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635 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Doing this on Stuido Leaks, so there are a couple context things that might not make sense such as references to other posters, etc.  Everything should be clear though. First five are here.  Gonna get called a hater by some, but I think it's pretty objective :shrugs:

grab your monopoly boards

Slim Shady LP

First of all, a note on my ratings: I tend to rate things low. My ratings of Eminem's and Kanye West's albums in the other thread were an attempt to be relatively comparable to the other posters. By my ACTUAL rating system, no album including Illmatic would actually be a perfect 10.0. So keep that in mind before people get up in arms about Em's albums being 'underrated.'

My Name Is:

It's not lost on my how incredibly ballsy it was to release this as a single. White rappers in the upper rungs of the mainstream were a preposterously high-risk commodity, and while this song was always destined to be a commercial juggernaut (with the pop culture references, shock value, and most importantly the Dr. Dre co-sign), but it ran the risk of casting Eminem as a gimmick. The safer choice would have been to push a mid-charting single with a reasonably catchy hook that showcased a capable emcee, but that's never been Eminem as an artist. In any event, this did what it was supposed to do, especially when it became apparent that Eminem knew how to rap and wasn't making one-off gimmick singles. The song has endless quotables in the tone it's going for, and while it's not really my thing, it's supposed to serve as an introduction to a shock rapper AND get spins on MTV, and I think he toed that line pretty well. The "thanks for the support, asshole" line is both hilarious and casts him as an effective anti-hero. That said, the song definitely drags in the third verse and is pretty sophomoric in hindsight. While the rapping isn't as technically good as most of the other songs on here, it's more deliberately crafted and ultimately memorable. 7.5/10

Guilty Conscience

First of all, the framing of this song couldn't have been more awkwardly framed. Think "22 Twos" times a million. It just…it's so incredibly fucking awful, I want to kill myself while listening to it. This seems like an overreaction, but the song kinda hinges on the format. Now, it should be noted that this is one of the best Dr. Dre performances ever. While the song's called Guilty Conscience, it should really be Bad Influence or something, seeing as there aren't really ethical questions, Em is just telling the character the worse possible thing, lol. Also, they're such EASY situations to write about. I'm not trying to be over-critical here, but I know this sounds heretical: the first two verses really, really bore me. Nevertheless, the third verse works a lot better, especially when Em's taunting Dre. Then Dre's reversal works well. It's a good concept that was almost a total failure, but it's salvaged. 7/10

Brain Damage

Now, WPG is gonna admit that this is a great examples of multis sounding (mostly) natural and not detracting from the narrative or lyricism. It's a good origin story for the Slim Shady character. It's pretty tightly written on a line-by-line basis, but might be a little sprawling in a broader sense. I can't decide if I love the beat or if I'm indifferent to it. If this song comes on shuffle it's kind of a tossup as to whether or not it's going to hold my attention, but when i'm in the mood for it there isn't a lot to criticize. 7/10

If I Had

When Eminem's talking on the intro, I picture a cringe-inducing wigger in a do-rag trying to bum cigarettes in exchange for 'wisdom' he's dispensing. It's pretty impressive that the song turns around and ends up being classic. My friends, at least the ones who don't write, are usually surprised that I like this song because they think the repetitive phrasing should detract from the song's value. In reality, the opposite is true - the fact that he tied one hand behind his back on the first half of every bar and listed a bunch of things that are thematically relevant, don't sound forced, AND RHYME is just great to me. Add on the fact that it's emotionally resonant and it's just a classic. Sidenote - Dre's clout can't be overlooked, as Em wouldn't have been put on or taken seriously without him, but this is the best beat on the album. 10/10

'97 Bonnie and Clyde

This is cheap and gimmicky. Sorry. I know it's supposed to make me uncomfortable, but it just makes me want the song to be over. The premise is okay, but the second verse is literally the narrative standing still and the song falling apart. Wouldn't it be cool to hear a rapper who wants to kill his ex-wife explain those emotions to his daughter in a sanitized way? That's a GREAT song. This song is flat, obvious and pandering. It tries to be shocking at the expense of being compelling and isn't even really that shocking. It's not even 'just there' like some songs are, it drags down the album. It's not made without any creative thought, but it's a throwaway that never should have left the cutting room floor. 4.5/10

Role Model

Okay, this is what he should be doing on all the non-personal songs. He's angry, witty, shocking, dancing over the beat and in total control. Other than the 'sherbet' bar, I don't have a single complaint about this song. 9.5/10

