May 26, 2019

Eminem "The Eminem Show" (Vibe Magazine, 2002)

Eminem is a controversy magnet. In the past, his raps have included violent fantasies of killing his wife (they've since split up) and not-very-flattering portraits of his mother (who responded with a multimillion-dollar libel suit). Marshall Mather's real-life antics have earned him further legal problems, including gun and assault charges. None of these are topics he shies away from on his third-album, The Eminem Show, as he continues to obsess about his personal life and the public's reaction to him. There is something thrilling about the way he digs into his wounds; it's the aural equivalent of an episode of Cops. In other words, The Eminem Show is a brilliant piece of theater and a guilty pleasure. Eminem knows his every phrase will be scrutinized, yet he doesn't seem to care... His guerrilla approach to reality means he never holds onto any one position long enough to have to defend it. That's easier said than done; Eminem's ability to hop-scotch back and forth over the line between earnestness and sarcasm borders on genius... Lyrically, the album is exceptional on the whole, but there are momentary lapses... Like a man looking into a mirror while the world stares at him, Eminem uses his new album to strip himself naked and dissect his private life. Rhyming with electrifying rapidity, and thinking even faster, he has an unerring instinct for heading straight for our taboos. For some rappers, the boundary between life and art is very thin. For Eminem, it's the perfect place to pitch his tent and perform. - Vibe Magazine, 2002. The Eminem Show (5/26/02)