The Marshall Mathers LP



by Pedro B. USER (316 Reviews)
October 26th, 2005 | 9 replies

Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

From Detroit, the same city that gave us such illustrious rockers as MC5 and Alice Cooper, comes the equally controversial but differently inclined Eminem. Born Marshall Mathers in 1974, he then adopted two rapping aliases: Eminem - the name with which he releases his records - and Slim Shady; the alter-ego that often comes through in the songs’ lyrics.

Debuting his rapping career in the mid-90s, and being lucky enough to be taken under the wing of accomplished producer and former NWA member Dr.Dre, Eminem released his official debut LP in 1999. Simply titled The Slim Shady LP, this album featured a hit single in Guilty Conscience and showed a rapper that, while still developing his skills, showed clear signs of some real talent. Cleverly avoiding the Vanilla Ice stigma, Eminem managed to establish himself as a somewhat cartoony, yet still fairly respectable hip-hop artist.

But Em’s biggest trump was still up his sleeve. Only one year after his hugely successful debut, the rapper was back with his sophomore outing, The Marshall Mathers LP. The title itself began to indicate that this was a far more serious album than its predecessor, an impression that was corroborated by the dark and discreet artwork. Featuring a dual cover, the record was comprised of 18 songs, of which four were skits. It was to become an unprecedented success for a white rapper.

Now Eminem is fully aware of just who his main audience is. He himself states it in Who Knew:

I don’t do black music, I don’t do white music
I do fight music, for high school kids

And high school kids, of course, were buying it by the millions all over the world. In my 9th-grade class, for example, you had to own this record, otherwise you were regarded as some sort of alien from another planet. I myself bought it at the age of 13 or 14, and listened to it extensively back then.

But let’s forget the Eminem trend for a minute, and analyze the music. Is the record any good? The answer is a definite “hell yeah!” The backing tracks are clever and Em’s flow is beyond reproach. The low points are provided by the somewhat childish lyrics and the fairly expendable skits, which are really not that funny. However, tracks like Stan, The Way I Am or B*tch Please II more than make up for it, and turn this into a nice acquisition for mainstream hip-hop fans. The one problem? Every time Em has guests in his songs, they out-rap him. Other than that, excellent.

Nowadays, Eminem isn’t the most respected of artists. His subsequent records were fairly weak, and he is slowly turning into the new Vanilla Ice. Yet, at least for a fleeting moment throughout those two years at the close of the century, he has countered that age-old adagio and proved that white boys can, indeed, rap.


Public Service Announcement 2000 - This track is just an introduction to the next track, and it is spoken by Dr.Dre. Basically, it’s just Em and Dre boasting their bad-ass attitude. For me, the best part comes right at the end, when Dre asks anything else? and Em promptly answers yeah sue me! (3/5)
Kill You - Segueing straight from the intro, this song has a great beginning and chorus, but the rest is really kind of blah. Once again, the lyrics feature Em being violent towards his wife and threatening to kill her, all set to a slightly annoying little keyboard-riff thingy. Besides, Em ruins his credibility right at the end, when he states I’m just jokin, ladies, you know I love you!. Not at all a bad track to start the album, but really not the best one in it. (3/5)

Stan - The only song I still listen to after all the hype is gone, and by far the best on the album. This song is a clever fusion of the chorus from Dido’s Thank You with Em’s lyrics, and most people I’ve talked to agree that this blend sounds better than the actual original, because there’s a variation rather than Dido just keeping the same vocal line. The lyrics, of course, talk about the worst possible kind of fan: the one that goes slightly psycho over his idol. In this case, Stan starts off fairly gently, then gets progressively worked up by the lack of response from his idol. When Em actually gets around to answering the letter, it’s already too late, and the tragedy has been consummated. A superb song that shows a more sentimental side of Eminem not too many people knew about. An extremely pleasant surprise. (6/5)

Paul (skit) - Once again, just an introduction to the next track, this time in the form of a phonecall from Em’s agent. Really not worth rating. (N.R.)

Who Knew - More of a p-funk ambiance to this one, coupled with excellent lyrics that, once again, see Em bewildered by what his songs are causing. The chorus is quite clear:

I never knew I, I would affect this kid
I never knew I, would get him to slit his wrist
I never knew I’d, get him to hit this b/tch

I.E., maybe Eminem’s songs shouldn’t be taken this seriously. Lyrically, this is once again excellent, even though Eminem’s flow is at times a little crummy. Still, another standout point in the album. (4/5)

Steve Berman (skit) - Another skit, this time from a company executive that summons Shady to tell him that his record sucks and he can’t sell it. Once again, just an intro to the next track and non-ratable. (N.R.)

