Ever since I heard that we may get a new Eminem album in 2013 and that he recently turned 40 this year (my mind is still blown from that), I’ve been in the mood to listen to my favorite rapper. There is no other way to describe his third album but phenomenal. It has its share of silly songs, like the ones found on the previous record, but there are other ones that show a more mature and thoughtful Marshall Mathers. There are songs here that will make you laugh, cry, and grimace in disgust all which make up one of the best albums of 2002.
The one thing I noticed as soon as the album was over was that it shows how the rapper has matured as an artist. His second album was filled with controversial and violent remarks about women, drugs, and homosexuals. While it’s not entirely absent from this release, it’s not as easily found in the songs. In regards to the remarks he made about gay people there are almost none on the record. Rather, this record focuses more on his life after his rise to fame, instead of letting his alter ego Slim Shady take over. And while I do love those songs on his last record, the fact that those shocking remarks aren’t as prevalent here is a breath of fresh air. It shows that he’s grown as an artist and a writer. It’s as if he was trying to prove that he’s a musician with talent to all the naysayers.
Another thing that surprised me about this album is the length. If you’ve been following the blog since it started, you know that I’m super picky about albums that go past 13 songs. Usually songs run the risk of becoming repetitive and boring after a certain number of tracks and when I saw this one was 20 I was expecting to feel worn out by the time it was over. But when I was listening to it, I didn’t even realize how much time had passed by. I also wasn’t constantly checking the tracklisting to see how many more songs there were to go before the record would be over. It’s clear that Eminem makes sure each song is worth your time, rather than just filling up the space with mediocre material.
The songs themselves are excellent; definitely some of the best of the rapper’s career. There’s a good mix of silly raps and the serious stuff. “White America” is an aggressive song about Eminem’s fanbase, how he appeals to suburban kids, and how his attractiveness and skin color helped him become so successful. It’s one of the best songs on the album. Another great song is the humorous and clever “Business,” which compares Dre and Em to the dynamic duo Batman and Robin. Things take a dark tone with the personal track “Cleanin’ Out my Closet.” This is probably the closet he will come to actually apologizing to his mother. It provides more insight about his rocky relationship with Kim, his absentee father, and his broken family. The last verse where he addresses his mother is really sad and makes you feel sorry for him because you realize he was actually hurt by the way she treated him. It’s a really powerful song and probably one of his most emotional.
The other serious songs include “Solider,” which recaps an incident with a gun that got him arrested, “Say Goodbye Hollywood,” that finds him talking about life after fame and how some days he wants to quit, and the sweet “Hallie’s Song,” which shows listeners just how much he cares about his daughter. But the rapper makes sure to have fun with the record too. “Without Me” is almost a sequel to “The Real Slim Shady” and has got to be one of the best comeback songs ever. The closing track “My Dad’s Gone Crazy” finds him poking fun at himself by saying him and Dre are secretly lovers and how he doesn’t care what critics say about him. But the funniest song on the record has to be “Superman.” Everything about this song is great from the music to the lyrics. Even though it’s about bad relationships and one night stands, it manages to be catchy with the line “I do know one thing though/bitches they come they go/Saturday through Sunday, Monday, Monday through Sunday yo.” Even though it’s really explicit, it’s still awesome.
Though I don’t regularly listen to songs like “Sing for the Moment” and Hallie’s Song,” they’re still great in their own right. The only song on here that I don’t like is “Drips.” It’s disgusting. It’s just so wrong. It features Obie Trice and his rap is really graphic. It’s mainly about hooking up with a girl and getting an STD from her in full detail. Eminem’s rap isn’t all that bad or explicit and it nicely links the two raps together to make a messed up story, but Obie’s rap is the reason I can’t listen to this song. I grimace every time I hear it. The other thing that’s annoying about the album are the skits. I mentioned this before and how they’re just pointless. It’s pretty much the same thing here. The only one that isn’t so bad is “The Kiss” mainly because it provides some back story for the two following songs. They’re a little more tolerable here and don’t affect the album much.
Overall, the album gets 9.5/10. It’s probably his best record yet. Just about all the songs are awesome and contain some of his most clever and fierce rhymes. The album is also great because it shows growth as an artist. Eminem puts controversial and violent remarks on the back burner in order to shed more light on his life after fame. If you think Eminem is nothing but a potty mouth rapper that hates everyone including his mother, you need to check out this album. It’s one of his finest moments in his rap career