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Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP (Album Review)

Eminem season continues with 2000's album 'The Marshall Mathers LP'. After the success of the 'The Slim Shady LP' and many controversies surrounding it - Eminem had immense pressure to follow up with another great album - and I think it's safe to say he delivered.

Firstly the production on this album is immaculate - I mean it is Dr. Dre at his peak and he's a top 5 producer of all time so what did you expect. It has a lot more darker feel to it than 'The Slim Shady LP', as shown on the beat of 'Marshall Mathers' with it's aggressive but catchy guitar riffs as Em talks on his life directly after fame - fake family members, lawsuits, success, controversies and his anti-pop stance. It's full of decent punchlines and hard bars, even dissing Insane Clown Posse in the 2nd verse, ""Slim Anus"? You damn right, slim anus // I don't get fucked in mine like you two little flamin' faggots", flipping words from the ICP diss track. With a catchy hook as well it's another really good song on this thing. The whole melodies in the beats whether from the drums or guitars are catchy, and the key elements in the production here includes: dark sounds, guitar bass', suspenseful moods and loud drums. 'The Real Slim Shady' has the classic comical beat that was similar to his last album, as he realises many people are imitating him - but none will ever be better. It's full of funny lines with hints of seriousness as he challenges the media's hypocrisy as well as attacks the music industry, "Shit, Christina Aguilera better switch me chairs // So I can sit next to Carson Daly and Fred Durst // And hear 'em argue over who she gave head to first // Little bitch put me on blast on MTV // "Yeah, he's cute, but I think he's married to Kim, hee-hee". The hook is iconic and the song is catchy - it's a fantastic song.

Eminem himself doesn't give us much wordplay or punchlines here, it's more a commentary from him but his lines are packed with such venom however, such as on the song 'Drug Ballad' where Em talks about his partying days and drug addiction, with some cool lines throughout "But when it's all said and done, I'll be forty // Before I know it with a 40 on the porch tellin' stories // With a bottle of Jack, two grandkids in my lap // Babysittin' for Hailie while Hailie's out gettin' smashed". The vivid descriptions and good metaphors throughout alongside the catchy drum pattern in the beat sounds good, but the instrumental also has this wailing effect to it to signal the dark undertones of the track. A catchy hook once again makes this a great song. His rapping and lyricism is top tier, he tells us what he wants and gets it across so excellently with amazing rhyme schemes and funny/great bars all throughout. The finale 'Criminal' an example of that as he uses sarcasm and funny wordplay to cause more controversy in a tongue and cheek way to let those know entertainment and real life should be separated and his lyrics don't make him a criminal, "My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge // That'll stab you in the head, whether you're a fag or lez // Or a homosex, hermaph or a trans-a-vest // Pants or dress,hate fags? The answer's yes". As usual he has a great rhyme scheme, his flow and delivery are on point over another comical beat with a catchy drum pattern, guitar melody and piano. The way his words paint a vivid image in your head is genius - best demonstrated by the iconic 'Stan'. Em takes us through the mind of an obsessed fan who takes things too far with his obsession - killing his pregnant girlfriend in the process. Em's storytelling is amazing and the fact it's written and rapped like letters and doesn’t sound out of place is crazy, and very vivid. The first 3 verses are Stan's letters, the 4th being Eminem's (late) reply over this deep guitar bass and rain effect created the whole disastrous atmosphere, as Dido provides great vocals and an iconic hook. This is one of the best hip hop songs of all time - it even got a word in the dictionary. Em's flow is outstanding, smooth and quick throughout - never feeling forced or out of place and his delivery is aggressive as it captures the mood of the song perfectly - one of hip hops all time best deliveries.

The features selected here all turn up and perform, although some do better than others. On 'Remember Me?', Sticky Fingaz provides an insane rhyme scheme and some funny lines with hard bars, "Better come better than better to be a competitor // This vet is ahead of the shit, it's all redder, you deader and deader // A medic instead of the cheddars and credda // Settle vendetta with metal Beretta from ghetto to ghetto" and RBX has some funny wordplay and punchlines over this eerie, horror type beat as the rappers talk on their controversial style, "For this one, they scream "X, you retarded?!" // 'Cause I grab the mic and get down like syndrome". Em's verse as well is great, his lines are hard throughout and all their aggressive deliveries really work well to make it a great song - the least enjoyable but still a great song. There's a posse cut with 'Bitch Please II', as we have Dr. Dre providing bars that hit so hard and potent with a smooth flow, Snoop Dogg giving us his usual entertaining cadence and a forever switching flow that keeps you entertained, Xzibit who has a great verse with hard bars and decent wordplay and of course Nate Dogg as per usual killed the hook. Em himself has some funny lines throughout, "It's just me bein' me; here, want me to tone it down? // Suck my fuckin' dick, you faggot! You happy now?", as the basis of the song is do not fuck with us over this catchy beat. Em imitating Snoop as well was funny. D12 also join Em on 'Under the Influence', with every single member providing a good verse with funny lines (Proof especially giving us a great verse with a solid rhyme scheme and flow), as they all just go dumb and have fun. Em's funny one liners are reminiscent of that on 'The Slim Shady LP' as he gives us an insane rhyme scheme over this violin melody and catchy drum pattern. The hook is also ridiculously catchy - stupid, but catchy.

