"I used to like Eminem, until I got 'The Real Slim Shady' rammed down my throat, played to death. I mean, it was a good song, good lyrics etc. but I got sick of it, hearing it so much." Well, that's a stellar reason to no longer like an artist. You'd be surprised as to how many times I've heard words along those lines. It seems that as soon as an artist becomes successful, and the media takes over, noticing what sort of a draw the artist's material has - that the artist all of a sudden has fallen off. Or has sold out. This doesn't make too much sense to anyone who is able to see through the fog, but few seem able to penetrate the mist.
Eminem seems to receive many criticisms from "backpackers" or "underground heads" that seem to dislike him now that he has become a success. But, there are reasons as to why he has. Apart from his skill, even Eminem himself realizes the reasoning behind why he is how big he is, 'White America' showcases this perfectly. He explains how the media manipulates things and how the race card was prevalent in how he became who he has.
'The Eminem Show' is an appropriate title. This album delves into Eminem's life unlike his previous efforts have done. The 'Marshall Mathers LP' and 'Slim Shady LP' both featured a lot of immature (yet well constructed) abusive lyrics attacking a variety of figures and acting somewhat psychotic. This album has a couple too, but, the tracks which featured real depth don't compare to those heard here. 'Cleaning Out My Closet,' 'Say Goodbye To Hollywood' and 'Hailies Song' are all very well constructed tracks which provide some insight into the real Marshall Mathers and his life. Well-constructed autobiographical material which does nothing short of astound. It's a rarity to hear emcees talk about their lives in such a frank manner.
As you'd expect, there's some misogyny, diss material and the well-constructed lead single to lull a wider audience into believing that this release is something different to what it is. Canibus receives some fairly light retaliatory words in both 'Squaredance' and 'What You Say' (which features Dre and Timbaland giving Jermaine Dupri a few less than kind words too) and Moby gets a few words on 'Without Me.'
The featured guests here are surprisingly good. Nate Dogg takes the Dre produced gem (which oddly enough is one of Dre's only production efforts) 'Till I Collapse' to another level, help make the crazy clapped beat guided track the best on the album. D12 impressed me considerably on 'When The Music Stops.' And Obie Trice does a decent job on 'Drips.'
'Business' and 'My Dad's Gone Crazy' were the only tracks which I wasn't that sold on. Neither track is that bad, but the production on 'Business' and the simple, somewhat boring (in comparison to the other tracks) lyrics didn't impress me. 'My Dad's Gone Crazy' features Eminem's daughter, and it is a somewhat "crazy" track. Hailie Jade (Em's daughter) participates in the intro and the hook - and that's what I didn't enjoy. It seems oddly childish, but Eminem's rhymes are anything but that - on the majority of the track, he does a pretty decent job.
In essence, 'The Eminem Show' I hope is as successful as his previous albums. It does show, as Dre stated in an MTV interview - a lot more depth and maturity. Well worth checking out if you're a fan of quality Hip Hop.