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Creative, Innovative and Satirical Brilliance
The Slim Shady LP - Eminem
Member Name: EdgySurveys
The Slim Shady LP - Eminem
Advantages: Genius concepts, incredible rhymes and awesome flows.
Disadvantages: None that I can think of. This is one of the greatest debuts in rap history.
1999, the year rap's craziest, sharpest-tongued maniac exploded the genre to pieces with a very original, hilarious debut album, 'The Slim Shady LP'.
I'm 21 years old and I've been listening to Em since he first came out. I first heard him with "My Name Is" but it wasn't until "The Way I Am", and his next album ('The Marshall Mathers LP') that I truly got into him. I was only ten years old, but I still got his tongue-in-cheek brilliance. It was glaringly obvious and hilarious, even to a ten year old. Which speaks volumes of how moronic his detractors were.
Because I didn't truly begin listening to Em properly until his second album, I had to go back and listen to this album when I was a little older. I think I was around 13 or 14. But, I'm actually glad that I did. Don't get me wrong, I was still aware of these tracks but I had just never listened to the album top to bottom in full focus.
So after picking it up in my early teens, upon pressing play, I was rewarded with nearly an hour of creative excellence, and I appreciated Eminem's artistry in yet another dimension (he seems to be able to juggle persona's or present himself in endless ways).
You can quite clearly hear Em's major influences in this material, particularly people like Esham and Redman. But make no mistake, this is still a brilliantly original and refreshing album. Whatever influence Em takes (and he takes a lot), he flips and molds it into his character with ease and really does make every element seem unique to him. Which, is what a great artist should do, as... very little is truly ORIGINAL of course. Everybody influences everybody. But, it's through standing on the shoulder's of giants that the great get greater, and with this album alone, Em proved himself as one of hip hop's greats.
Eminem always balances his albums to some degree, as in, he'll give you a song or two of reality or honesty where he temporarily dumps his joker (or Jason) mask and shows you some humanity, some cracks beneath the surface. He'll usually remind you that every Superman has his Kryptonite or that when the cape comes off, he's as human as you or I.
With 'The Slim Shady LP', he spends the majority of the time playing class clown, or rather... a mischievous little hell-raiser. Calling him a class clown here would be a bit of a dis-justice to the dark undertones and ingenious satirical upshots of his lyricism. He's much more than a class clown and always has been. It's simply those who do not truly get him or his depth that label him, a prankster.
Aside from poking fun at the world (and himself, self-deprecation was always his biggest credit), there are also a few seriously imaginative conceptual tracks here. Firstly, you have "Guilty Conscience", which is performed with producer and mentor, and legend, Dr. Dre. In this song, Em and Dre play a devil / angel duo in three different scenarios in which Dre offers the sensible and arguably moral advice, and Em of course advocates the alternative, the evil deed. This track is a brilliantly executed idea that started off with Em and Dre free-styling and Dre loosely proposing the concept, calling it 'Night and Day'. It's of course Eminem though that provides the lyrical backbone and real meat to the bones, writing for Dre as well.
"Guilty Conscience" was at the time, and is still today - overlooked. Initially it just got flack for Eminem's so-called controversial lyrics such as him egging on a guy to sleep with a 15 year old girl in the second scenario. But what people did not get then and I think a lot still don't even get now is the very simple idea that Eminem is in-character. Can you imagine how absurd and ridiculous it'd be to protest De Niro for his movies, and say he should be locked up as he's a maniac?
People are just not used to very realistically executed, explicit, conceptual art in music. Or, they weren't until Eminem came along. And many still do not get it. And I don't even say that condescendingly as it's hardly much to get. I fully understood it before I was of the legal age to drive, so why the hell can't these fully grown adults who are supposed to be of at least average or, normal intelligence do so too? they must be seriously limited in the brain department.
A track which doesn't get mentioned all that much in reference to Eminem's career or song achievements is "97 Bonnie and Clyde", which is on this album. This track is seriously genius. The fact Eminem is expressing his hate for his wife and love for his daughter... simultaneously and using baby talk and the lyrics and storytelling ark of the song, whilst at the same time using the limitations of baby talk to convey the ideas and humour to the adult listeners is genius in itself. But his execution is something else, this man deserves all the praise he gets.
Anybody who says Eminem just gets attention because he's white or that this album wouldn't of gotten much praise of he was black is an ignorant, racist pig.
The aforementioned tracks ALONE put Eminem in another zone entirely. And I'm not speaking of ill experience. I love rap music period, I love the genre and I love the art. Nobody in rap's history has used literary skills to the degree Eminem has or employed such paradoxical ideas to convey humour and messages like he does. He's a true innovator.
Which is something he rarely gets credit for, innovation. Everybody is quite willing to praise his lyricism and say he's one of the best but rarely do people acknowledge how much he's advanced the art itself. Rakim is an example of another true innovator, and somebody who propelled lyricism to another level, and Eminem can be mentioned in the same breath.
Nobody sounds as natural inside a beat as Em. He often sounds as if he's just talking and the rhymes happen to be falling in to place. Some of the words and phrases he manages to rhyme almost sound like they're 'too convenient' and he makes you think "how did I not notice that rhymed before?", and he makes it sounds so incredibly easy. Which believe me, it's not.
"If I Had" and "Rock Bottom" are the two songs of this album which bare his soul and on which he raps about life issues, and his depression. The former is in my opinion, easily the weakest track on the album but the latter is a true gem and the rhyming alone is mind-blowing. But the fact he was able to rhyme so constantly and consistently yet compromise none of the emotional aspects and still get across his feelings so vividly is amazing.
Overall this album is a hip hop classic and one that every fan of rap music should have in their collection. In 2011, we're just now seeing its effects and the rappers who were influenced by it growing up. Hopsin is an example of one of them, and many more are coming up.
Em was perhaps right when he said "I'll probably never get the props I feel I ever deserve" - never mind this babble about him being overrated due to his skin colour (which doesn't even make sense, as... why is Vanilla Ice not called a genius then?), Em is UNDERRATED due to his skin colour. As people itching for a race discussion focus on nothing but the fact he's white and totally overlook and undermine what he does on the mic.
'The Slim Shady LP' was the start of something new, right at the turn of the new century. 1999 was a fitting year for its release. This album is gold.
Summary: A true hip hop classic.