Eminem is a weird artist. You see the fact of the matter is I hate Marshall Mathers as a person. Lyrically it’s hard for me to really believe that he’s playing a character. Which means either he’s an incredible personality or a disturbed human being. Whatever it is, it helped him to create some of the best rap albums in history.
He exploded into the music scene with My Name Is... but he achieved his critical and creative peak with the follow up album Marshall Mathers LP. While Slim Shady LP has an autobiographical aspect to it, it’s definitely a party album. Marshall Mathers LP however is more aggressive, violent and personal.
Right off the bat Eminem kicks off with Kill You where Eminem attacks all of his critics (as well as Kim, His Mother and his fans). He attacks all of these people again in Who Know (the best song on the album), The Way I Am (one of the last songs added to the record) and Kim (probably the most disturbing rap song in history).
Stan was a huge single off the record and is arguably his most creative and sincere song. In the song he plays both himself as well as his biggest fan Stan. Stan believes all of the lyrics on Shady’s records and tries to be just like him. Meanwhile Shady responds (sadly too late) to tell him that he’s not the person who pretends to be on the record. The song also is built around a bizarre sample of Dido’s song “Thank You” (specifically the opening verse). It was one of the more strange collaborations (made even more strange when performed by Elton John at the Grammys).
The goofy party songs still exist on this record though. Songs like Real Slim Shady, Under The Influence and Remember Me just offer the good old fashion vulgar funny lyrics. The later contains lyrics like “When I got out I’m gonna go out shooting/Not when I do when I got to the club stupid” while on Under the Influence D12 member Bizarre raps “I’ll fuck anything when I’m snort/It’s going to cost $300 to get my pitbull an abortion”.
The album as a whole an interesting examination on split personalities, dealing with fame and having your entire life in the spotlight. Whether Marshall has violent tendencies and anger issues is up to the listener and doesn’t really change the fact that this album is a true experience to listen to.