My Fault

Jesus fuck. This song shouldn't work on any level, but it does because Em just raps the first verse (and to a lesser extent, the other two) so well. It's tight, rhymes well and don't really have any extraneous bars, or even words. I'd like to think this song is at least a little self-referential and ironic…I hope. The hook is fucking abhorrently awful, which keeps this song from being anything approaching great. The first verse is considerably better than the other two, but it's still good to have on here in some form. 6.5/10

Cum On Everybody

Is this song mocking itself or not? If it is, it's really good. If not, it still works. It shows he's at his best when not attempting any ambitions premise or concept. There's really nothing to analyze or stick with you, but it's capable and enjoyable. 7/10

Rock Bottom

Yeah, this is pretty great. The multis in the first verse actually detract from the emotional impact slightly on a couple of bars, but it's not big enough to really hinder the song. The funny thing about hearing the songs outside of the slim shady persona is that man…he sounds like a wigger, doesn't he? I don't say that to criticize him, either - I think he deserves all the credit in the world for sounding like he's trying to be someone he's not and still coming off as incredibly honest. I'm gonna give this the same score, but to be clear, I have it a notch behind If I Had. 10/10

Just Don't Give A Fuck

Am I gonna get run off the board if I say this song isn't really that enjoyable to me on any level? The beat is just noise, the hook is a caricature of itself to the point of hilarity and the verses are pedestrian versions of the more well-developed Slim Shady we see on Role Model. I guess this is the kind of thing you put on your album when you're making it 20 tracks if it's served you well in the past. I just can't really find much here. 5/10

As The World Turns

At this point in the album (only 46 minutes in - this is going to be a problem) the record feels like it's dragging a bit. Basically, I want either this OR Brain Damage on the album. Take your pick. They're the same thing for all intents and purposes. The first four bars of the second verse are enough to give this the edge to me. 7/10

I'm Shady

The first four bars of the second verse are evidence that writing airtight songs in the Slim Shady persona is unusual. That said, other than that section, this is one of my favorite things Eminem's ever done. It's also probably the best hook (derivative as it may be) on the album. I think this song is to me what Eminem was throughout the entirety of his first two albums for most people. 9/10

Bad Meets Evil

Holy SHIT are these two bad now. Like, if you listen to this song then the record they did together (WHICH HAS THE SAME NAME), it's like you're listening to completely different artists. Remember how the other collab track on this album had a poor framing device? This one works perfectly. I have nothing negative to say about this. 9.5/10

Still Don't Give A Fuck

I wish the entire song (or album, if we're being idealistic) was as good as the first verse. I kind of lose interest after that, and the hook is once again pretty 'I'm-an-angsty-14-year-old' but it kind of works. It just feels like he latches onto a certain mood for some of these songs then feels obligated to finish the track. 8/10

This averages out to 7.6, which I would round down to 7.5 because of the inane skits, bizarrely long outros and general feeling of heaviness and unnecessary length. Still, an impressive debut that showed a lot of skill.


635 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Marshall Mathers LP

Kill You: No one can deny the fact that Dre, Em and the Bass Brothers found a sound that was reasonably unique and suited Marshall very well. The lilty piano is in sharp contrast to the preposterously gratuitous content. Obviously, the mic skills and multis on display here are phenomenal and don't feel forced at all (like they would in the years to come on Relapse). Now, a lot of MMLP is essentially shock rap focused on fabricated violence and pop culture references, but at its best it's done with a backdrop of self awareness and an acute sense of Eminem's place in pop culture and the fabric of America at the time. The "Rolling Stone cover" part is honestly, honestly fucking brilliant. I think the hook serves its purpose by being as unashamedly crude as possible. The song's done about as well as any of its kind can be done. 9/10

Stan: Not many positive things can be said here that haven't been said countless times before. The Dido sample (or did she redo it for the song? I don't know) is perfect, the beat is really evocative, and the concept is pretty fantastic. People have complained that it's not written with an eye for technical skill the way Em's other best material is, but I think it's better this way than if every syllable was lined up perfectly - it's more believable. One thing - I'm not going to detract from this songs greatness, but has anyone considered that it might actually be more effective without the fourth verse? The implication would be that the obsessive fan culture has consequences that remain unseen and unheard. Either way, the song's a timeless masterpiece. 10/10

Who Knew: Remember when I said "at its best" in my review of Kill You? I think this is the song that best exemplifies Em using his place atop pop culture to critique America. There are a few lines that pull down the song (the eyeballs line comes to mind ) but overall it's an album highlight and I feel like it's one of the more under appreciated Eminem songs. I actually really like the mixing in this song as well, it avoids sounding overproduced. 9/10

