The Slim Shady L.P.


Aftermath / Interscope Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


For a moment, let's talk about the lifespan of your typical white rapper. Vanilla Ice: Flash-in-the-pan hit, instant success followed almost immediately by equal hatred, and is still trying to make a name for himself. Snow: Flash-in-the-pan hit with "Informer," only to fall off the edge of the earth. I'm sure he's still recording, it's just that I haven't heard any output from this guy since I graduated college in 1993.

And now there's Detroit-based Marshall Mathers, better known as Eminem. On one side, you might see his recent hit "My Name Is..." as a flash-in-the-pan... are we seeing a pattern here?

But Eminem was discovered by Dr. Dre, and Dre is no fool when it comes to discovering rappers - look at his best-known protege, Snoop Doggy Dogg. Dre is not known for putting the kind of energy that he has thrown behind Eminem to artists who aren't going to be around for the long run.

It's on that one tenet alone that I'd tend to believe that his debut release, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The Slim Shady L.P., is the sign of bright things to come from Eminem. That is, until you listen to the album - which serves as even more concrete proof of the talent this young man has.

A quick note of warning: This album is definitely not one for the faint of heart, nor is it for the kiddies. Even Eminem pokes fun at what is about to blare forth on "Public Service Announcement".

Sure, there are occasional flashes of gangsta violence on Slim Shady, but often these seem to be more retaliatory actions against those who have tried to crush Eminem's spirit and body ("Brain Damage") - and it is kind of funny to hear Dr. Dre as the "voice of reason" to Eminem's "bad angel" on "Guilty Conscience". In fact, tracks like "Guilty Conscience" show the sense of humor that Eminem has; when someone catches their wife in bed with another man and Dr. Dre says there has to be some explanation, Eminem exclaims, "What? She tripped, fell, landed on his..." well, you get the idea.

"'97 Bonnie And Clyde" is a track that has attracted much criticism due to the violent nature of the song. However, I think that people missed the overall humor in the song - and, yes, I did say humor. I highly doubt that Eminem is encouraging men to kill their wives and have their kids help to dump them in the ocean. Maybe I'm not reading enough into the track - but the fact is, I don't want to. I can appreciate it as a decent rap track, and one I find myself going back to again and again. (If anyone at Interscope is reading - yeah, right - I'd give this track serious consideration as the follow-up single.)

Even though there are one or two weak tracks on this album ("Bad Meets Evil"), the balance of Slim Shady shows that Eminem is a rapper who will easily be around for the long run. "My Name Is..." still hasn't worn out its welcome to my ears, while other tracks like "My Fault", "Role Model" and "As The World Turns" sound better with each listen.

While some of the interludes on Slim Shady are humorous (like his attorney asking Eminem to "tone it down"), for the most part, I would have preferred Eminem to have left these off and just concentrated on the raps.

What separates Eminem from the other white rappers? Simple: I honestly believe he's got the talent to stay popular for more than one album. The talent is there, as The Slim Shady L.P. proves without a doubt.

Rating: A-

User Rating: A-



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Aftermath / Interscope Records, and is used for informational purposes only.