DAR Roundtable: Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP vs The Eminem Show

While in present day, Eminem is not necessarily looked at as great, once upon a time, he was damn near untouchable to some. During a three album run, he managed to put out debatable classics, two of which we are discussing today.

The Marshall Mathers LP

1. Public Service Announcement 2000
2. Kill You
3. Stan
4. Paul(Skit)
5. Who Knew
6. Steve Berman(Skit)
7. The Way I Am
8. The Real Slim Shady
9. Remember Me
10. I'm Back
11. Marshall Mathers
12. Ken Kaniff(Skit)
13. Drug Ballad
14. Amityville
15. Bitch Please II
16. Kim 
17. Under The Influence 
18. Criminal


The Eminem Show

1. Curtains Up(Skit)
2. White America
3. Business
4. Cleanin Out My Closet
5. Square Dance
6. The Kiss(Skit)
7. Soldier
8. Say Goodbye Hollywood
9. Drips
10. Without Me
11. Paul Rosenberg(Skit)
12. Sing For The Moment
13. Superman
14. Hailie's Song
15. Steve Berman(Skit)
16. When The Music Stops
17. Say What You Say
18. Till I Collapse
19. My Dad's Gone Crazy
20. Curtains Close(Skit)

Eminem Show gets the prize from me, because to me it's his most well rounded album. Probably the album where his maturity began to show into his music as well. When you have songs such as "Sing for the Moment", "Cleanin Out My Closet", and "Till I Collapse", you pretty much have an untouchable album. Another thing about this album is that it was probably the first time where I felt like I completely knew Eminem the man, not the artist. And I related to almost everything that he was saying. Not to mention the year he dropped this album, he was definitely running rap and followed it up with the almost equally excellent 8 Mile soundtrack. For these reasons, Eminem Show is my favorite.

Marshall Mathers LP for me. That album was more angry and more funny. I understand that Eminem Show was him "growing as a man and artist" and I respect that, but I love the Eminem that was so angry at the world that he really wanted to kill everybody and himself. And I'll agree and say that the production on Eminem Show is better, but MMLP felt more raw to me and had better lyricism. The Way I Am is really the perfect track to listen to while you're angry. I could relate to Em's anger on not only that track but tracks like "Kim" and maybe even "Criminal". Basically being crucified for everything you say and what you believe in by people who don't share those same beliefs. Eminem Show was more of political album to me with tracks going at Bush like "Square Dance" and "White America". "Superman" was also a track I could relate with all the weird and messed up situations of dealing with women I've been in. I gotta give props to that, BUT at the end of the day I'll always pick Marshall Mathers because I heard the album for the first time all the way through at a point in my life where I was pissed off at the world and Em's anger helped me get through a lot of stress. No skips for me listening to that album. From the sociopathic and suicidal lyricism to the hard knocking, cartoony, and yet soulful symphony of production. This album will always be greatness to me. True classic.

MMLP is a classic. But, it had skippable tracks. That, plus "The Kids" was NEVER included on the explicit version. I'd have to say SSEP edges MMLP by a nose, only because it's like that middle ground. We have mainstream Eminem who's attacking celebrities and shit. But, we also get the real "underground" Em. The Eminem who kills shit, threatens everyone, and is a straight up crazy motherfucker. The Eminem Show is the end of the Eminem trifecta of awesomeness.

But...fuck the bullshit. MMLP trumps Eminem Show. It beats that whole sophomore slump thing, and it builds upon the first album. Additionally, The Eminem Show is, it's funny, and "Without Me" is a classic. But it's not the greatest album that he's ever put out. It's probably the weakest of the trifecta in that it's kind of on the cusp of "druggie Eminem," where he's doing Encore and Relapse and shit.

Without going into Eminem's inconsistencies and outright trash over the past decade or so, his last great album was the Eminem Show. He took a more serious tone on most of the album, with White America, Saying Goodbye to Hollywood, etc. Till I Collapse is one of my favorite Eminem tracks in general and Say What You Say is one of the best collabs he has with Dr.Dre IMO. Despite the fact that The Eminem Show might be his most solid project all around, but I still prefer the Marshall Mathers LP any day.
Eminem was at his best when he gave the least fucks possible(and not trying to sing off key for his daughter). Criminal is one of the few Em songs I'll almost never skip to this day. This is the project where Em was still hungry and talking his shit to any and ever critic at the time. Even the biggest Em hater or purists hip hop heads should listen to the first verse of "Marshall Mathers". Aside from the poor excuse of a skit/song where he kills his wife, I don't get sick of this album. No matter how bad Eminem's punchlines get and no matter how many songs he let's Royce outshine him on, the MMLP is always gonna be classic.

It's not even close to me. The Eminem Show is personally my favorite and all around better album. Em was in a zone where he was growing, dealing with demons and cutting back on his usual shtick of attacking pop stars and trying to kill his ex. The maturity, the cohesiveness, the focus even of the Eminem Show makes it a classic and a better album. MMLP is looked at as more of a classic and while I agree it's Em's most important album, it's not necessarily his best. Pac's most important is All Eyez On Me, Nas' most important is Illmatic, but that doesn't mean that those are their best(Me Against The World and It Was Written are their respective best). I don't skip many songs at all on The Eminem Show, where I always skip about 5 or 6 songs on MMLP. My choice is The Eminem Show.

What do you think? Let us know your choice in the comments below.



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