The Way I Am: Okay, here's where people are going to start to hate me. This song's always felt horribly contrived to me. This song was done in that auxiliary set of sessions for the album that were designed to come up with a first single, and this was supposedly out of the frustration he was feeling at the label, his situation with his newfound fame, and it feels pathetically forced and whiny. I'm not saying it's a bad song necessarily, but it ultimately falls flat. Basing songs entirely on emotion is one of the riskiest approaches in music, and it has disastrous consequences if it's done wrong. This song isn't a disaster, but its emotion works against itself. It could have been better with more self-awareness: it's too easy to discount all these rage-inducing problems as minor annoyances and poke holes in Em's argument. 7/10

The Real Slim Shady: This beat makes me want to roll up my windows to avoid being taken into custody as a possible pedophile. No but really…it's incredibly corny. Eminem's performance isn't bad at all - in fact, the third verse is exceptionally good. It's a kitschy appeal to pop sensibilities but it's very well executed. It's miles ahead of My Name Is. However, this leads to one of my arguments against this album's case for being a classic: it's dated itself through all the disposable pop culture references. Still, it's no Just Lose It. 7/10

Remember Me?: RBX is a little much, lol. Still, this is one of my personal favorite songs on the album. Sticky's verse is just absolutely flawless. Em's is as well, I just have to rewind Sticky three or four times before I get to it. I don't think we need much analysis on this, do we? RBX shouldn't have been on the song, I would have liked it to be four verses with Em and Sticky going back and forth. 8/10

I'm Back: Remember what I said about the best part of this album being the self awareness? Yeah, this isn't what i was talking about. The beat is serviceable. The rhymes are good. The flow is good. Em doesn't have any awful lines like those that would plague his post-8 Mile career. But that's the extent of the song's redeeming qualities, at least in my eyes. The song goes absolutely no where. He doesn't rap about anything or say anything that resonates on any level. The "whatever you say's wrong/whatever I say's right" bit is the laziest possible attempt to capitalize on his niche in pop culture. And the celebrity bashing and shock rap here isn't used to be compelling, it's used as a crutch. 6.5/10

Marshall Mathers: So the other day my friend and I were talking about the greatest diss song rappers of all time, and we agreed that they're Eminem and Joe Budden. We shared the feeling that we'd love to see Eminem engage a good lyricist in a battle, because The Sauce, Nail In The Coffin etc are all so fantastic. But let's look at this track. Nevermind ICP, Eminem is dissing N Sync, New Kids on The Block, LFO, Britney Spears and Vanilla Ice. Talk about lazy. Talk about preaching to the choir. Like oh, you don't value those people as artists? Cool Marshall, you're pushing a lot of buttons there. The song just seems horrifically juvenile and, again, lazy. And the lyrics to patch parts of the song together - the dog part, etc - are just surface level and forgettable. Now, when he starts rapping about the effects of his fame, he saves the song. This is the mood that he should use to address these subjects, not The Way I Am. 7/10

Drug Ballad: This song accomplishes what it sets out to do very well. The technical aspects of the verses combined with the witticisms and the way Em talks about his drugged out periods as a generational rite of passage are all album highlights. He certainly could have delved deeper into the psychological aspects of what he's doing, as again, the song can feel juvenile at points. Overall though this is a very good album cut. 8/10

Amityville: Okay, Bizarre is awful. There's no reason for him to be on here at all. I guess this song is pretty well executed, but it screams filler up and down. The switch in Em's delivery and intensity is necessary to carry the song, and to his credit there is certainly some merit to the record. Still, I can't find a compelling reason to keep it on the tracklist at all. 6/10

Bitch Please II: The beat on here is fucking fantastic. Snoop Dogg's verse is really a detractor from the song, and I'm not really crazy about Nate's hook. That said, Dre, Xzibit and Eminem all deliver capable verses. Actually, Em's verse is more than capable - it elevates the song from a passable posse cut to something that earns its place on a very good album. 7/10

Kim: This song isn't brilliant; it's not even really good. Yeah, he's mad at his wife. He's killing her. He's shouting. If anyone else did this, it would be written off as a gimmick. 5/10

Under The Influence: The hook isn't ironically brilliant, it just sucks. It's actually remarkable to me that more people haven't picked up on the fact that the B side of this album has become so overrated in light of the A side. Em's verse is reasonably good for what it is, and all the others range from forgettable to just…bad. 5.5/10

Criminal: While this song is essentially rapping just for the sake of rapping, it's done very well. It'd be a shame to not mention the fact that the third verse is absolutely brilliant from a phonetic standpoint. When the song's over, you're not really left with anything but a sense of how impressive the rhyme schemes were, but they're SO good that it's still an essential song. 8/10

So the scores for the tracks average out to 7.35, which sounds about right for the album as a whole. Again, that's probably a slightly better score than it seems, because I tend to rate things lower than most people. Obviously, the album hasn't aged well in my eyes. It's really, really dated and there are lots of tracks that I'd frankly be embarrassed to listen to in my car with the windows down. That said, the technical skill on the album is undeniable and the first three tracks are brilliant. It's an important listen for any hip hop fan, both in terms of its commercial impact and Em's technical mastery. It's a good album, don't get me wrong - it's just not a classic in my eyes by any stretch of the imagination. Rounded up to 7.4.


