Eminem
The Marshall Mathers LP


5.0
classic

Review

by Ben Thornburgh CONTRIBUTOR (127 Reviews)
July 26th, 2012 | 68 replies


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: You know you started some controversy when the uncensored version of your album is still censored.

For the public service announcement skit that opens The Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem is just playing around and for the first 17 seconds of “Kill You” he’s just playing around. But then, “They said I cant rap about being broke no more/they aint say I cant rap about coke no more”, and it becomes abundantly clear that Eminem is not playing anymore. What follows is a vicious attack on everybody and one of the most jaw dropping openers you're likely ever to hear. I can’t even begin to start quoting from this song since that doesn’t even come close to doing the utterly phenomenal rhyme schemes justice but I do have just this one. When he says “Give me your hands and feet/I said shut up when I’m talking to you/You hear me, answer me” do you think he’s talking to some imaginary girl or his audience?

Hell, Eminem needed to just straight up address his audience by this point. His lyrics had created a media circus in the most hilarious way. When Eminem started burying his wife’s body and encouraging kids to do acid it caused a huge tidal wave of controversy that afforded Eminem more free publicity than any marketing campaign could drum up. Em owed each and every angry mother a cut of the profits generated by the 10 million copies this disc sold. Speaking of 10 million copies, this is a seriously dangerous album to sell 10 million copies. In the wrong hands this album goes from being lyrically complex to a simple exaltation of violence. This album belongs in the hands of serious hip-hop scholars, not 16 year olds that heard “The Real Slim Shady” on the radio. But it made it there anyway so now Eminem has to deal with it. He cant help but wonder aloud, “How many retards will listen to me and run up in the school shooting when they pissed at the teach’?”

That kind of pressure will stamp out a weaker man but it just pumped Em up. With the weight of following his debut pressing down on him Eminem wiped the sweat from his brow, stepped to the microphone, and transformed into flow incarnate. Stress is easily is the driving factor behind his planet shifting mic performances with “The Way I Am” as exhibit A. The first verse barely rhymes on paper but when Em accents it (“I sit back/with this bag/of zig zags/of this weed/it gives ME/the *** needed”) it makes each end word hit with the blunt force of a fist thwacking a punching bag.

Hot rhymes cant carry a whole album though, you need great beats too. The spotless Aftermath/Dr. Dre sound is played out nowadays, but this knocks front to back. From “Stan” making Dido worth it to “Bitch Please II”’s high noon organ it provides a snapshot of what high quality mainstream production sounded like but the most jaw dropping beat award goes to “Remember Me”, which glimmers with the tension of glass exploding.

Em is on such a hot streak here that anytime a guest shows up it nearly deadens the momentum of the album. Its not that the guests here are particularly bad, some are good (Sticky Fingaz) some are running on autopilot (Dr. Dre) and some are terrible (Bizarre) but they all just serve as little breaks for Eminem to get some water or go to the bathroom, none of them add much to the album. Other than that, “Drug Ballad” is a fun but pointless throwback to The Slim Shady LP and Eminem’s long forgotten D12 posse dominates the runtime of “Under the Influence”, so obviously it’s garbage.

But those few flaws just fade away when “Kim” shows up. If you haven’t heard it, go listen to it, any descriptions I can manage of it pale in comparison to actually hearing it for the first time. He utterly flies off the handle in a microphone performance so good I forget he’s even rapping. What separates “Kim” from other rap murder fantasies is that Eminem is never presented in some kind of positive light; his rage is never justified as a fair punishment. He is clearly the villain here and yet he still refuses to let himself be presented as pure evil. Throughout the song he colors his character with shades of humanity during his full-scale mental breakdown. His desperation manifesting as fumbling with the radio and screaming at a truck that cuts him off, his anger momentarily melting away as he accuses her of thinking he's ugly, and finally complete madness taking over as he tells stories of innocent times to his wife before he chases her down in the forest and strangles her. It’s so powerful that the track that follows it might as well be 5 minutes and 22 seconds of silence.

As a rapper, Eminem is amazing, but as a writer, Eminem was a whole other beast. It’s clear today that his muse has long flown but during the entirety of The Marshall Mathers LP his words drip with purpose. The vivid flights of fantasy on his debut were lost but the creativity wasn’t. He expresses himself by kicking the *** out of the hornet’s nest that is mainstream, family focused news. You can only imagine how many times someone told him “Don’t go there” and yet there he is, fearlessly rapping about the Columbine massacre a year after it happened. “You know why Dre’s record sold so well? He’s rapping about big screen TVs, blunts, 40’s and bitches”, goes the only worthwhile skit on the record, “You’re rapping about homosexuals and Vicoden.” Indeed he was and that’s the kind of fearlessness that carries the spirit of this record 10 years later. You still hear the daring in every line, the refusal to fall into cliché, you stand in awe that an album this weird could damn near double the sales of “Dre’s record” (2001), and then Eminem ends the album by shooting you. What a guy.



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user ratings (2932)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
July 25th 2012


1673 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ALRIGHT THIS IS A LONG ONE. So it probably needs some serious editing. Y'all know the drill, I love to hear what I need to fix so I can fix it.

camaraderie
July 25th 2012


988 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The score is correct, I'll pos because of that. I'll read the review later on.

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
July 25th 2012


1673 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I think imma get to editing now, it is quite long.


Spec
July 25th 2012


27294 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah kind of odd that the uncensored version is still censored.

camaraderie
July 25th 2012


988 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The satire in this album is gold.

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
July 25th 2012


1673 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, now i'll never know whats laying in Kims living room...

ThroneOfAgony
July 25th 2012


3485 Comments


Ecstatic to see this finally got a review

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
July 25th 2012


50951 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Remember that week when there wasn't a single Eminem review?
Me neither

Digging: Friendzone - Collection 1

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
July 25th 2012


1673 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Is reviewing Eminem played out around these parts?

camaraderie
July 25th 2012


988 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Among many others, yes. This one did already have like 12 reviews.

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
July 25th 2012


1673 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Ahh, dag. Well, I wanted to chime in.

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
July 25th 2012


8940 Comments


You still here* the daring in every line, the refusal to fall into cliché,


*hear

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
July 25th 2012


1673 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Whoops thanks.

mynameisSlimShady
July 25th 2012


116 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Say what you will, this is a great album (masterpiece -- my all time fav) so it kind of makes sense as to why it has this many reviews. Pos'd.
Still banging, 12 years later. What a work of art, too bad we don't get these kind of albums anymore.

Ninjask
July 25th 2012


178 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, this album was amazing.

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
July 25th 2012


1673 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Dont get these kind of albums anymore? What does that mean?

Ramnath
July 26th 2012


2 Comments


Sweet.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 26th 2012


31605 Comments


I honestly thought this would have more reviews

Digging: Theo Parrish - American Intelligence

mynameisSlimShady
July 26th 2012


116 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@ben, i meant to say that we don't get classic rap albums that drive an entire generation like this anymore. Back then we had nwa in the late 80's/ early 90's, Tupac and biggie till 97 releasing classic albums that shaped rap and youth. We just dont get that anymore. And no, getting a bunch of retards to say swagg or yolo does not count as shaping the youth with a classic album. Though the new killer mike album is sick. Still not close to this though.

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
July 26th 2012


1673 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Naw man we get classic albums that do this still. Take Care came out last year after all.



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