power on this album Eminem is undoubtedly the star of the show, on the mic and behind the boards.
Although it was played to death and we all got tired of it, ‘Lose Yourself’ is a great track with its memorable piano intro and guitars that build up the intensity before each chorus and Em talking about how “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow.”
The title track and ‘Rabbit Run’ are other Eminem solo spots that are the clear highlight of this soundtrack, along with his scene-stealing verse on D12’s ‘Rap Game’. This release also served as an introduction to Shady Records artist Obie Trice and built up the anticipation for 50 Cent who made his mainstream debut with ‘Wanksta.’ Before 50 Cent’s dramatic rise (and stunning fall) his skills and catchy hooks are displayed on the aforementioned ‘Rap Game’ and his other solo spot ‘Places to go.’
One of the weaker songs on this soundtrack is surprisingly done by Nas with ‘U Wanna Be Me’ the simple, bare-bones production highlight the uninspired lyrics that are all sorts of insults to the people who want to be like him. Nas’ nemesis (at the time) Jay-Z however comes through with his protégé Freeway whose grating voice isn’t enough to bring the track down because of Jigga’s confidence and charisma along with another superb beat provided by Eminem. It shouldn’t be a surprise though that one of the most memorable beats is provided by the legendary DJ Premier on Gang Starr’s ‘Battle’, an amazing horn-laced backdrop to Guru’s smooth, laid back flow. Rakim also makes an appearance with ‘R.A.K.I.M.’ riding a busy track provided by Denaun Porter AKA Kon Artis from D12. Actress-turned-singer Taryn Manning makes an appearance with her brother in the duo known as Boomkat. Taryn’s beautiful, sultry vocals provided a welcome change of pace from all the rapping since the only other non hip-hop song is done by Macy Gray whose raspy, nails-on-a-chalkboard vocals provide the low point of the soundtrack along with Young Zee’s ‘That's My Nigga Fo' Real.’
develops in an appropriately cinematic way, especially with all of Eminem’s appearances that have a common theme: becoming a rap star. Never mind that he had already achieved success beyond anybody’s expectations, Eminem spits with an intensity that’s palpable and heartfelt reminiscent of one of his best tracks ‘Rock Bottom’ from the Slim Shady LP.
There’s a sense of urgency in Em’s voice in every one of his appearances “Success is my only motherf*cking option, failure’s not.”
Coming off the somewhat lackluster Eminem Show
this was a welcome return to form for Mr. Mathers.