635 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
The Eminem Show

White America

The best parts of The Marshall Mathers LP are in front of a backdrop of self-aware societal commentary (or at least a taunting of that society). White America is basically that feeling on steroids. When the song starts, you get the feeling that you're in for a long, dense listen - in the best way possible. The fact that Eminem, for the first time a megastar with a diamond album to his name, is openly riffing about how much less notable he would be if he happened to be black is fantastically rich. You know how we complain about the constant shouting on Recovery? He's almost yelling here (as he will a few times on the album), but it's done with great lyricism and not without changes in inflection. Just a fantastic, fantastic introduction that contextualizes the album in terms of Eminem's relevancy without dating it. What holds it back from being perfect is the pseudo-fourth verse, which brings it into areas of contrived angst, but by that point it's too late to derail the song to any serious degree. 9/10


I've never been able to get why Em went for the tone he did on this song. I guess it's playing off the Without Me video? Eminem in 2002 was on top of his game - for the most part he'd exchanged the gimmickry for technical ability, wit and pretty solid lyricism. Consequently, a wholly inconsequential song like this one manages to be entertaining despite not really going anywhere. It's kind of a watered down collection of lyrics that were too serious for Without Me and not vital enough for White America. It's also held back by a beat that no one seems to admit is exceptionally pedestrian. (Does anyone else think that even though Dre only does three beats on the album, he's responsible for the two worst instrumentals?) 7/10

Cleaning Out My Closet

Am I alone in thinking this is a chore to listen to? Probably. Maybe it's that it became overplayed, I don't know. In any event, there's something about this song that makes it less than the sum of its parts. Now, that's mostly a preference thing and I recognize that the song is objectively very good. I'd say the verses get progressively more interesting, which contributes to the sense of length and heaviness. I've heard this song described as 'weirdly Freudian,' which is both probably true and definitely more interesting than what the song claims to be. The song was obviously intended as an inconsequential criticism of his mom, it plays like a visible (or audible) scar on a public figure's psyche. (A production note: I don't really factor this in because it's an incredibly minute detail, but would any of you production aficionados agree that the mixing of the beat is bizarre?) 9/10

Square Dance

This is like a more interesting, more inspired version of Business (rendering the earlier track even more irrelevant). The song suffers for Em doing something he sometimes does when he's trying to be intelligent and mature - he makes elementary statements with great conviction. The 'no friend of Bush' line always makes me cringe, as does 'stand and fight for the right to say something you might not like.' While this and the awkward flow in the first half of the second verse bother me sometimes, this song has SO much working for it that it comes out ahead. The notion that 9/11 would be a catalyst for unwanted wars is incredibly astute for someone who has 'Drips' a few tracks later. Also, it's pretty cool to hear the biggest rapper in the world at the time dissing someone who at one time was a respected…uh, lyricist. Sadly, the third verse is nowhere near as interesting or entertaining as the first two. It's an overly-long, imperfect mess that nevertheless is endlessly entertaining. 8/10


This song is really well-written during the verses. It's angry, it's insightful, it's urgent, and a bunch of other good things. That said, the hook (and thesis of the song) seem sooooooo disingenuously indignant to me. I can't explain how unbearably corny this shit is to me, but the verses are good enough that the song is still an essential listen. If nothing else, it's exceptional for the context it provides for the next song. 8/10

Say Goodbye Hollywood

This is the best thing Eminem has ever done or ever will do. It's fucking brilliant on every level. First of all, in context of the album (specifically being right after Soldier, which I choose to believe was very deliberate) it's brilliant as a reaction to the FALLOUT of Em's fame. The beat and hook move the song, and the verses are flawless down to a T. People might misunderstand my distaste for rappers and fans fixating on multis: I dislike anything other than the lyrics becoming the most noticeable thing about a verse. In this case, the rhyme schemes are mind-numbingly perfect, but not a SINGLE line would be awkward out of context. For anyone who thinks I'm an Eminem 'hater': I can't wrap my head around how good this song is. "Imagine going from being a no one to seeing everything blow up and all you did was just grow up emceeing" is just…wow. And following it with "it's fucking crazy" is a fantastic touch, showing that in 2002, while rap came effortlessly to him, nothing else did. Genius. 10/10


