Review Summary: I just don't give a fuck.
When Marshall Mathers released The Slim Shady LP on the cold day of February 23, 1999, something happened. Or this is what many Eminem followers choose to believe. More than a decade after its release, the Slim Shady LP showed off a new face in the media; a crude, hilarious, and controversial one. Gone was the Nas and AZ impersonator from Infinite, or the struggling rapper from his older group, Soul Intent. However, the rapper was ambitious enough to escape a naturally unhappy life in his music. He had gone through struggles during childhood, like abuse, welfare, and so on, not to mention being incredibly poor. With the release of Slim Shady LP, it turned Eminem from an average MC to a respected solo artist. But at the time, it spit lyrical fire more aggressively than anything else, to some.
Even nowadays, people consider The Marshall Mathers LP to be notorious for pushing the rapper from a big name to a massive one, becoming universally hailed as one of the best solo artists of our decade. Not true. Even if the MM LP was never released, Marshall would have been big just with the Slim Shady LP. There was a lot of story-telling in the songs, and it was different from mainstream rap at the time. It still may be. He didn't just rhyme words, he rhymed entire sentences. It went triple platinum in the first few months alone, and charted incredibly high at the Billboard Top LPs and Tapes, naturally impressive for a debut. (Though Infinite could be considered a debut, though that alone was bootleg enough)
Marshall Mathers aka "Slim Shady" - The Slim Shady LP
Aftermath Records, February 1999, Hip Hop
Setting the tone in the album, above all others, is the dark humor. As I had mentioned before, Eminem began to incorporate storytelling elements in his songs. He used the Slim Shady persona he created during time in his rap group, D12
, and recorded an album after getting noticed by Dr. Dre, after the release of the Slim Shady EP and his high spot in the 1997 Rap Olympics. This album showed off more of an underground style, created some kind of element that nobody have ever heard of before then. It's got a lot of wit for a rap album, and not an easy one to listen to.
Tracks like As The World Turns and Brain Damage
are great showcases of said storytelling, and humor. The explosive rhymes and literary are shocking upon first entry, which make tracks like My Name Is
seem incredibly weak. The former tale of Eminem attacking two women in a unique style, while still able to keep the flow, is simply incredible. The latter deals with more dark humor in Brain Damage
, which deals with Eminem's popularity for getting beaten by bullies (one of which is now consistently getting in trouble), and his abusive mother. (He's able to rhyme orange with four inch, door hinge, and foreign. How creative)
More tracks like My Name Is, I'm Shady, and Cum on Everybody
show off usual Eminem insanity, though the sillier tracks here tend to drag on and become more annoying then likable. The former is a real burner, which is ironic considering that My Name Is
was an integral part of the LP, as it was Eminem's most popular single ever, at the time. Shock tactics are sometimes used, and are a mixed bag. In one hand, shock tactics on the album are sometimes funny as hell (Hillary Clinton tried to slap me and call me a pervert, I took her ***ing tonsils out and fed her sherbert
), or sometimes just a plain eye-roller (I'll *** anything that walks
), which is one of the low points of the album.
The memorable moments on the Slim Shady LP come when the creativity comes in. The two guest stars, Dr. Dre and Royce da 5'9, are not filler at all. Their respective work on the classics Guilty Conscience and Bad Meets Evil
both earned them a friendship with the rapper. The former showed off a classic angel-devil conscience situation, further showing Eminem's scriptwriting skills, and the latter showing off some of the most intelligent moments on the album. Tracks like Still Don't Give a F*ck
show off a more angsty side of the album, with a sick flow that can rarely be topped. The softer moment of If I Had
is one of the more serious parts of it, dealing with Marshall's desire to be rich (which is ironic, because 10 years later he's called the best solo artist of the decade).
One more powerful advantage this album has is the magical production of Dr. Dre and Aftermath. Unlike the mess made of later albums, the Slim Shady LP is crisp throughout. The beats are unlike anything heard in rap, like Bad Meets Evil
's glockenspiel melodies over some hard bass, Still Don't Give a F*ck
's simple but haunting guitar riff (similar to the title track of the Marshall Mathers LP), and Role Model
's almost underwater sound. Dr. Dre always was an astounding producer, and this album shows off some of his best work. So major props to Dre for that.
This album is sometimes considered modern day poetry. But it's not. The skits are worthless, and somehow cut the flow of the album. If you exclude aforementioned skits, the album is a shorter fourteen tracks. Some raps like My Name Is
tend to degrade, making it harder to listen to. But the Slim Shady LP is not exactly a grower: there's something here everyone can enjoy. It's incredibly witty, creative, and dark. Tracks like Brain Damage, My Fault, As the World Turns, and Bad Meets Evil
can all highlight Still Don't Give a F*ck
, therefore making it a ride throughout the entire album. If you could take out a couple of tracks or skits, the album would be near flawless. Slim Shady LP
is the Eminem record by which all others must be judged (sans the MM LP).
A lot of people ask me.. am I afraid of death..
Hell yeah I'm afraid of death
I don't want to die yet
A lot of people think.. that I worship the devil..
that I do all types of.. retarded ***
Look, I can't change the way I think
And I can't change the way I am
But if I offended you" Good
Cause I still don't give a ***
The album as a whole is enjoyable. Nothing exactly here I can recommend.