31. Eminem: The Slim Shady LP
People talk about those magical moments in music. The things that changed the game. The first time the world heard The Beatles or Nirvana. I was never a part of those things ‘first times’. But I remember the first time the world heard Eminem.
The song was My Name Is and it’s hilarious music video and catchy hook spelled instant success. When I first heard him I assumed it was a joke or a one-hit wonder. It wasn’t that I didn’t think he was talented because I immediately could tell he was, but I first heard him on our local rock station. Before this the only rap artists they played was Beastie Boys.
Much like when I talked about Weird Al a few months ago, the first time the song came out it was all anyone could talk about at Northley Middle School. Now I’ve talked about my religious background really fucking up my ability to enjoy music before in high school. I ignored this ‘foul-mouthed rapper’ for years. I talked about this previously about my secret fandom when discussing the Marshall Mathers LP.
Don’t get me wrong for ranking this higher than the Marshall Mathers LP. Eminem’s Sophomore album is his best record. It’s a masterpiece of hip-hop storytelling and is among the 10 greatest rap albums ever released. Regardless, this is my favorite album of Eminem’s. Call me immature but I’d rather listen to the over-the-top and absurd comic book violence and sex that is presented on this album (‘go-go gadget dick’, ‘I beat up Foghorn Leghorn with an Acorn’) than the most serious (but still great) side of Eminem.
I’ve loved almost all of Mather’s albums (except Recovery... which I realize I’m in the minority about but fuck it, not for me) but it was songs like Role Model and Brain Damage that really got me interested in Eminem.
One of the best major label debuts in hip-hop history, plain and simple.