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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 1, 2000 | Interscope

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 1, 2010 | Aftermath

Distinctions 4 étoiles Rock and Folk
With Recovery, it becomes obvious that Eminem's richest albums aren't necessarily his most structurally sound, which isn't much of a surprise when considering the rapper's full-on embrace of flaws and contradictions. This lean, mean, bipolar machine began life as Relapse 2, but when Shady decided he wasn't really Shady at the moment, and that he was no longer keen on Relapse -- or the last two albums, as he states on “Talkin' 2 Myself” -- it became Marshall Mathers time again, so damn any 11th hour issues. This results in an album where a shameless but killer Michael J. Fox punch line (“The world will stop spinnin’ and Michael J. Fox‘ll come to a standstill” from “Cold Wind”) is followed by a song with another, less effective MJF joke (“Make like Michael J. Fox in your drawers, playin' with an Etch-A-Sketch”), although that song is the lurching heavy metal monster “Won't Back Down” with P!nk, and it could be used as the lead-in to “Lose Yourself” on any ego-boosting mixtape. Ignoring these contradictions, fans can feed on the energy, the renewed sense of purpose, and Marshall doing whatever the hell he wants, up to and including shoehorning a grand, D12-like comedy number ("W.T.P.," which stands for "White Trash Party") into this emotionally heavy album. It’s fascinating when Em admits “Hatred was flowin’ through my veins, on the verge of goin’ insane/I almost made a song dissin’ Lil Wayne” and then “Thank God I didn’t do it/I’da had my ass handed to me, and I knew it,” before sparring with said Weezy on the Haddaway-sampling “No Love.” When the recovery-minded “Going Through Changes” gets back on the wagon by sampling Black Sabbath’s very druggy “Changes,” it’s a brilliant and layered idea that’s executed with poignant lyrics on top. Add the man at his most profound (the gigantic hit “Not Afraid”) and his most profane (“You wanna get graphic? We can go the scenic route/You couldn’t make a bulimic puke on a piece of corn and peanut poop” from “On Fire”) plus one of thickest lyric booklets out of any of his albums and the fans who really listen are instantly on board. It may be flawed and the rapper’s attitude is sometimes one step ahead of his output, but he hasn’t sounded this unfiltered and proud since The Marshall Mathers LP, so to hell with refinement -- bring on the hunger and spirit of 8 Mile. © David Jeffries /TiVo
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 17, 2020 | Shady - Aftermath - Interscope Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released December 6, 2005 | Aftermath

If Eminem's Curtain Call: The Hits really is his final bow and not merely a clever denouement to his series of Eminem Show and Encore albums, it's a worthy way to retire. And even if he stages a comeback years from now, there's little question that the first five years of his career, spanning four albums plus a soundtrack, will be his popular and creative peak, meaning that the time is right for Curtain Call -- it has all the songs upon which his legend lies. Which isn't necessarily the same things as all the hits. There are a few odds and ends missing -- most notably one of his first hip-hop hits, "Just Don't Give a F***," plus 2003's "Superman" and 2005's "Ass Like That" -- but all the big songs are here: "Guilty Conscience," "My Name Is," "Stan," "The Real Slim Shady," "The Way I Am," "Cleanin' Out My Closet," "Lose Yourself," "Without Me" and "Just Lose It." They're not presented in chronological order, which by and large isn't a problem, since the sequencing here not only has a good, logical momentum, alternating between faster and slower tracks, but they're all part of a body of work that's one of the liveliest, most inventive in pop music in the 21st century. The only exception to the rule are the three new songs here, all finding Shady sounding somewhat thin. There's the closing "When I'm Gone," a sentimental chapter in the Eminem domestic psychodrama that bears the unmistakable suggestion that Em is going away for a while. While it's not up to the standard of "Mockingbird," it is more fully realized than the two other new cuts here, both sex songs that find Shady sounding as if he's drifting along in his own orbit. "Shake That" has an incongruous Nate Dogg crooning the chorus, while the wildly weird "Fack" finds Eminem spending the entire track fighting off an orgasm; it seems tired, a little too close to vulgar Weird Al territory, and it doesn't help that his Jenna Jameson reference seems a little old (everybody knows that the busty porno "It" girl of 2005 is Jesse Jane; after all, she even was in Entourage). Even if these three cuts suggest why Eminem is, if not retiring, at least taking a long break, that's fine: they're reasonably good and are bolstered by the rest of the songs here, which don't just capture him at his best, but retain their energy, humor, weirdness, and vitality even after they've long become overly familiar. And that means Curtain Call isn't just a good way to bow out, but it's a great greatest-hits album by any measure. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 1, 2002 | Aftermath

