Review Summary: Presenting the first mediocre Em albumBut theres way too much at stake for me to be fake
There's too much on my plate
And I came way too far in this game to turn and walk away
And not say what I got to say
What the *** you take me for? a joke? you smoking crack?
Before I do that, I beg Mariah to take me back
I get up 'for I get down, run myself in the ground, 'for I put some wack *** out
That verse alone could be the white rapper's strongest because it solidifies that Eminem can't back down from the game right now, because he's come too far. And in several ways, it's true: at the time of release, the Missouri rapper was on the top of the world right then and there. He had continued to chart around the world, and the Marshall Mathers LP was one of the highest-selling albums of all time. He was considered one of the brightest, wittiest, and most creative artists of our decade, not to mention one of the most controversial. To some. When Eminem announced his third album, the world would fall over it. But unlike the insanely crude first two albums (sans Infinite), Eminem Show took on a more mature approach. This was fine, as long as you did it correctly.
Unfortunately, he didn't. And thus began the downfall of Marshall Mathers the Third.
Marshall Mathers, aka Eminem aka Slim Shady. The Eminem Show.
Released by Shady Records, 2002.
Ambition is dangerous: it can either be the reason your career will excel, or it can bring you down. This is a sad case of the latter. As I had said before, Eminem Show took on a more mature approach to the white rapper's usual smart alec, insulting, and self-mocking tone from the previous two albums. This shared more emotional tales of his youth, the exhaustion of media popularity, his view on mainstream, the affect of music on America's youth, and so on. This is a formula that could make for a epic in his library.
The first few problems apparent is that Mathers is already touching on some subjects we've already touched base with. Your mother's a bitch, Kim cheated on you, and you love your daughter Hailie more than anything. Apart from these generic subjects (which are expanded on further in Encore, unfortunately), this is unlike anything Eminem had done up to that point. But it feels more whiny than some attempts. Like Cleanin' Out My Closet
is covering something he's done in songs like Brain Damage, Marshall Mathers, and Kill You
. Unlike these three, this feels recycled.
More classic moments like Soldier and Till I Collapse
show off a more aggressive side to Eminem, showing off some of the angst-filled of his career. Reliving the more classic moments from the previous SS LP and MM LP, the humorous side of the album could be stronger, such as songs like Business
feeling less exciting after several listens. The two "epics" in Em's case, Sing for the Moment and White America
both deal with his affect on America's children, the tight rhyme schemes making it easier to listen to individually. That being said, the track order is completely screwed up. The emotional Sing for the Moment
is then followed by Superman
, or Till I Collapse
being followed by My Dad's Gone Crazy
. The man should know better, like the masterful flow of his forgotten demo tape Infinite, or other tracks.
Slight criticism aside, the first half is arguably better than the second, though the flow is more structured in the second.
One more small flaw could be the more raw production. The brilliant producer Dr. Dre
making moments like the dark acoustic guitar in Marshall Mathers
, or the heavy use of sound effects in Stan
are done here. Maybe due to the fact that Eminem self-produced his fourth release, this feels more rushed than previous attempts, there is a certain trait in Eminem Show that is missing. The mixing and editing is really off, with beats sometimes totally screwing up the flow in songs.
That being said, I have criticized the album. The beats are still strong: like the guitar-and-piano mixing in Soldier, the oddly fitting sample of Aerosmith's Dream On
in Sing for the Moment, and the great violin and electronic mastering in Say Goodbye Hollywood. Another improvement is that Eminem's guest stars have stepped up their game. Dr. Dre and D12 do great jobs on their respective tracks, Say What you Say and When the Music Stops
. The chorus by Nate Dogg in Till I Collapse
sets the theme of the whole album, and Obie Trice is strangely likable in Drips
If anything, The Eminem Show shows a legendary rapper's last stand, and it is incredibly great in the oddest of senses. For the first several listens, at least. There's some positive and negative aspects to each song, some have more positive, some have more negative. And this is years better than his next release.
Eminem - The Eminem Show: 2002, Shady Records
2.5 / 5
Not sure what to put here. If you want a more angsty side of the album, Soldier and Till I Collapse are the way to go. If you want a more emotional track, Sing for the Moment. The humorous side can be found on My Dad's Gone Crazy.