The Way I Am - Em’s big “f/ck you” aimed at all his critics. It’s by no means an apology, nor is it a self-defense. It’s Eminem stating why he does what he does. Once again, it shows a side of Eminem nobody knew: that of the guy that doesn’t really want all this success, or the critics that go along with it. Musically, it’s dark and foreboding, with a nearly claustrophobically heavy backing track. A remarkable cut and one of the recommended songs on this album. (5/5)

The Real Slim Shady - The first single, and the one song everyone knows. As usually happens with singles, it’s not the best on the album, but it is the most accessible. This sadly shows the more cartoony side of Eminem, complete with cheesy backing keyboards and clichéd lyrics. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad - it’s just not a standout. !3-year-olds loved it at the time though, and time was when I knew the lyrics to both this one and Stan by heart. No more (3/5)

Remember Me - Another very heavy and somber backing track. Em shares the vocals with RBX and Sticky Fingaz, and gets comprehensively out-rapped by both. Still, he’s the one who delivers the best lyrics in the song:

I’m trying to clear up my f*cking image, so I promised the critics I wouldn’t say f*ck for six minutes

This is clearly one of those tracks that is destined to be filler, and one of the most forgettable on the album. Still a pretty decent song, though. (3/5)

I'm Back - Excellent chorus, one of the catchiest in the album, but other than that, it's just an average song. Neither better nor worse than others on the album. Good flow by Eminem, though. A worthy song for this album. (3,5/5)

Marshall Mathers - This one starts off to a fairly calm piano riff, with Eminem basically contradicting everything he says in all his other songs

You see I’m
Just Marshall Mathers
I’m just a regular guy I don’t know why all the fuss about me

Em's flow in this song is a little crummy at the beginning, then picks up immensely and becomes fairly enjoyable, making this another very good song in the album. There’s even an excellent - although probably sampled - fade-out guitar solo at the end. Good song. (4/5)

Ken Kaniff (skit) " Back when we were kids, my friends and I could never decide whether to laugh our asses off to this song or be appalled by its blatant bad taste. This is basically an audio depiction of a blowjob, being performed on seedy manager Ken Kaniff. Listening to it closely, I discovered something we always used to miss as kids: the blow-jobbers are actually Violent Jay and Shaggy from the Insane Clown Posse. This adds an intelligent twist to the skit, but it doesn’t prevent it from being anything other than a distasteful joke. (0/5)

Drug Ballad - A very bouncy backing track in a song about partying and drugs. Good chorus, but nothing more than a throwaway song. Not much to say about this one, really. (3,5/5)

Amityville - As you may have guessed, this song is comparing Detroit to the movie’s small town. I used to be really into it, but now I don’t think it’s all that good anymore. Once again, the backing track is heavy and claustrophobic, and Bizarre does a pretty good job of almost out-rapping Eminem. But it’s another forgettable moment. (3/5)

B**** Please II - This is where most of the album’s guests come in, and nearly all of them out-rap our titular hero. The list is impressive: the Doggs, Xzibit, and of course Dr.Dre. With a list like that, it was hard for our Em not to look like a rookie kid. Yet he manages to scrape through with some dignity, and this song ranks as the second best on the album, right after Stan. Highly recommended. (5/5)

Kim - This was one track I could never listen to. It starts with Eminem cooing and baby-talking to his daughter Hayley, but soon turns into a quite violent fight between him and his wife. In the end, Em seemingly murders his wife Kim, then drives away. The backing track is once again disturbing, and it really sounds like the couple is fighting, rather than this being a song. Em is talking more than rapping and Kim’s screams can be heard in the background. A song almost too disturbing for its own good. (2,5/5)

Under The Influence - This is basically a D12 song, as the whole group intervenes. Once again, Eminem is painfully out-rapped, particularly by Swifty and Bizarre. In fact, it’s Bizarre that delivers the best line in the song: my DJ’s in a coma for letting the record slip. The backing track is another annoying keyboard riff reminiscent of the one on Real Slim Shady, and Em sings the chorus in a nasal, little-kid "nhah nhah nhah"- type pitch. Good song. (3,5/5).

Criminal - My friends and I used to pee our pants laughing with the middle section on this one, which depicts an armed robbery performed by Eminem and Dre. We used to replay it over and over just to get to this part. Now that I’m a little older, I see this for what it is, a good song, probably not the best on the album, but still quite valid. Once again, Eminem boasts about what a bad-ass he is to a funky backing track. Nice finisher for the album. (3,5/5)

All in all, a good album, particularly for hip-hop rookies or occasional listeners.

Recommended Tracks

The Way I Am
B**** Please II

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Comments:Add a Comment 
October 26th 2005


You forgot to state your opinion on "I'm Back". Just thought I'd remind you there.

October 26th 2005


Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, but you used 6/5 as a rating more than once. That's bad, don't do that. In fact, don't use 6/5 as a rating ever. It makes it look less professional, an just isn't cool. Not cool at all.

Good album, I remember buying this when I was 12. Good times. The great thing is that it still stands up to my current album standards.This Message Edited On 10.26.05

October 26th 2005


Album Rating: 5.0

This rivals Public Enemy's It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back as being the best rap album of all time.

October 27th 2005


Scruples and barojn, thanls for the tips. i only use 6/5 when it's a song i can't detach from my personal musical growth, such as highway to hell by AC/DC, flight of icarus by maiden, or, well, stan. 6/5 is more than a song for me: it is a spiritual moment. hence the ratings on those three songs, which had a great influence on me growing up.

October 27th 2005


Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, I agree with Iai. How can you not put Kim on there? It's almost a defining moment in music.

October 28th 2005


I'm glad someone else did this one, because I'm not really happy with my review of it.

dude your review owns mine!

Brain Dead
May 15th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Great review, man. But I think that you mistake a guitar part for a piano part. That's an acoustic guitar in Marshall Mathers and an electric one in The Real Slim Shady. Overall, excellent review.

June 28th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

Over here in the U.K, we got another song, The kids, it's probably better than any other song on the album, unlucky U.S.A!!

July 26th 2010


Album Rating: 5.0

evertything about this album is distatsteful, but that's what makes it so fucking good.

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