It's all about the title. First time around, Eminem established his alter ego, Slim Shady -- the character who deliberately shocked and offended millions, turning Eminem into a star. Second time at bat, he turned out The Marshall Mathers LP, delving deeper into his past while revealing complexity as an artist and a personality that helped bring him an even greater audience and much, much more controversy. Third time around, it's The Eminem Show -- a title that signals that Eminem's public persona is front and center, for the very first time. And it is, as he spends much of the album commenting on the media circus that dominated on his life ever since the release of Marshall Mathers. This, of course, encompasses many, many familiar subjects -- his troubled childhood; his hatred of his parents; his turbulent relationship with his ex-wife, Kim (including the notorious incident when he assaulted a guy who allegedly kissed her -- the event that led to their divorce); his love of his daughter, Hailie; and, of course, all the controversy he generated, notably the furor over his alleged homophobia and his scolding from Lynne Cheney, which leads to furious criticism about the hypocrisy of America and its government. All this is married to a production very similar to that of its predecessor -- spare, funky, fluid, and vibrant, punctuated with a couple of ballads along the way. So, that means The Eminem Show is essentially a holding pattern, but it's a glorious one -- one that proves Eminem is the gold standard in pop music in 2002, delivering stylish, catchy, dense, funny, political music that rarely panders (apart from a power ballad "Dream On" rewrite on "Sing for the Moment" and maybe the sex rap "Drips," that is). Even if there is little new ground broken, the presentation is exceptional -- Dre never sounds better as a producer than when Eminem pushes him forward (witness the stunning oddity "Square Dance," a left-field classic with an ominous waltz beat) and, with three albums under his belt, Eminem has proven himself to be one of the all-time classic MCs, surprising as much with his delivery as with what he says. Plus, the undercurrent of political anger -- not just attacking Lynne Cheney, but raising questions about the Bush administration -- gives depth to his typical topics, adding a new, spirited dimension to his shock tactics as notable as the deep sentimental streak he reveals on his odes to his daughter. Perhaps the album runs a little too long at 20 songs and 80 minutes and would have flowed better if trimmed by 25 minutes, but that's a typical complaint about modern hip-hop records. Fact is, it still delivers more great music than most of its peers in rock or rap, and is further proof that Eminem is an artist of considerable range and dimension. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 17, 2020 | Shady - Aftermath - Interscope Records

The dismal collection of self-indulgence and proudly ignorant misstepping that Eminem offered with 2018's Kamikaze left him with nowhere to go but up. Though his technical mastery hadn't waned at all, cringe-worthy lyrics and a mentality somewhere between seventh grade locker room bragging and an active midlife crisis made for one of the worst albums from one of the (historically) best rappers. Also released without any publicity or lead-up, Music to Be Murdered By sees Eminem pulling himself out of Kamikaze's wreckage somewhat, though he still falls victim to moments of willful dumbness and a tedious self-obsession that's become par for the course. On the album's best tracks, there are still hints of the fire that made Eminem a rap legend. The minimally eerie "Darkness" finds him taking on the perspective of Las Vegas music festival shooter Stephen Paddock, occupying the role with the same chilling intensity that made his earlier albums so unsettling. The substandard production of the last few records is also improved on, with help from familiar friends Dr. Dre (in particular on the creeping beat of "Lock It Up," where Dre's trademark slinkiness provides a backdrop for Em) and Anderson .Paak to trade inspired verses. A posthumous feature from Juice WRLD provides the chorus for "Godzilla," one of the album's most pop moments. Eminem flexes his technical abilities in the song's final quarter, spitting a storm of dizzying rhymes that comes close to outdoing his hyperspeed flow on "Rap God." "You Gon Learn" is also a standout, with an organic feel driven by live drum sounds and chopped soul samples. Eminem still can't quite get over himself, breaking the fourth wall to rant at his critics and detractors enough to take away from the more imaginative material. There's also no shortage of punny punch lines and eye roll-eliciting lyrical reaches (Including a reference to a '90s sitcom alien in "Marsh" with the stunningly bad line "With all this A-B-C shit, I'm starting to sound like Alf a bit.") With 20 tracks and an hour-long running time, the good-to-bad ratio on Music to Be Murdered By is a solid 50/50, but that's way better odds than Kamikaze or 2017's similarly disappointing Revival. This particular act in Eminem's story is a strange one, with much of his late-2010s output tarnishing earlier glories. Luckily, Music to Be Murdered By fares better than records that could have just as well been left in the vault. It presents an accurate depiction of where Eminem is at in this weird stage of his career, one where his best work comes when he's able to step out of his own towering shadow. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released September 28, 2018 | Aftermath

