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Friday, February 18, 2011

The Vault - Entry 1 - The Slim Shady LP Review

Title: The Slim Shady LP
Artist: Marshal Mathers "Eminem" III
Production: Aftermath Entertainment / Interscope Records
Release Date: 1999
Genre: Rap / Hip-Hop
Tracks: Twenty

$8.99 [Buy at Amazon]

$11.75 [Buy at Barnes and Noble]


Well, since everyone else at TF141 Media has a "Vault", I guess it's my turn.

(NOTE: Okay, so for those of you wondering what a Vault actually is before I start: the people at TF141 Media all have a 'Vault': a personal "online diary", but instead of just randomly talking, you have to put up something informative, about either something you adore or hate. Something informative. Mine deals with the music, cartoon, and drawing industries. So, here we begin.)

In the long and pathetic years of hip-hop and rap, there's begin a lot of downers. Right in the middle of all of it, it seems that Eminem inspired rappers to express themselves. And this album shows it. Marshal Mathers, official creator of the deranged, crazed Slim Shady personality, has had a very long history as well. You've got a man who was abused by his mother, treated harshly at high school, got cheated on by ex-wife, the infamous Kim, and his first album was so unpopular it led to a failed suicide attempt. You're SUPPOSED to feel for Eminem in his albums, which is part of what makes them so extraordinary.

And his music history is just insane. When anybody mentions 'rap' in the 21st Century, one of the first names (if not THE first) that will pop up is clearly Eminem. People sing along to his lyrics, he's had several hits on iTunes, earned multiple Grammys and won an Academy Award, with Platinum-achieving records. And yet, somewhere in the beginning, it wasn't as happy. Infinite was his first album, but it never achieved success and is highly underrated. Infinite, although it rarely sold and didn't last long on the market, was actually one of Eminem's best albums, lyrically. He screwed around in albums like The Slim Shady EP, and finally deciding to just unleash all his rage and hate into song.

Now, let's get something out of the way: The Slim Shady LP is NOT Eminem's best work. Is it close? Oh, very much so. Very little albums nowadays will pack the burning sucker punch that The Marshal Mathers LP had achieved. However, compared to Eminem's further albums like the infamous Encore, and the hugely less tolerable Relapse, this is surely a cult classic. With lyrical descriptions that would surely shock the FBI, and a beat that succeeds in nearly every area, The Slim Shady LP deserves the hype and praise it got.

And yet, after the success of both his LP albums (not to mention his greatest hits compliation), it seems that it all started here. When you hear the lines from the second track, the gloriously famous 'My Name Is', you'll KNOW that the over-the-top persona of Slim Shady is here. (Got pissed off and ripped Pamela Lee's tits off / And I smacked her so hard, knocked her clothes back criss-cross). I mean, wow. Eminem's lyrical capabilities are far and beyond better than the Pop music nowadays. His hatred in this album ranges from authority and music critics to people who diss him and his mentally damaged abusive mother. Not to mention his now infamous girlfriend, Kim, and you've got an album that just oozes rage.

Take the now-brilliant single 'Guilty Conscience', for example. In this song, three men are spread across different situations, and they, as in the title, have a conscience. Slim Shady is 'the devil' and Dr. Dre is 'the angel'. Dr. Dre tries to persist the three men across this track to do the better thing (in these situations, in order, the men deal with robbing a liquor store, date-raping an HIV-infected girl, and debating whether to kill his wife or not after seeing her have sex with another him), but Slim Shady always wins, using his sneaky personality to trick people into going the wrong path. That should give at least a message about how Eminem portrays himself in such a humorous way, and a very evil way.

A couple of problems are clearly evident to the album. First of all, Eminem clearly shines here, but the guest stars should really take a trip to death row, as they are clearly pointless. (Though I do think that Dr. Dre is fine enough in 'Guilty Conscience') The skits are also completly dumbass, and some of the songs featured here I actually think would of gone better on The Marshal Mathers LP (in particular the decent Just Don't Give A Fuck). In fact, I think that the cult classic from the MM LP, 'The Real Slim Shady' would have done better on this album, because it would of had a better balance, and I'd rather pick that song over some of the songs on here ("Cum on Everybody" and "Soap" are particularly losers).

That's not to say that this album isn't brilliant. Most of Eminem's albums definitely range. Marshal Mathers LP and Infinite clearly show a far more personal story, The Eminem Show and Encore feature good poetic skills, and Relapse..... uh, uh? Never mind. The Slim Shady LP is clearly the comedic point in Eminem's career. I'd definitely add this alongside The Marshal Mathers LP, and it gets a highly recommended from me.

Particular standouts:

My Name Is - Hi! My Name Is (what?) [chicka chicka] Slim Shady. This first line had helped Eminem start his big career. Much like its tongue-in-cheek successor 'The Real Slim Shady', My Name Is features very over-the-top violence and references to sex, drugs, and alcohol. (I drank a fifth of vodka, dare me to drive? / I fuck anything that walks (come here) / I can't figure out which Spice Girl I wanna impregnate) It's a classic track that most Eminem fans already have in their personal 'Best Of' collection.

Guilty Conscience - Brilliant. Interesting. Funny. Lyrically impressive. Bitter. Evil. Insane. Totally Slim Shady. Guilty Conscience is a winner, featuring an intelligent storyline and classic rhymes and lyric ranges. Dr. Dre does a good job as his role as well, so another point for that.

Just Don't Give A Fuck - Although the beat to the song needs some editing, Just Don't Give A Fuck is one of THE most expresssive showcases of the true Eminem persona: I JUST DON'T GIVE A FUCK. (Note: this was first featured in The Slim Shady EP)

I'm Shady - Nice to meet you! It's good, and that's all I'm gonna say. (If I go farther into the song, I'll probabbly be scarred for life)

If I Had - Also from The Slim Shady EP. Good lyric progression and a nice beat. It's also very reminiscent of a Barenaked Ladies song: "If I Had $1000000". Ah, good times.


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