Eminem — The Eminem Show
After taking a few weeks out to get back into the swing of things at University and learning to negotiate the new Medium editor, I’m back to talk about probably the first album I ever listened to the whole way through.
When I was around seven-years-old, you couldn’t get away from Eminem. All of his videos were on the music channels, heavily censored of course but ‘Without Me’ in particular used to always make me laugh (even if I didn’t understand all of the subject matter). I liked it so much that I begged my mum to let me have The Eminem Show on CD.
Back then music downloading was unheard of by me and only the richest kids had iPods. It was all about walkmans and I couldn’t even afford one of them so what I had to do was copy the CD over to a cassette so I could have it on my pale yellow portable cassette player.
Whenever we had a ‘toy day’ at Primary School, I’d always take in my cassette player loaded up with The Eminem Show, I probably looked very uncool but I have developed quite an affinity for the album.
After opening skit ‘Curtains Up’ comes the political ‘White America’. It teases at a possible change of musical direction for Eminem with it being more of a rock track than the hip hop he’s renowned for.
‘Business’ a brilliantly fun track featuring Dr. Dre gets right back to the traditional Eminem sound with Dre and Eminem comparing themselves to Batman and Robin, in a similar vein to the Without Me video.
It’s quickly followed my ‘Cleanin’ Out My Closet’, the song infamously aimed at his mother and this shows Em’s more serious side, recounting his troubled childhood very frankly. It’s a song Eminem no longer likes as he’s buried the hatchet somewhat but it’s an absolutely phenomenal rap song.
The album never really lets up and it still stands up today with the brilliant ‘Square Dance’ and ‘Soldier’ sandwiching skit ‘The Kiss’, one of the things I love about Eminem are his skits, they can be so twisted and dark, yet absolutely brilliant.
Obie Trice (real name, no gimmicks) features on the brilliantly filthy ‘Drips’ which is one of my favourite songs off the entire album, Trice’s verses in particular are extremely crude and graphic but just so entertaining. It’s followed by ‘Without Me’, the song that first got me into Eminem.
‘Sing for the Moment’, another highlight brilliantly samples Donald Trump’s favourite song, ‘Dream On’ by Aerosmith, revisiting the rock angle from White America. ‘Superman’ comes next and is another one I have to turn down when my mum’s in due to the sexual moans that are scattered around lyrics about how easy it is for Eminem to get girls.
The beautiful ode to his daughter ‘Hailie’s Song’ can’t even be ruined by Eminem’s awful singing voice and then he brings in more great collaborations in Dre (again), D12 and Nate Dogg, before finishing with probably my favourite track, ‘My Dad’s Gone Crazy’ which actually features his daughter (who was around six-years-old at the time).
The Eminem Show has absolutely stood the test of time, even though it’s only been 13 years, it still sounds fresh. Now that I know more about the subject matters he’s rapping about, I can fully appreciate it and even though I don’t confess to be an expert on hip hop, you’d be hard pressed to disagree that this is an absolutely great album and one of Eminem’s best.