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Hurt in his core by the critics on his comeback album, Revival, Eminem keeps with the times by releasing a surprise album the very same year. Kamikaze is a biting response to naysayers, and most importantly to the new generation of “mumble” rappers, who don’t really impress Eminem, to say the least. Surrounded by trendy producers Mike Will Made It, Ronny J and Tay Keith, Slim Shady strings his verses written in fire, shooting his poisoned arrows towards most of the rap world. Tyler The Creator, Lil Pump, Charlamagne Tha God, Migos, Drake, Joe Budden… Everyone takes a beating. Using the same weapons as his peers, Eminem spends most of his tracks performing a proper technical show-off, right from the explosive intro, The Ringer. On Not Alike with Royce da 5’9, he even flirts with parody by covering in detail Blocboy JB and Drake’s Look Alike. Trying to re-engage with his stroke of genius of the past, the rapper from Detroit reverts back to his habits as a battle MC, pounding on his opponents with versatility and multiplying references to current events on the rap scene. However he does allow himself a small conceptual break with Nice Guy/Good Guy, a duo with singer Jessie Reyez, before closing the album with the theme from Venom, Marvel’s next blockbuster. To conclude, Kamikaze is a combination of chorus-free polemical tracks, vitriolic interludes and more standard titles from the artist’s repertoire. Setting the record straight and modernizing his music, Eminem has regained this raw, untamed energy many thought was extinct. © Aurélien Chapuis/Qobuz
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released February 23, 1999 | Aftermath

Given his subsequent superstardom, culminating in no less than an Academy Award, it may be easy to overlook exactly how demonized Eminem was once his mainstream debut album, The Slim Shady LP, grabbed the attention of pop music upon its release in 1999. Then, it wasn't clear to every listener that Eminem was, as they say, an unreliable narrator, somebody who slung satire, lies, uncomfortable truths, and lacerating insights with vigor and venom, blurring the line between reality and parody, all seemingly without effort. The Slim Shady LP bristles with this tension, since it's never always clear when Marshall Mathers is joking and when he's dead serious. This was unsettling in 1999, when nobody knew his back-story, and years later, when his personal turmoil is public knowledge, it still can be unsettling, because his words and delivery are that powerful. Of course, nowhere is this more true than on "97 Bonnie and Clyde," a notorious track where he imagines killing his wife and then disposing of the body with his baby daughter in tow. There have been more violent songs in rap, but few more disturbing, and it's not because of what it describes, it's how he describes it -- how the perfectly modulated phrasing enhances the horror and black humor of his words. Eminem's supreme gifts are an expansive vocabulary and vivid imagination, which he unleashes with wicked humor and unsparing anger in equal measure. The production -- masterminded by Dr. Dre but also helmed in large doses by Marky and Jeff Bass, along with Marshall himself -- mirrors his rhymes, with their spare, intricately layered arrangements enhancing his narratives, which are always at the forefront. As well they should be -- there are few rappers as wildly gifted verbally as Eminem. At a time when many rappers were stuck in the stultifying swamp of gangsta clichés, Eminem broke through the hardcore murk by abandoning the genre's familiar themes and flaunting a style with more verbal muscle and imagination than any of his contemporaries. Years later, as the shock has faded, it's those lyrical skills and the subtle mastery of the music that still resonate, and they're what make The Slim Shady LP one of the great debuts in both hip-hop and modern pop music. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released December 15, 2017 | Aftermath Records