I guess if some divine being decreed that Drips HAD to be on the album, they might as well put it after Say Goodbye Hollywood, since SGH makes everything else look worse and this song is a lost cause. This is probably the first album where Eminem is ACTUALLY making beats (as opposed to outsourcing the actual board work) and I think Eminem is actually better over his own beats than Dre's. That said, this is Eminem doing a cheap rendition of the signature turn-of-the-century Dre sound. This just…sucks, lol. I do love the signature Eminem filter style of the hook, but that's it. This song would have been fantastically comical if it came directly after Superman, but there are very few redeeming qualities here. Now, Em's verse isn't BAD. In 2012, he would sound like he was rapping a 12 year old's lyrics on a song with this concept, but here he's following a witty, distorted line of logic. So the song does have that going for it, but the reasonably lame instrumental, awful premise and disgusting (and disgustingly bad) Obie Trice verse make this entirely expendable. 3.5/10

Without Me

Without a doubt the best Eminem lead single. It knows what it is - a quirky song that will get radio play and dance around the idea of Eminem as a too-hot-for-TV commodity without actually being offensive. If nothing else, it gets credit for how unique it sounds and feels - it's literally impossible to imagine any other rapper on this song. He's basically justifying his huge, young fanbase choosing to idolize him - and they aren't great justifications, but that's kind of the point. In trivializing his own appeal, Eminem becomes even MORE appealing to discerning listeners. That, and the song is endlessly entertaining and replayable. 8.5/10

Sing for the Moment

Great, great song. Good sample (can you even call it a sample? It's just a hip hop interpretation of Dream On - the beat IS that song), flawless verses. Yeah, that's the second song I'm describing as having 'flawless' verses and I think I'm right - there's no category or angle where they fall short. This is the most inherently interesting song on the record, but it's executed so perfectly that there's really nothing to analyze. 10/10


This song is just really, really disappointing to me. Em's shown on this album to be an interesting, self aware artist, but here he seems to be embracing a standpoint that's more caricature than honest representation of himself. It doesn't even work as an accidentally interesting character study like Cleaning Out My Closet does, because it's such a disservice to the subject matter that it seems incredibly flat. The hook is exceptionally inane as well, not to mention the laughably awful bridge. 5/10

Hailie's Song

Hi Koolo . This song is fantastic. The singing portion isn't executed that well, but that's the point, again. This is so much more honest than the previous track that it bears pausing the record to regain your composure. He manages to take the sentiments of Soldier that I scoff at and flip them in a way that makes me empathize with him. The 'my insecurities could eat me alive' line should be put on his tombstone. The rapped verse is tremendous. 9.5/10

When The Music Stops

Very good Eminem verse on the most interesting part of the instrumental. Turn it off after that. 6/10

Say What You Say

Jesus Christ, does this beat sound unfinished or what? This sounds like a song Em would do with Dre as a favor. It's basically Dre getting mad about Jermaine Dupri's interview and wanting to put out a song to re-establish his name three years after 2001 dropped. The Eminem verses are laughably generic…but I almost don't blame him. What's he going to do on here? Fuck me, this is the most inconsequential and least entertaining thing I can imagine. The hook is sooooooo hilariously awful, there's NOTHING good about this in any sense except the 'when I was little' bars from Em. It doesn't help that Dre sounds like he's on painkillers. Fuck me, I'm gonna go ahead and delete this from itunes after WAY too long in there. 2.5/10

Till I Collapse

This is an absolute gem. Everything about it looks on paper as if it should be the corniest thing ever done, but it's another moment where the album approaches perfection. Again, there's nothing to discuss, at least in terms of critical analysis - even when Em starts rambling you listen because it's the most important thing in the world at the time. The bars at the beginning of the second verse are incredibly tragic when you listen to them now. 10/10

My Dad's Gone Crazy

I think everyone knows how every review of this song is supposed to go - the first two verses are kinda just there, while the third is exceptional. I actually think the song is better than almost anyone else does. All the first two verses have to do to make the song's point is be central casting versions of Eminem's music to this point in his career, and they're enjoyable at that. While I don't enjoy the hook sonically, the notion that Eminem's in on the joke and knows the appeal of him is that he really is everything his detractors say about him (at least in 2002). The third verse (with that brilliant, brilliant last bar) seals the song as a classic. 9.5/10

I'm rounding the score all the way up to 8.4 because two AWFUL songs shouldn't have as much say in the final tally on a 15 song album as all the classic songs do. If you cut four songs from the album, you're looking at a 9.1, so I want to reflect that the album is better than these scores average out to, which is barely over 8. Overall, a great album - a classic, even.


