Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP

I have always been a firm believer that rap is actually spelt with a silent "C", so I was little reluctant to get a copy of the Marshall Mathers LP. However, he does seem to have a rather high profile at the moment so I decided to bow to popular demand and give it a go. An interesting fact to start off with for those not familiar with Eminem, his name is actually derived from the initials of his real name, Marshall Mathers, (M&M), and is nothing to do with his love of sugar coated chocolate peanuts. The lyrical value of most rap records I have heard in the past cause me to believe that the average rapper must have hit an unfeasibly large amount of branches when falling from the top of the stupid tree. Eminem is however on a slightly higher plain. When he is not rapping about oral pleasure (by far his favourite subject) he devotes the remainder of his time to rapping about his contemporaries, his hatred of boy bands and Britney Spears and although hardly profound, it is quite listenable, and rather amusing at times. The album starts with a public service announcement insulting the listener for buying the record. He then gets underway with "Kill You", which boils down to "Don’t mess with Shady, or He’ll Kill", Even if he was serious, I’m not scared. Perhaps the most notable track on the album is "Stan". The story of a mentally deranged fan, Stan, is told in the form of a number of letters. The first letters from Stan to Eminem tell of Stan’s infatuation with Eminem, and his disappointment that Eminem has not responded to any of his letters. The last letter from Stan, in the form of a cassette made in his car, with his girlfriend gagged in the trunk just before they drove off a bridge, is more disturbing. The final letter, Eminem’s response, although too late, contains a rather sensible reply that seems to have been written by Claire Raynor rather than the real Slim Shady. "Criminal" contains minimal music content, a basic drum beat, a simple bass line and uncomplicated keyboards, but is nonetheless a damn good song with interesting lyrics based on the premise that every time he writes a rhyme, some people think it’s a crime. The closing track, "The Kids", appears to have been inspired by Stan, Kyle, Kenny, Cartman and Mr. Mackey and tells the important morale message that "Drugs are bad, M’Kay". Whilst getting over this important message the song also caused me to produce a few rye smiles, as well as giving me a very good description of a G-String. Maybe it’s hard for modern pop stars to appear to be hard and be original. There’s nothing new about throwing TV’s out of hotel windows or smashing and burning your equipment, even biting the heads of chickens is old hat, so what can the new breed do to attempt to shock us. The latest craze seems to just be peppering the offensive lyrics with the rudest profanities they can think off. In my opinion it doesn’t shock, it just makes it awkward to play the album when the kids are around. The humour and timing in the Eminem’s lyrics is perhaps what sets him apart from many of the other rappers around at the moment. All though the lyrics are designed to shock the music itself is very tame compared to what previous generations have come up with, so Eminem may think he’s hard, but I reckon Ozzy could have him, no problem.