The Underrated: Eminem- The Slim Shady LP

SSLP on Spotify

By @TrueGodImmortal

1. Public Service Announcement(Skit)
2. My Name is 
3. Guilty Conscience 
4. Brain Damage 
5. Paul(Skit)
6. If I Had 
7. 97' Bonnie & Clyde 
8. Bitch (Skit)
9. Role Model 
10. Lounge (Skit)
11. My Fault
12. Ken Kaniff (Skit)
13. Cum on Everybody 
14. Rock Bottom 
15. Just Don't Give A Fuck
16. Soap (Skit)
17. As The World Turns 
18. I'm Shady
19. Bad Meets Evil 
20. Still Don't Give A Fuck

When the year 1999 struck, there was a lot to talk about in hip hop. Jay-Z had just released his biggest album and saw over 5 million copies sold. DMX made history and ended up selling 10 million records between 2 classic albums in one year. Outkast released a classic. Lauryn Hill was on top of the world as well. Dr. Dre however, was silently planning a comeback of sorts, and his comeback would be led by the release of the official solo debut of his newest hip hip artist, Eminem. Eminem of course, a white rapper, possessed something that the previous white rappers had seemed to lack: lyrical skill and ability. Signed to Aftermath and Interscope, this experiment kicked off with his first single "My Name Is" which is an introductory record of sorts, with a bit of shock value in the lyrics, a non threatening tone, and a bit of comedic genius in some way.

The release of the first big single would lead to the release of this album "The Slim Shady LP". Though "Just Don't Give A Fuck" is the official first single of the album, it didn't truly make a splash in the mainstream and "My Name Is" became the world's first impression of the man called Slim Shady. For DAR Midwest Week, we wanted to kick it off reflecting about this landmark album that sent the Detroit rapper to superstardom, selling over 5 million copies. It has been overlooked by many for years as the Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show are more popular and sold more as well, but the SSLP is just as viable and vital to the rise of Eminem.

While I wasn't the biggest fan of this album and I still am not, I recognize the impact that it had on hip hop, or more importantly pop culture. With a song like "My Name Is" you saw a playful yet controversial side of Eminem, while on the Dr. Dre featured "Guilty Conscience", he flexed his creative side just a bit by creating a concept song that sees Dre and Em play the respective roles of angel and devil. Em tackles the subject of bullying on the interesting "Brain Damage", and while this wasn't necessarily a familiar to the hip hop community, it was very familiar to the folks outside of the hip hop community and appealed to pop culture once again. The song would result in a lawsuit from a guy that was mentioned in the track and would only add to the controversy of Eminem and his lyrics.

There could be nothing sicker than planning to kill the mother of your child via song and having your child's voice on that same song, right? Well, Eminem certainly did it with the "97 Bonnie and Clyde" track which was reworked from his previous Slim Shady EP("Just The Two of Us"). While some may understand the anger Em may have felt towards his ex, the controversy here was of course that he used his daughter's voice on this particular record. More shock value equals more attention and Em was truly just using this to his advantage. Much like his lyrics going at his mother for being on drugs, a lot of Em's personal life and strife became fodder for shock value. Whether or not I personally agree with that method is irrelevant, but one has to applaud Em for using these things in some way to become more and more popular.

Tracks like "Role Model" and "Rock Bottom" are sinister and dark, but lyrically Em is just a whole different beast. Say what you want about his content, but Em is without a doubt a premier lyricist and on those songs in particular, as well as "Bad Meets Evil" collaboration with Royce Da 5'9, the lyricism is on a top notch level. What this album possessed over the next two albums was the youthful aggression and true shock value that the SSLP had. Shock value hits you hard when it first catches your attention and begins to wear off once it's used over and over again. For many, this is why Eminem is looked at in the regard he is now by many in the hip hop culture. The gimmick gets old if you can't necessarily do it right, but Eminem managed to weave between depression, sinister thoughts, hopelessness, and anger while making it sound fresh over Dr. Dre and Bass Brothers production. The SSLP isn't necessarily a classic to me, but it is a truly important album to the genre and for Midwest hip hop.

What are your thoughts on this album? Reflect back with us and enjoy the music, and post any comments below.



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