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Remaining relevant fifteen years after reaching the top of the pyramid is not an easy feat… Now 45 years old, Eminem is well aware that he’s not the king of hip-hop anymore, but he remains particularly impressive when doing what he does best: Eminem! Four years after The Marshall Mathers LP 2, the rapper concludes his Re trilogy with Revival, following Relapse (2009) and Recovery (2010). Produced by his faithful duo made up of Dr. Dre and Rick Rubin, Eminem unleashes his sharp punchlines, directed both against himself and the President of the United States. A little introspection, social analysis and political criticism: his flow, still agile and overly powerful, hits the nail right on the head. Most importantly, Eminem doesn’t try to sound young, and doesn’t try to ride the current trends. Eminem even seems to distance himself more and more from the fundamentals of rap. Pop-rock hints, which have always been present in his previous works, are more prominent than ever. Like on In Your Head, for which he sampled The Cranberries’ famous Zombie… Finally, in terms of featuring artists, he obviously pulled out his cheque book, as well as his address book, inviting Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, Alicia Keys and Pink − an impressive list of heavyweights! © CM/Qobuz
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 1, 1999 | Aftermath

Given his subsequent superstardom, culminating in no less than an Academy Award, it may be easy to overlook exactly how demonized Eminem was once his mainstream debut album, The Slim Shady LP, grabbed the attention of pop music upon its release in 1999. Then, it wasn't clear to every listener that Eminem was, as they say, an unreliable narrator, somebody who slung satire, lies, uncomfortable truths, and lacerating insights with vigor and venom, blurring the line between reality and parody, all seemingly without effort. The Slim Shady LP bristles with this tension, since it's never always clear when Marshall Mathers is joking and when he's dead serious. This was unsettling in 1999, when nobody knew his back-story, and years later, when his personal turmoil is public knowledge, it still can be unsettling, because his words and delivery are that powerful. Of course, nowhere is this more true than on "97 Bonnie and Clyde," a notorious track where he imagines killing his wife and then disposing of the body with his baby daughter in tow. There have been more violent songs in rap, but few more disturbing, and it's not because of what it describes, it's how he describes it -- how the perfectly modulated phrasing enhances the horror and black humor of his words. Eminem's supreme gifts are an expansive vocabulary and vivid imagination, which he unleashes with wicked humor and unsparing anger in equal measure. The production -- masterminded by Dr. Dre but also helmed in large doses by Marky and Jeff Bass, along with Marshall himself -- mirrors his rhymes, with their spare, intricately layered arrangements enhancing his narratives, which are always at the forefront. As well they should be -- there are few rappers as wildly gifted verbally as Eminem. At a time when many rappers were stuck in the stultifying swamp of gangsta clichés, Eminem broke through the hardcore murk by abandoning the genre's familiar themes and flaunting a style with more verbal muscle and imagination than any of his contemporaries. Years later, as the shock has faded, it's those lyrical skills and the subtle mastery of the music that still resonate, and they're what make The Slim Shady LP one of the great debuts in both hip-hop and modern pop music. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 17, 2020 | Shady - Aftermath - Interscope Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 1, 2004 | Aftermath