635 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
(Straight From The Lab leaks


The song's pretty sonically pleasing, but the verses probably should have been half as long as they are. It's a good song to taunt rappers who are clearly inferior. The Ja Rule jabs are particularly good. The most resonating parts of the song are the completely overlooked irony of a post-GRODT Eminem lamenting the loss of Jam Master Jay and the even BIGGER irony of calling out Ja Rule's support system for not 'waking him up' and making Ja stop taking pills. It's a clear-headed Em asserting his place in rap despite his new detractors, and with the backdrop of the whole race fiasco as context, it works on just about every level. The piano and stuttering drum loop are foreboding and pretty sharp. It might be even more effective than the usual cartoonish hip hop diss songs because, with the possible exception of Ja Rule fucking a transvestite stylist, everything here is probably true. The extra dimension of combativeness is the fact that while Em sounds like he's on autopilot, he's rapping on a level that Benzino and Ja Rule simply couldn't manage, even in their primes. Now, where Like Toy Soldiers is a comment on post-Big and Pac rap beef, Bully is a microcosm. The second verse expresses Em's concern about these feuds getting out of hand, but it's sandwiched between posturing and threats. So no, most rappers aren't dumb enough to miss the potential implications of their beefs, but they're also not smart or level-headed enough to pull back and remove themselves. 8/10


So, I think the two best diss track rappers of all time are Joe Budden and Eminem. As biting as songs like Nail In The Coffin, Girls, The Sauce and Bully are, this might be my favorite from Em. I've criticized Eminem a LOT in the past for his insistence on picking on the easiest targets in the world. Now, despite the fact that Canibus has a pretty lackluster catalog, lots of hip hop fans, including (actually, especially) Eminem fans held Canibus as a beacon of, uh, 'lyrical' 'underground' hip hop. Eminem saw him for what he really is - a pedantic loser who thinks he's at least twice as smart as he is and takes himself FAR too seriously. Instead of affording Canibus the respect that he craved and thought he deserved, Em made the whole feud a joke. Can-i-bitch is literally everything an Eminem song should be - hilarious, technically flashy, biting and witty. It's even self-deprecating ("this guy's like a battered wife/he's like kim! he keeps coming back for more!"). "Tell me 'bout the sun, rain, moon and stars!/Intergalactical metaphors from mars!" and other bars where he's begging Canibus to respond are made even funnier by the fact that you KNOW Canibus was listening to this song in his underground bunker and crying his eyes out. Dismantling a rapper while not even giving them what they want most - the feeling of being taken seriously - was pure genius, and incredibly fun in the process. I literally can't express how much I love this song. It gets bonus points for the pitch-perfect Slick Rick impression. 9.5/10

Come On In

I heard that this was included later on a D12 album but there's really no way to confirm that. Clearly, the through-line of these seven songs is rap beef, and this verse is basically a condensed version of the rest of the tracks. There's nothing wrong with the verse, but it probably belongs as a D12 song (read: it's a throwaway) because Em sounds like he's coasting, and doesn't really say anything gripping. The beat is paint-by-numbers Em, and the verses are literally cut-and-pasted from every other song D12 ever made. The hook isn't anything memorable either. There's nothing offensive here, but I think only big fans would find reason to listen to it on even a semi-consistent basis. 5.5/10

Doe Rae Me

I wish I could say more about this, but it's just supremely forgettable. Nothing to see here.


Love You More

Jesus fuck, this song is dark. It's probably one of the better things he's ever done about Kim because it acknowledges how perverse and dysfunctional relationship is. Eminem is an unremarkable producer by most conventional standards, but his production suits him exceptionally well and is instantly recognizable, flaws and all. In this case, it's an almost overwhelming dark, piano-led instrumental. Actually, the extreme tone of this is characteristic of one of the biggest flaws in Em's catalog: he seems incapable of striking middle grounds of any kind. He'll make flippant, witty, Slim Shady - style material, but it's usually devoid of any embedded commentary or honesty. On the other side of the spectrum (this one), his personal songs are usually TOO heavy. I'd love to hear songs from Em that are serious and honest without being overwhelming in the depths of all that is emo. This (along with lots of circular writing) leave a five minute song feeling tired by the time it hits the three minute mark. It's just too much in terms of emotion and not enough in terms of lyricism. It's become overrated because it's so much better than most of the material on Encore, where it was included on the bonus disc. It's a good listen, but probably not essential to the canon or anything. 7/10