The skits on this album don't take away from the project: they're short and quite enjoyable - even if they're disgusting at times. The intro 'Public Service Announcement 2000' is a follow up to the intro on 'The Slim Shady LP', using the same format as he sarcastically mocks the censorship attempts of his music and sets the tone for the controversial album. 'Paul' as well follows from his previous album asking him to tone it down, but now he has just completely given up - and this skit is actually used to great effect showing just how controversial this project is. 'Steve Berman' is Em talking to his marketing team, and is to represent the pressures given from the labels for artists to make radio hits - going into 'The Way I Am' perfectly. 'Ken Kaniff' is another Insane Clown Posse diss, with the members sucking Ken's dick but fantasising about Eminem - it's disgusting but funny still.

The album talks a lot about the media's perception of Eminem and his controversies, as well as talking on how dumb and hypocritical the media industry and society is, such as on the hit 'The Way I Am', where he tells us he is who he is and he doesn't care where you like him or not. The rhyme scheme is insane and the bars aggressive as he provides a passionate yet mad delivery and a crazy good flow as it rests on the beat over this suspenseful, eerie beat with a piano and harsh church bells - in fact it's the first beat Em ever produced himself. 'Who Knew' as well shares a similar topic, more though Em sarcastically talking about his controversies and effects on kids, using funny lines with truth masked behind the sarcasm, "Fuck that! Take drugs, rape sluts // Make fun of gay clubs, men who wear make-up // Get aware, wake up, get a sense of humor // Quit tryin' to censor music // This is for your kid's amusement (the kids!)", and honestly I think it's a great approach to have taken. It's got a catchy, bouncy beat and a nice hook, delivery and cadence as he compares real world problems to music and questions why his lyrics are the main focus. These are the common themes throughout, but he does focus on other topics on other tracks - such as killing his wife on the horrifying 'Kim'. It's a prequel to '97 Bonnie & Clyde' - the outro loops to that introduction as Em raps via conversation to Kim that flows so effortless you forget it's a song. With raw emotion and aggression, you can hear the hurt in his voice and to be fair it's a love song - you have to love someone to make a song like this about them, and the way it’s executed is disturbing yet genius. It's another example of Em painting an incredibly vivid scene in our imagination, and with a spiraling piano like something out of a horror - it's a menacing, evil but great song with another catchy hook. We got to know more about Eminem himself on this album, and people's main criticism of this project is there's no substance to it - but I disagree massively and think he dives into multiple topics with such depth.

Other tracks to look at include the first song 'Kill You', which is a lyrical assault on women pretty much over this creeping, eerie guitar instrumental. Em uses hard, funny bars, alliteration and assonance and demonstrates top tier rapping, "I invented violence, you vile venomous volatile bitches // Vain Vicodin, *vrin vrin vrin!", while giving us an inviting hook and an incredibly aggressive delivery which works perfectly for this song. 'I'm Back' see's Em reintroduce shady with themes of violence, evilness and Christopher Reeves, with some twisted lines all throughout, "I'm sorry, Puff, but I don't give a fuck // If this chick was my own mother, I'd still fuck her with no rubber // And cum inside her and have a son and a new brother at the same time // And just say that it ain't mine—what's my name?". He is also at his most controversial, "I take seven {kids} from {Columbine}, stand 'em all in line // Add an AK-47, a revolver, a 9 // A MAC-11 and it oughta solve the problem of mine // And that's a whole school of bullies shot up all at one time", over this great guitar based, dark beat and with an inviting hook, smooth flow and catchy sound - it's incredible. 'Amityville' is also about Detroit and the horrors of it as Em gives us more flashy rhyme schemes, complex lines and vivid imagery, "I get lifted and spin 'til I'm half-twisted // Feet planted and stand with a grin full of chapped lipstick // Pen full of ink, think sinful and rap sick shit". Bizzare from D12 features to provide us the most sick and twisted lines we can think of, "I fucked my cousin in his asshole, slit my mother's throat // Guess who Slim Shady just signed to Interscope // My little sister's birthday, she'll remember me // For a gift I had ten of my boys take her virginity", but it's all entertaining. With a fire flow, pure aggressive delivery and dark beat with loud, crashing drums - it's a great track once again.

To conclude, simply put this is near perfect. In my opinion, it's the best hip hop album of all time, full of flashy verses, shocking statements and catchy hooks. Em had cemented himself in the hip-hop landscape here - and following up with another great project would be an even harder task, but Em could clearly rise to the occasion.

FAVOURITE TRACKS: Kill You, Stan, Who Knew, The Way I Am, The Real Slim Shady, I'm Back, Marshall Mathers, Drug Ballad, Bitch Please II, Kim, Criminal



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