Eminem took a hiatus after the release of his first motion picture, 8 Mile, in late 2002, but it never seemed like he went away. Part of that is the nature of celebrity culture, where every star cycles through gossip columns regardless of whether they have a project in the stores or theaters, and part of it is that Marshall Mathers kept busy, producing records by his protégés D12, Obie Trice, and 50 Cent -- all hit albums -- with the latter turning into the biggest new hip-hop star of 2003. All this activity tended to obscure the fact that Eminem hadn't released a full-length album of new material since The Eminem Show in early summer 2002, and that two and a half years separated that album and its highly anticipated sequel, Encore. As the title suggests, Encore is a companion piece to The Eminem Show the way that The Marshall Mathers LP mirrored The Slim Shady LP, offering a different spin on familiar subjects. Where his first two records dealt primarily with personas and characters, his second two records deal with what those personas have wrought, which tends to be intrinsically less interesting than the characters themselves, since it's dissecting the aftermath instead of causing the drama. On The Eminem Show that kind of self-analysis was perfectly acceptable, since Eminem was on the top of his game as both a lyricist and rapper; his insights were vibrant and his music was urgent. Unfortunately, Encore is not the flipside of The Eminem Show as much as it is its negative image, where everything that was a strength has been turned into a handicap this time around. Musically, Show didn't innovate, but it didn't need to: Eminem and his mentor, Dr. Dre, had achieved cruising altitude, and even if they weren't offering much that was new, the music sounded fresh and alive. Here, the music is staid and spartan, built on simple unadorned beats and keyboard loops. While some songs use this sound to its advantage and a few others break free -- "Yellow Brick Road" is a tense, cinematic production -- the overall effect of these stark, black-and-white productions it to make Encore seem hermetically sealed, to make Eminem sound isolated from the outside world. This impression is only enhanced by Em's choice of lyrical subjects throughout the album. Instead of documenting his life, or the shifts in his psyche, he's decided to chronicle what's happened to him over the past the two years and refute every charge that's made it into the papers. This is quite a bit different than his earlier albums, when he embellished and exaggerated his life, when his relationship with his estranged wife, Kim, turned into an outlaw ballad, when his frenetic insults, cheap shots, and celeb baiting had a surreal, hilarious impact. Here, Eminem is plainspoken and literal, intent on refuting every critic from Benzino at The Source to Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, who gets an entire song ("Ass Like That") devoted to him. It's a bizarre move that seems all the more humorless when you realize that the loosest, funniest song -- the first single, "Just Lose It" -- is a sideswipe at Michael Jackson, the easiest target Em has yet hit. And that's the major problem with Encore: it sounds as if Eminem is coasting, resting on his laurels, and never pushing himself into interesting territory. Since he's a talented artist, there are moments scattered across the record that do work, whether it's full songs or flights of phrase in otherwise limp tracks, and that's enough to make it worth a spin, but Encore never resonates the way his first three endlessly fascinating albums do. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 1, 2013 | Aftermath

Booklet
After centering himself with the confessional 2010 release Recovery, Eminem entered his forties while watching his beloved city of Detroit literally go bankrupt. The cover here displays this descent with an updated picture of the rapper's teenage home, first featured on the MM LP of 2000 but now boarded up, and yet this 8 Mile child cares much more about the present than the past, as this vicious, infectious, hilarious triumph is no nostalgia trip, just the 2013 version of Marshall the experienced maverick on a tear, dealing with the current state of events and kicking up dust with his trademark maniac attack while effortlessly juggling his over-40 wisdom with stuff you'd slap a teenager for saying. Key cut "Rap God" is the quintessential track as it blasts out homophobic cut-downs and other inexcusable lyrics, because Marshall's the "Dale Earnhardt of the trailer park," but "I still rap like I'm on my Pharoahe Monch grind," and suddenly his Stan Lee-like origin story begins to take shape. Marshall is a super villain so familiar with hate and depression, he's powered by all shades of anger. Be it pissing off the neighbors (rocking the house with a some Beastie Boys and Billy Squier samples on the Rick Rubin-produced party starter "Bezerk") or being threatened by critics (and his biggest ever, too, as "Bad Guy" revisits the MM LP character "Stan" via his revenge-obsessed brother Matthew), it all feeds into his super nova, and it’s a unique spectacle when it explodes. It does so gloriously on the stately arena rap anthem "Survival," which injects the listener with martial beats and a pre-game pep talk worth hearing. "Asshole" takes the decidedly low road to destruction, slapping girls "off the mechanical bull, at a tractor pull" while using controversy to make the front page, then offering the idea that he's "white America's mirror, so don't feel awkward or weird," because there's no sense in leaving the sewer if you don't crawl out enlightened. Love it or hate it, nourishing his same old murder fantasies is what drives Eminem to make the vital music found here, and yet there's room for polished and clever frivolity on the album. The grand "Love Game" with Kendrick Lamar whips a Wayne Fontana "Game of Love"-sample into a thrilling swagger cut, while "So Far…" re-edits Joe Walsh's "Life's Been Good" so the Madden and MP3 generation can also understand the sweet irony of mansions filled with Kool-Aid-stained couches. Silly, manipulated voices and all, "The Monster" with Rihanna offers insight with its "I get along with the voices inside my head" attitude, then "Headlights" ups the game and offers mom an apology, referencing his earlier hit "Cleaning Out My Closet" and explaining it as an angry and irresponsible moment. Funny thing is, most of the best moments on MM LP2 are just as angry, and just as irresponsible, but like "Closet," this is the tortured soul and self-reliance ninja known as Eminem at his very best. © David Jeffries /TiVo
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 1, 2005 | Aftermath

