May 23, 2021

Eminem "The Marshall Mathers LP" (May 23, 2000)

Eminem’s 1999 triple-platinum major-label debut, The Slim Shady LP, was a shot in hip-hop’s arm, the grand entrance of a hurricane dressed as a Detroit kid with major-league skills and a potential mental disorder. This time out, he’s more funny and much more scary. On The Marshall Mathers LP he hits you with the lyrical complexity and detailed narratives of Biggie, the hilarious, is-he-kidding-or-not button-pushing of Howard Stern, the disaffected angry-white-boy-ness of Fight Club and the fearless, kill-me-if-you-can energy of Tupac. He has a macabre imagination to rival Satan’s and an incredible ability to create new rhyme patterns. He has a frightening proclivity to spit venom one moment and humor the next, and a never-ending slew of jaw-dropping punch lines.... Expect, during this summer of Shady, to hear Marshall Mathers following you around the hip-hop nation, flowing from boomboxes, trucks and lips the same way Dre’s The Chronic, Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... and B.I.G.’s Life After Death once did. You may find Eminem popping out of your own mouth, because he’s the most quotable MC alive, both consistently funny and ridiculously far over the top. He rarely uses the same rhyme pattern twice, and he changes his vocal style again and again on Marshall Mathers, often in the space of one verse — he uses six different voices in one stretch of “Criminal.” Dr. Dre and partner-of-late Mel-Man produced much of the album, while Eminem and his Detroit crew, F.B.T., handled most of the rest. The sound shifts between slick, bright, melodic funk that’s so R&B-ish, you can dance to it (“Who Knew,” “The Real Slimy Shady”) and slow, driving, outrageous-bass hardcore raw hip-hop made for cruising (“Amityville,” “I’m Back”). Seven years after The Chronic and fourteen after the dawn of N.W.A, Dre is that legendary coach taking a third different team to a national title, still making your head hurt from all the nodding, still crazy dope after all these years.... The Marshall Mathers LP is a car-crash record: loud, wild, dangerous, out of control, grotesque, unsettling. It’s also impossible to pull your ears away from. - Rolling Stone, 2000.

Is The Marshall Mathers LP his best album to date?