Monkey See Monkey Do

This song starts off reasonably generic, but gets a little bit more interesting in the last portion. I hope this was never actually intended to be on Encore, because it's the definition of a mixtape/throwaway song. (It's obviously better than almost everything on Encore, but that's not saying much.) The beat struggles to be menacing and Em rambles about his brain, nuts, and bucks for a while. Truth be told, the whole faux-gangsta thing was pretty awful and embarrassing, even when his punches land. He also had a weird obsession with broadcasting how alike he and 50 were, which is clearly not true and incredibly forced. Still, nothing really OFFENDS here and the last four bars are fantastic. The hook is good for what it is. But in terms of artistic vision, Em's playing motherfucking checkers. 6.5/10

We As Americans

I actually think this is one of the best things Em did post-TES. This is Eminem production at its absolute best. It doesn't astound, but it feels natural and atmospheric. Most importantly, the instrumental doesn't get in the way at all. I love this song despite its shaky foundation (his indigence over not having the right to bear arms…as, you know, a felon) and I think this is a testament to just how interesting a person Em is. The whole 'president dead' bit is hilarious in how angry it is, but it's also pretty gripping in the context of the song. If this is the direction Em had gone in after 8 Mile, the world would be a better place. If anything holds the song back from being in the absolute upper echelon of his catalog, it's that there are certainly filler bars, and he sounds reasonably uninspired at points. Still, it's an essential listen and one of my personal favorite tracks from Em. 9/10

I don't think there's much reason in giving an overall score to a group of songs that was never meant to exist as a collective whole, but I think it's fair to say that Em was still making good music after 8 Mile. This makes Encore even more heartbreakingly awful.  )


Evil Deeds

The hook seems indicative of the direction of the song, but in reality I think the beat and hook are innocuous - were they on The Eminem Show there'd be no reason to assume the song would be anything but good. Unlike the poor parts of, say, Nas's career where the problems lie largely in the production, the blame here lands squarely on Eminem's shoulders. I guess the maddening thing about Encore is that the ingredients are there to have an album that's not just good, but potentially very good in the same ways The Eminem Show is good. The subject matter isn't even to blame - it's like he tried to write the most inane song possible given the topics. I guess it's fascinating as a piece of his decline, so it's more interesting than it should be. Still, a terrible disappointment. 6/10

Never Enough

This song receives mild praise from most corners, but it always comes with qualifiers: it would be filler on other albums, 50 Cent is as good or better than Em, the beat is repetitive, there needs to be another Eminem verse. I disagree. Except for the fact that 50 sounds reasonably uninspired, this is a very, very good song and the most obvious (perhaps even the ONLY) moment of total clarity for Eminem on the album. The first 1 bars or so aren't really anything to write home about, and the verse isn't brilliant - but the sentiment is, and it feels more honest than almost anything he's ever done. I've come to think he sounds apprehensive and insecure even in braggadocio on here, but I might be reading that in context of the album. It's nothing brilliant, but it works for what it is. 7.5/10

Like Toy Soldiers

I guess this song has to be good, right? I mean, it's a good premise and there's nothing obviously wrong with the beat or lyrics, at least nothing horrible. But it's just so…flat. The quality of Encore can probably be attributed to the prescription drugs along with general burnout, complacency and probably some mental/personality disorders brought on by the tremendous stress he was under. Still, most of the songs that were bad in theory were at least delivered in a polished manner, but on this track Em even SOUNDS like he's strung out on pills. Now to go one step further, if you pull yourself away from that snare and the content, listen to how lazily written the song is. The sample is pretty great, and it's a capable beat, but the execution is exceptionally poor, especially for someone who thrived on the execution of mediocre ideas earlier in his career. 6.5/10

Yellow Brick Road

First of all, this beat is literally just noise. Again, he's assuming the content will carry the song without any eye toward writing lyrically. Like, this is Eminem, right? He's either coasting on reputation or just genuinely uncaring on songs like these. The verses and hook all could have been written in a manner of minutes, especially for someone with Em's talent level. Now, there are a few compelling parts of the song: the sing-song flow on the second verse is a good choice, especially on such a long song. Second, the song is just inherently interesting because of the fire Em was under for the race matters at the time and the fact that we've actually heard relatively little of Eminem's personal origins on record. But this is the third song out of four where the finished product fails to live up to the premise of the record. I say all that to say this: the third verse is very, very gripping, but even that falls apart when he moves from the X Clan context to the actual Foolish Pride incident. I do appreciate the the apology tinted with misogyny, but I'm once again wondering what 2002 Eminem would have done with this song. 7/10