If Eminem's Curtain Call: The Hits really is his final bow and not merely a clever denouement to his series of Eminem Show and Encore albums, it's a worthy way to retire. And even if he stages a comeback years from now, there's little question that the first five years of his career, spanning four albums plus a soundtrack, will be his popular and creative peak, meaning that the time is right for Curtain Call -- it has all the songs upon which his legend lies. Which isn't necessarily the same things as all the hits. There are a few odds and ends missing -- most notably one of his first hip-hop hits, "Just Don't Give a F***," plus 2003's "Superman" and 2005's "Ass Like That" -- but all the big songs are here: "Guilty Conscience," "My Name Is," "Stan," "The Real Slim Shady," "The Way I Am," "Cleanin' Out My Closet," "Lose Yourself," "Without Me" and "Just Lose It." They're not presented in chronological order, which by and large isn't a problem, since the sequencing here not only has a good, logical momentum, alternating between faster and slower tracks, but they're all part of a body of work that's one of the liveliest, most inventive in pop music in the 21st century. The only exception to the rule are the three new songs here, all finding Shady sounding somewhat thin. There's the closing "When I'm Gone," a sentimental chapter in the Eminem domestic psychodrama that bears the unmistakable suggestion that Em is going away for a while. While it's not up to the standard of "Mockingbird," it is more fully realized than the two other new cuts here, both sex songs that find Shady sounding as if he's drifting along in his own orbit. "Shake That" has an incongruous Nate Dogg crooning the chorus, while the wildly weird "Fack" finds Eminem spending the entire track fighting off an orgasm; it seems tired, a little too close to vulgar Weird Al territory, and it doesn't help that his Jenna Jameson reference seems a little old (everybody knows that the busty porno "It" girl of 2005 is Jesse Jane; after all, she even was in Entourage). Even if these three cuts suggest why Eminem is, if not retiring, at least taking a long break, that's fine: they're reasonably good and are bolstered by the rest of the songs here, which don't just capture him at his best, but retain their energy, humor, weirdness, and vitality even after they've long become overly familiar. And that means Curtain Call isn't just a good way to bow out, but it's a great greatest-hits album by any measure. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
CD£7.99

Hip-Hop/Rap - Released August 31, 2018 | Aftermath

Hurt in his core by the critics on his comeback album, Revival, Eminem keeps with the times by releasing a surprise album the very same year. Kamikaze is a biting response to naysayers, and most importantly to the new generation of “mumble” rappers, who don’t really impress Eminem, to say the least. Surrounded by trendy producers Mike Will Made It, Ronny J and Tay Keith, Slim Shady strings his verses written in fire, shooting his poisoned arrows towards most of the rap world. Tyler The Creator, Lil Pump, Charlamagne Tha God, Migos, Drake, Joe Budden… Everyone takes a beating. Using the same weapons as his peers, Eminem spends most of his tracks performing a proper technical show-off, right from the explosive intro, The Ringer. On Not Alike with Royce da 5’9, he even flirts with parody by covering in detail Blocboy JB and Drake’s Look Alike. Trying to re-engage with his stroke of genius of the past, the rapper from Detroit reverts back to his habits as a battle MC, pounding on his opponents with versatility and multiplying references to current events on the rap scene. However he does allow himself a small conceptual break with Nice Guy/Good Guy, a duo with singer Jessie Reyez, before closing the album with the theme from Venom, Marvel’s next blockbuster. To conclude, Kamikaze is a combination of chorus-free polemical tracks, vitriolic interludes and more standard titles from the artist’s repertoire. Setting the record straight and modernizing his music, Eminem has regained this raw, untamed energy many thought was extinct. © Aurélien Chapuis/Qobuz
CD£14.99

Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 1, 2013 | Aftermath

Booklet
After centering himself with the confessional 2010 release Recovery, Eminem entered his forties while watching his beloved city of Detroit literally go bankrupt. The cover here displays this descent with an updated picture of the rapper's teenage home, first featured on the MM LP of 2000 but now boarded up, and yet this 8 Mile child cares much more about the present than the past, as this vicious, infectious, hilarious triumph is no nostalgia trip, just the 2013 version of Marshall the experienced maverick on a tear, dealing with the current state of events and kicking up dust with his trademark maniac attack while effortlessly juggling his over-40 wisdom with stuff you'd slap a teenager for saying. Key cut "Rap God" is the quintessential track as it blasts out homophobic cut-downs and other inexcusable lyrics, because Marshall's the "Dale Earnhardt of the trailer park," but "I still rap like I'm on my Pharoahe Monch grind," and suddenly his Stan Lee-like origin story begins to take shape. Marshall is a super villain so familiar with hate and depression, he's powered by all shades of anger. Be it pissing off the neighbors (rocking the house with a some Beastie Boys and Billy Squier samples on the Rick Rubin-produced party starter "Bezerk") or being threatened by critics (and his biggest ever, too, as "Bad Guy" revisits the MM LP character "Stan" via his revenge-obsessed brother Matthew), it all feeds into his super nova, and it’s a unique spectacle when it explodes. It does so gloriously on the stately arena rap anthem "Survival," which injects the listener with martial beats and a pre-game pep talk worth hearing. "Asshole" takes the decidedly low road to destruction, slapping girls "off the mechanical bull, at a tractor pull" while using controversy to make the front page, then offering the idea that he's "white America's mirror, so don't feel awkward or weird," because there's no sense in leaving the sewer if you don't crawl out enlightened. Love it or hate it, nourishing his same old murder fantasies is what drives Eminem to make the vital music found here, and yet there's room for polished and clever frivolity on the album. The grand "Love Game" with Kendrick Lamar whips a Wayne Fontana "Game of Love"-sample into a thrilling swagger cut, while "So Far…" re-edits Joe Walsh's "Life's Been Good" so the Madden and MP3 generation can also understand the sweet irony of mansions filled with Kool-Aid-stained couches. Silly, manipulated voices and all, "The Monster" with Rihanna offers insight with its "I get along with the voices inside my head" attitude, then "Headlights" ups the game and offers mom an apology, referencing his earlier hit "Cleaning Out My Closet" and explaining it as an angry and irresponsible moment. Funny thing is, most of the best moments on MM LP2 are just as angry, and just as irresponsible, but like "Closet," this is the tortured soul and self-reliance ninja known as Eminem at his very best. © David Jeffries /TiVo
CD£8.99

Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 1, 2009 | Aftermath

Eminem placed himself in exile shortly after Encore wound down, a seclusion initially designed as creative down-time but which soon descended into darkness fueled by another failed marriage to his wife Kim and the death of his best friend Proof, culminating in years of drug addiction. Em none too subtly refers to that addiction with the title of Relapse, his first album in five years, but that relapse also refers to Marshall Mathers reviving Slim Shady and returning to rap. Relapse is designed to grab attention, to stand as evidence that Eminem remains a musical force and, of course, a provocateur spinning out violent fantasies and baiting celebrities, occasionally merging the two as when he needles one-time girlfriend Mariah Carey and her new husband Nick Cannon. Strive as he might to make an impact in the world at large -- and succeeding in many respects -- Relapse is the sound of severe isolation, the product of too many years of Eminem playing king in his castle in a dilapidated Detroit, subsisting on pills, nachos, torture porn, and E! Daily News. As he sifted through junk culture, he also tweaked his rhyming, crafting an elongated elastic flow that contrasts startlingly with Dr. Dre's intensified beats, ominous magnifications of his thud-and-stutter signature. Musically, this is white-hot, dense, and dramatic not just in the production but in Eminem's delivery; he stammers and slides, slipping into an accent that resembles Paul Rudd's Rastafarian leprechaun from I Love You Man and then back again. His flow is so good, his wordplay so sharp, it seems churlish to wish that he addressed something other than his long-standing obsessions and demons. True, he spends a fair amount of the album exorcising his addiction -- smartly tying it to his never-abating mother issues on "My Mom" -- but most of Relapse finds Eminem rhyming twitchily about his old standbys: homosexuals, starlets, and violent fantasies, weaving all of them together on "Same Song and Dance" where he abducts and murders Lindsay Lohan, suggesting more than a passing familiarity with I Know Who Killed Me. The many, many references to Kim Kardashian's big ass and minutely detailed sadism can get a wee bit tiring, Relapse isn't really about what Eminem says, it's about how he says it. He's emerged from his exile musically re-energized and the best way to illustrate that is to go through the same old song and dance again, the familiarity of the words drawing focus on his insane, inspired flow and Dre's production. That might not quite make Relapse culturally relevant -- recycled Christopher Reeve jokes aren't exactly fresh -- but it is musically vital, which is all Eminem really needs to be at this point. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
CD£14.99

Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 1, 2009 | Aftermath

Eminem placed himself in exile shortly after Encore wound down, a seclusion initially designed as creative down-time but which soon descended into darkness fueled by another failed marriage to his wife Kim and the death of his best friend Proof, culminating in years of drug addiction. Em none too subtly refers to that addiction with the title of Relapse, his first album in five years, but that relapse also refers to Marshall Mathers reviving Slim Shady and returning to rap. Relapse is designed to grab attention, to stand as evidence that Eminem remains a musical force and, of course, a provocateur spinning out violent fantasies and baiting celebrities, occasionally merging the two as when he needles one-time girlfriend Mariah Carey and her new husband Nick Cannon. Strive as he might to make an impact in the world at large -- and succeeding in many respects -- Relapse is the sound of severe isolation, the product of too many years of Eminem playing king in his castle in a dilapidated Detroit, subsisting on pills, nachos, torture porn, and E! Daily News. As he sifted through junk culture, he also tweaked his rhyming, crafting an elongated elastic flow that contrasts startlingly with Dr. Dre's intensified beats, ominous magnifications of his thud-and-stutter signature. Musically, this is white-hot, dense, and dramatic not just in the production but in Eminem's delivery; he stammers and slides, slipping into an accent that resembles Paul Rudd's Rastafarian leprechaun from I Love You Man and then back again. His flow is so good, his wordplay so sharp, it seems churlish to wish that he addressed something other than his long-standing obsessions and demons. True, he spends a fair amount of the album exorcising his addiction -- smartly tying it to his never-abating mother issues on "My Mom" -- but most of Relapse finds Eminem rhyming twitchily about his old standbys: homosexuals, starlets, and violent fantasies, weaving all of them together on "Same Song and Dance" where he abducts and murders Lindsay Lohan, suggesting more than a passing familiarity with I Know Who Killed Me. The many, many references to Kim Kardashian's big ass and minutely detailed sadism can get a wee bit tiring, Relapse isn't really about what Eminem says, it's about how he says it. He's emerged from his exile musically re-energized and the best way to illustrate that is to go through the same old song and dance again, the familiarity of the words drawing focus on his insane, inspired flow and Dre's production. That might not quite make Relapse culturally relevant -- recycled Christopher Reeve jokes aren't exactly fresh -- but it is musically vital, which is all Eminem really needs to be at this point. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
CD£8.99

Hip-Hop/Rap - Released December 15, 2017 | Aftermath Records

Booklet
Remaining relevant fifteen years after reaching the top of the pyramid is not an easy feat… Now 45 years old, Eminem is well aware that he’s not the king of hip-hop anymore, but he remains particularly impressive when doing what he does best: Eminem! Four years after The Marshall Mathers LP 2, the rapper concludes his Re trilogy with Revival, following Relapse (2009) and Recovery (2010). Produced by his faithful duo made up of Dr. Dre and Rick Rubin, Eminem unleashes his sharp punchlines, directed both against himself and the President of the United States. A little introspection, social analysis and political criticism: his flow, still agile and overly powerful, hits the nail right on the head. Most importantly, Eminem doesn’t try to sound young, and doesn’t try to ride the current trends. Eminem even seems to distance himself more and more from the fundamentals of rap. Pop-rock hints, which have always been present in his previous works, are more prominent than ever. Like on In Your Head, for which he sampled The Cranberries’ famous Zombie… Finally, in terms of featuring artists, he obviously pulled out his cheque book, as well as his address book, inviting Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, Alicia Keys and Pink − an impressive list of heavyweights! © CM/Qobuz
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released November 12, 1996 | WEB Entertainment

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