Eminem's first two albums were all about creating controversy. While other rappers used their struggles in the hood as fuel for their rhymes, Eminem used controversy. It was his lifeblood. If Eminem didn't have all of his controversy to build on, he would not be a very big name in rap at all. Now, I think it's fair to say his first two albums created a fair amount that. He drew hate from homosexuals, his mom, numerous celebrities, Kim, and many, many others. On Eminem Show, it seems like he finally decided that he had enough, and he could just coast. Instead of creating controversy on this album, he steps back and judges how those conflicts have affected his life and everyone around him.
Why did he not create more controversy? I am not sure, and I wish that he had. Because of the fact that this album went light on the dissing and the hating, it is going to be a less interesting listen than his first two albums. Many people look at that fact, and instantly judge this album as a failure. Unfortunately, this album has also been deemed "superficial," as it is easy to enjoy on the first listen, but his rhymes have little substance. While that may be true to a certain extent, it is definitely not the case throughout the album. Do songs like Without Me and Business get old fast? Yes, they sure as hell do. But the songs that lurk under the mainstream radar make this album.
The singles on this album were less than spectacular. The hated duo of Superman and Without Me are the two singles that draw the most hate. Superman is nearly too terrible for words. It is just the most generic "bitc
h" song that you have ever heard. The beat is slow, wandering, and boring. On this song, Eminem directs his hate for Kim at all females. While that isn't too bad of a topic. What's so terrible about this song is the hook, which is a sultry conversation between Eminem and Dina Rae, his designated bitc
h. I mean, it's a conversation between a couple in bed. Why is that an enjoyable hook for a rap song? I don't know what Eminem was thinking when he made this song, but it earns a spot up there with ultimate Eminem failures, with songs like As
s Like That.
Without Me isn't nearly all that bad, but it still nothing for Eminem to brag about. This is the second song with the "Guess who's back?" theme, which was already done better on the MMLP’s I'm Back. The beat is very poppy, carried mostly by percussion. As would become the norm on Encore, Eminem's lyrics are painfully directionless on this song. His rhymes are an attempt at humor, but they just come off as stupid. With pointless rhymes such as " well if you want Shady, this is what I'll give ya, a little bit of me mixed with some hard liquor, some vodka that'll jumpstart my heart quicker then a shock, when I get shocked at the hospital, by the Dr. when I'm not cooperating, when I'm rocking the table while he's operating, you waited this long now stop debating, cuz I'm back, I'm on the rag and ovulating." you can't really expect too much from this song.
Production-wise, Eminem attempted to go solo for the most part on this album. While Dre's beats had a distinctive and enjoyable sound to them, Eminem's beats really have no signature style. They are rather generic, with a bouncy, cartoonish feel. Of course, Dre helps out on some of the songs, and it is always nice to hear a Dre produced beat amid the faceless, featureless Eminem beats. Now, this isn't to say that his beats are bad. They fit his style perfectly, they just aren't standouts.
Most of the singles on this album are grouped together in the front of this album. The last four real songs are relatively unknown. As a stupid child, I didn't even listen to those songs, because I just wanted to hear the singles. That was unfortunate for me, because every single one of those last four songs are gems. The first of these is When The Music Stops. This is the mandatory D12 song on this album, and it is easily the best D12 song on an Eminem album. In fact, it may be the third or fourth best D12 song of any kind. Eminem's verse is perfect and polished, what you would expect from his third album. Eminem tries to be funny unsuccessfully during this album, but D12 can actually do what he tries to. Their rhymes are just so random. Bizarre's rhymes are just hilarious, with lines such as "N.W.A. said fuc
k the police, now I'm in jail," and "Ludacris said throw them bowls, now I'm in the hospital with a broken nose and a fractured elbow." For the first time on the album, I was in fits. It only got better from here.
Say What You Say is the ominous follower to When The Music Stops. Dre comes in and helps out Eminem in this song. Now, Dre is more known for his "G-funk" beats then his rapping skill. It's funny then, that for the first and only time in his career, Eminem is outrapped in a track on his own album. The chorus, although not catchy, is pounding and ominous. The Dre beat is excellent, as always. This is the "enemy dis" track, and it is done better than ever. Dre's disses are razor sharp, and strike to the heart of his enemies. A funny ending to the song, with Timbaland saying "Tell 'em that they can suck my dic
'Till I Collapse is the best song on this album, and one of the better songs that Eminem has ever released. Eminem's chorus maker Nate Dogg appears on this song, and it is the best hook that Nate has ever made Eminem. In this song, Eminem is responding to people who think that he is fading with this album (like me). God, if only all of the songs on this album could be like this. Eminem's doesn't fuc
k around with pointless rhymes in this song, something he was prone to in the other tracks on this album. The beat is pretty good. It wouldn't stand very well on its own, but it accentuates Eminem's rhymes well. This is a very inspiring song, and that is probably its greatest asset. Eminem is at his best when he invokes emotions from the listener, and this song is a perfect example of doing that.
My Dad's Gone Crazy is another Dre produced track. Eminem should've never tried to produce his own music, but at least we can still enjoy these scattered nuggets. This song is Eminem showing off his sense of humor. While most of this album would show a dangerous inclination to potty humor (that would later degrade into a downright poop-fest on Encore), this song actually had Eminem being genuinely funny. This song opens with Eminem's funniest skit ever. It has Eminem listening to a radio program about "Daddies" and snorting coke, then his daughter comes in. Hailey sings the chorus to this song, and it works surprisingly well. It doesn't sound nearly as forced and corny as you would expect. A great song by Eminem, one of the better ones on this album.
There are some other good songs scattered throughout the album, such as Soldier, Sing For The Moment, and Cleanin Out My Closet. Unfortunately, filler songs such as Drips, Say Goodbye To Hollywood, and Superman pollute the album's quality. Unfortunately, there are no really great songs that knock you right on your as
s like Rock Bottom or The Way I Am on this album.
Overall, this is the album that shows Eminem losing his grip. His rhyme themes are boring and recycled. Despite that, he actually makes some really good songs on this album, and it is consistent for the most part. His individual rhymes are much more polished than on earlier albums, and he has better guest appearances (except, of course, for Superman). An enjoyable listen, but nowhere near the level of his first two albums.
'Till I Collapse
Sing For The Moment
My Dad's Gone Crazy