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ZZ Top
Artist: Eminem
Label: Interscope Records
Genre: Hip Hop/Rap
Release: Jan 2002   My Rating: 0
Duration: 149:20
Summary: Any lingering doubts as to the depth of Eminem's skills or his potential for raw yet compelling honesty are dispelled on "The Eminem Show"'s first track. Armed with a quicksilver flow and a thundering rhythm track (the record was exec produced by longtime mentor and partner Dr. Dre), "White America" finds Eminem ferociously mauling the hand that feeds him, lambasting his critics, the industry, and the racism that, in many ways, helped make Marshall Mathers more than just another rapper. "Let's do the math," Em sneers, "If I was black I would have sold half/ I could be one of your kids/ Little Eric looks just like this." After the bombast of "The Marshall Mathers LP" and Eminem's well-noted use of sexual epithets, this kind of material is made more controversial because it actually rings true. From a brutal retort to his long-estranged and equally troubled mother ("Cleaning Out My Closets") to a surprisingly tender ode to his child ("Hailie's Song"), Eminem examines his life, loves, arrests, addictions, failures, and successes with surprising insight, making this a funk-drenched hip-hop confessional well worth the hype. "--Amy Linden"


Artist: Eminem
Label: Aftermath
Genre: Rap
Release: Jan 2004   My Rating: 0
Duration: 73:55
Summary: Eminem's fourth album offers few surprises, but still enough pleasures to carry the day. As evinced by Em's pre-election, pro-voting "Mosh," this is not exactly the same Eminem who seemingly crapped on anything and everything. "Encore" finds a surprisingly mature Eminem waxing reflective about his battle with Benzino ("Like Toy Soldiers") rather than unloading both barrels. However, it's not all elder statesmanship: "Puke" goes after his ex-wife Kim with incredible scorn, and "Big Weenie" showcases the familiar juvenile humor that made him famous. If "Encore" has a clear weakness, it's the bland production--the same plodding sound that he and Dr. Dre cooked up on the previous three albums. The exotic flavor of "Ass Like That" catches the ear, but many others run off the same monotonous minor-key melodies and tempos. Of course, people buy Eminem albums to hear him spit first and foremost, and in that regard few fans will be disappointed by "Encore"; it'd just be nice to see him switch up his sound at some point. "--Oliver Wang"


Artist: Eminem
Label: Interscope Records
Genre: Rap
Release: Jan 2000   My Rating: 0
Duration: 74:38
Summary: Will the real Slim Shady please stand up? On Eminem's sophomore album, he can't decide who he wants to be: the deranged pseudo-psycho of the "Slim Shady LP", or a nice guy who just likes to rhyme about slicing and dicing his girlfriend ("Kim"). Of course, according to Eminem, he's just kidding. He refuses to take responsibility for the misogynistic, homophobic bile he spews, whining that he's the victim of people who don't get his unique sense of humor. It's good old America's fault if the kids aren't alright (Eminem blames bad parenting), and he's just capitalizing on Uncle Sam's dark side. On the "Marshall Mathers LP", he's ambivalent about his fame, angry at his life, pissed off that people take him seriously, and fightin' mad at boy bands--and a lot of other white people. But the blue-eyed brat is acutely aware of his status as rap's resident alien: he has the most offensive mouth running, but never uses the "N" word. He gives lyrical love to tragic (black) legends like Tupac and Biggie while dissing white rappers hard. Even sitting duck Puffy gets the kid-gloves treatment. Of course, Eminem is an interesting, witty rapper, and there's some nice production on this CD, courtesy of Dr. Dre and others. But the hatred in Eminem's rhymes makes the album rotten at its core. And his protests that Slim Shady is just a persona become less convincing with each arrest. Then again, Eminem's got it hard: he's rich, famous, white, and male. "--Lizz Mendez Berry"


Artist: Eminem
Label: Interscope Records
Genre: Hip Hop/Rap
Release: Jan 1999   My Rating: 0
Duration: 58:29
Summary: Will the real Slim Shady please stand up? On Eminem's sophomore album, he can't decide who he wants to be: the deranged pseudo-psycho of the "Slim Shady LP", or a nice guy who just likes to rhyme about slicing and dicing his girlfriend ("Kim"). Of course, according to Eminem, he's just kidding. He refuses to take responsibility for the misogynistic, homophobic bile he spews, whining that he's the victim of people who don't get his unique sense of humor. It's good old America's fault if the kids aren't alright (Eminem blames bad parenting), and he's just capitalizing on Uncle Sam's dark side. On the "Marshall Mathers LP", he's ambivalent about his fame, angry at his life, pissed off that people take him seriously, and fightin' mad at boy bands--and a lot of other white people. But the blue-eyed brat is acutely aware of his status as rap's resident alien: he has the most offensive mouth running, but never uses the "N" word. He gives lyrical love to tragic (black) legends like Tupac and Biggie while dissing white rappers hard. Even sitting duck Puffy gets the kid-gloves treatment. Of course, Eminem is an interesting, witty rapper, and there's some nice production on this CD, courtesy of Dr. Dre and others. But the hatred in Eminem's rhymes makes the album rotten at its core. And his protests that Slim Shady is just a persona become less convincing with each arrest. Then again, Eminem's got it hard: he's rich, famous, white, and male. "--Lizz Mendez Berry"