Updated: Aug 17, 2020
Today on Eminem season we go onto the 2002 classic - 'The Eminem Show'. At this point in time, Eminem is on top of the world - the biggest star on the planet, the most talked about name in music - and after releasing 'The Marshall Mathers LP' just 2 years prior, he had immense pressure to follow up with another great album - and you know the saying, pressure makes diamonds.
The production on this album is mostly produced by Em himself (clearly inspired by Dr. Dre), as he has the typical Dre formula's of catchy guitar melodies and drum melodies throughout as well as some animated beats - such as on the iconic 'Without Me' which has a great beat with heavy drums as he talks on the music world being empty without him - as well as attacking those who try to censor him. With funny and clever lines, he also goes at other artists during verse 3, "A tisk-it a task-it, I'll go tit for tat with // Anybody who's talking "this shit, that shit" // Chris Kirkpatrick, you can get your ass kicked // Worse than them little Limp Bizkit bastards // And Moby? You can get stomped by Obie // You 36-year-old baldheaded fag, blow me // You don't know me, you're too old, let go // It's over, nobody listens to techno". Of all of Em's lead singles - this was the most fun and the best so far. A classic cartoonist beat, iconic and catchy hook - it's an example of prime Em killing it. There's also some darker and more serious beats throughout. Overall once again the production is immaculate.
Eminem himself, like on 'The Marshall Mathers LP', uses his lyricism to give us a social commentary where he gets his point across exquisitely. It's as always full of witty lines, wordplay and punchlines too, such as on the track 'Business', "Oh God, Saddam's got his own Laden // With his own private plane, his own pilot", as he talks about whack rappers and how Em and Dre are back to save the rap game. With this bouncy, catchy, animated beat it's one of the more light hearted tracks on here and with a really catchy and cartoonish hook it's another amazing song. On 'Cleanin' Out My Closet', Em's lyrics get really menacing as he talks on his toxic relationship with his ex-wife Kim, his mum and his dad, "But guess what, you're gettin' older now // And it's cold when you're lonely // And Nathan's growin' up so quick // He's gonna know that you're phony // And Hailie's gettin' so big now, you should see her, she's beautiful // But you'll never see her—she won't even be at your funeral (ha-ha!)" (aimed at his mum). There's also a crazy rhyme scheme, vivid similes and deep storytelling to be found through this as well, "Sick is the mind of the motherfuckin' kid that's behind // All this commotion, emotions run deep as oceans, explodin' // Tempers flarin' from parents, just blow 'em off and keep goin'". The dark, eerie beat works to good effect with the piano and guitar melody as he lays this iconic hook and track with such aggression in his delivery with this spacious and smooth flow making it an intense but brilliant song. His flow at this point in time was still so smooth and still one of the best flows ever while his delivery is still amazing and packed with such aggression, emotion and passion.
The features on this album are all from his close friends in the rap world who all perform when called upon.
Content wise it carries similar things from 'The Marshall Mathers LP' - such as the controversy surrounding him, taking lyrics too seriously and free speech - perfectly demonstrated in the opening track 'White America', as he goes at white American parents and the hypocrisy of how they don't care about musics effects on black people until his music reached white kids. Em's flow is fire and that chanting hook is so catchy and the passionate delivery makes the song unbelievably good. The slow drum pattern allows you to bob your head to the track easily and it's an incredible intro to this album. However, on this album he reflects more on his overall career so far as well as his relationship struggles and life up until this point - such as on 'Say Goodbye Hollywood' as he uses vivid imagery and such raw, detailed and honest lyrics to talk on firstly his altercation with a bouncer (which led to his arrest) and how Kim bailed on him, his daughter being the only thing that keeps him going and finally wanting to quit rap and disliking the constant attention on him and his family, "Imagine goin' from bein' a no-one to seein' // Everything blow up, and all you did was just grow up emceein' // It's fuckin' crazy, ‘cause all I wanted was to give Hailie // The life I never had, instead I forced us to live alienated, so I'm sayin'". As usual his delivery and flow are perfect - you can really hear the pain in his voice over this melancholy guitar melody giving us this despairing mood. You really get more of the mind of the artist on this album - hence the title, 'The Eminem Show'. 'Drips' is an anomaly, as Em links up with Obie Trice who gives us some graphic but funny lines throughout and a funny delivery to match the comedy of the song, "She foamin' at them lips, the ones between the hips // Pubic hair's lookin' like some sour cream dip", as the pair talk on sleeping with girls and getting STD's. Em has funny storytelling throughout and it turns out this girl gives him AIDs. The hook is so dumb but so catchy as well, and the comical beat is fun and Em and Obie deliver us a funny, entertaining and catchy song.
Other tracks to talk on include 'Square Dance', as Em again gives us an incredibly well done social commentary and menacing bars to diss Canibus, George Bush and his whole government and military, as well as war - it's politically charged as you can see. The bouncy drum pattern and suspenseful/intense but fun beat all in one with his immaculate rhyme scheme and flow make this a fairly enjoyable track. On 'Soldier' Em talks about his legal problems - highlighting his pistol whipping lawsuit on the bouncer who kissed his wife, using cold bars and some slick wordplay and metaphors too. The mean, aggressive synth bass, piano keys and electric guitar riff make an amazing beat as he uses his fire flow and energetic delivery to provide us with one of the best songs on one of the best albums ever made.
HALF OF THIS REVIEW WAS LOST BECAUSE I HAD LOST INTERNET CONNECTION WITHOUT REALISING. I AM ANNOYED AT IT BECAUSE I HAD WRITTEN SO MUCH ABOUT THE REMAINING TRACKS, BUT I'LL DROP THE SONGS BELOW & WRITE A LITTLE SENTENCE ABOUT EACH SONG:
Sing for the Moment - Amazing, powerful track. Arguably Em's best song - Aerosmith sample perfect and it's one of the best rap/rock songs ever made.
Superman - Misogynistic anthem, really catchy and seductive track which is always fun to sing along to.
Hailie's Song - Heartwarming song, while Em's singing isn't good it's so passionate and overall it's a really good song.
When the Music Stops - D12 all turn up for their features (especially Proof), Em does a good job - a good song I just come back to it the least of any track.
Say What You Say - Mean beat, really good beat too and the whole song is a great example of Dre & Em rapping at their best.
'Till I Collapse - Such an energetic and amazing song, Em raps his ass off on this over this heavy, crashing beat. Classic.
My Dad's Gone Crazy - Fun ending to the album, it ties the themes together and even has a feature from his daughter which was cute. Soft spot for this song, I love it.
To conclude, Em's 3rd project - just like his 2nd, is one of the best hip-hop albums ever. There's no low points on here and most songs are absolutely outstanding rap songs. The skits as well are really enjoyable on this album, and add to the listening experience and what's going on around the time perfectly. A classic album, certifying him as one of the best rappers of all time - and then it was onto 'Encore'...
FAVOURITE TRACKS: White America, Business, Cleanin' Out My Closet, Soldier, Say Goodbye Hollywood, Without Me, Sing for the Moment, Superman, Say What You Say, 'Till I Collapse, My Dad's Gone Crazy
LEAST FAVOURITE TRACK: When the Music Stops
OVERALL RATING: Solid 10/10