At the turn of the new millennium Marshall Bruce Mathers III, better known as Eminem, released his much anticipated third solo album, The Marshall Mathers LP.
Expectations surrounding the rapper’s output had soared after the previous years’ release of The Slim Shady LP, which infinitely raised the profile of a peroxide blonde rapscallion who had only a few years earlier faced eviction from his home having been unable to keep up with the rent.
Rather than trek down the well worn route of other tricky third albums, TMMLP cemented Eminem’s legacy as a bona fide superstar, supplying a combustible cocktail of dark, vitriolic wordplays, derisive satire and light-hearted skittishness.
Highlights include ‘Stan,’ the fictional Dido supported narrative of an obsessed fan whose letters grow increasingly frantic, before culminating in tragedy, the exasperating anecdotal essence of ‘The Way I am’, light-hearted pop infused ‘Real Slim Shady’ and deeply disturbing ‘Kim’.
‘Bitch Please II’ is another triumph, with the collaboration of a host of hip-hop’s big hitters and upbeat tempo combining to create a potent and gratifying arrangement. ‘Criminal’ is another to provide a catchy riff, this time attached to irresistibly tongue-in-cheek confab.
None of this is surprising, indeed from the get go it’s clear that this is going to be an exhilarating expedition; the album inaugurates with a short skit and the tightly bound ‘Kill You’, a track that contains some superlatively sarcastic street thug vernacular;
Cause ladies screams keep creeping in Shady’s dreams
And the way things seem, I shouldn’t have to pay these shrinks this eighty g’s a week to say the same things. Tweece! Twice? Whatever, I hate these things…
Opinion is divided apropos the pinnacle of Slim Shady’s creative output, but this was a richly fertile period in his career, a time when he truly did have things to gripe about and plenty of original turns of phrase to share with an increasingly beguiled audience.