Swizz captain awesome this is some quality political commentary huh? Just garbage here, guys. The political aspects of this song are flaccid and embarrassingly elementary, but they're better than the PAINFUL first verse that ends with "rubberband man, yeah, he just snaps back." I don't think I'm being dramatic here - this song is almost unfathomably bad in light of who he was fewer than two years before recording this. In the past, his failure was often choosing to make inconsequential songs that still showed a good amount of skill. Admit it - if this was the first Eminem song you'd heard, you'd think he was an entirely unremarkable rapper. The beat could have been the kind of setting where the Eminem of old would dance all over the place and blow us away, but the slow, plodding flow and headache inducing lyrics expose it for what it is - dull. It loses bonus points for failing to be an indictment of one of the easiest targets in American political history. 4/10


What? Why does this exist? Even if he took the time to write these verses, the song's probably a lost cause. It isn't that offensive sonically, but Em makes me want to kill myself on this. How's it even possible that this made it out of the studio session? I have nothing else to say about this. Fuck this. 2/10

My 1st Single

This concept wouldn't even be entertaining if it was written well, but it's not. The hook is gross, not funny or appealing. The song only works (kinda) if the verses are clever and impressive, but they're not. They're dull and embarrassing. A lot has been made about Em's technical ability on Encore, but is this really any more impressive than anything he'd done to this point in his career? This is a train wreck. So no, the RAPPING isn't bad, but you'd have to have a degenerative brain disease to think it comes close to saving the song. 2.5/10

Rain Man

Okay, now to be completely honest, this song is infinitely more enjoyable than almost anything on Encore. (Ironically, it kind of sounds like it could be on Relapse.) It's entirely stream of consciousness and sloppy, and the second verse (and the whole song, really) is very, very sophomoric. I don't think this song works for any of the reasons Eminem expected, but it works on at least a really, really basic level. It's completely indicative of his falloff, but the beat is hypnotic and it's a pretty entertaining car crash to watch. 5/10

Big Weenie

This…isn't. I know this is the intention of the hook, but when you listen to this you REALLY think Em's regressing into childhood. The second verse, especially the bars preceding the 'crunch n munch' bit, is really impressive from a delivery standpoint. But how the fuck is this a song that gets released to the general public? I mean, isn't this enough to spur someone's friends to hold an intervention, especially if you know he's on drugs? I'm very aware my review has deteriorated into me shouting through my keyboard about how much this album sucks, but isn't that pretty much the experience of listening to Encore? This is just trash. 3/10

Just Lose It

I apologize if this writing gets sloppy, I just took two dozen Vicodin. Really, it's hard to explain what an insult this song is to everyone who'd given Eminem a dollar of their money to this point in his career. If a 12 year old wrote this song, I'd be mildly, mildly impressed. If a 30 year old construction worker wrote it, I'd recommend serious psychoanalysis to figure out why they were so deeply entrenched in childhood. When one of the most talented rappers in the world makes it… 1/10

Ass Like That

Alright, so I'm gonna make a club song. Over a middle eastern beat. With an arabic accent. But here's the catch! I'm going to do it from the perspective of a puppet dog from a late night talk show! 1/10

Spend Some Time

Eminem's verse on this song is fucking tremendous, ask M Solo . It's a 10/10 verse, and the beat is excellent. I don't love the hook, but it's serviceable. The song should be a 9/10 solo song from Em, but as well know, it's not. What's with Obie giving two of the worst performances of his life on his only two opportunities to be on Eminem albums? Stat Quo's verse is awful, I'd never be caught listening to it in pub-a-lick. 50's verse is also really, really bad but has the gem "I said you have very nice lips, with my imagination, I can see em sucking my dick"  Em's verse eats up enough of the song that it's not bad, but it characterizes Encore's squandered potential pretty well. 6.5/10


Em might sound even more drugged out here than he did on Like Toy Soldiers. In lots of ways, this is more unlistenable than Like Toy Soldiers and Yellow Brick Road because it's totally paint-by-numbers as far as Eminem subject matter goes. He does nothing here he hasn't done far better in the past. More than that, for a guy who's had tremendous technical ability for most of his career, on Mockingbird he sounds like a netcee reading lyrics off a piece of paper. Listen to him say 'under the tree' and a bunch of other phrases - it's awful. The perplexing thing to me is how so little effort could be put into a song. I mean, the album's the only thing Em had to produce over two full years, and he probably spent more than enough time in the studio to do things properly. The only conclusion to draw would be that he genuinely didn't care and had no-one who was willing to stand up and say how bad it was. 5/10

Crazy In Love

Some of you kids think this is about hip hop, right? It's not. It's just about a girl. And it's pretty weak and generic from a writing standpoint. It's an interesting, unconventional song in other regards though, and it's rewarding for a few listens. But after more analysis, it's too dull to really draw you back. The sample is good, but don't you just want to listen to the original? At least this song sounds as though there was more legitimate effort put into it than most others, but it's still not good. 5.5/10

One Shot 2 Shot

And you guys are SAD D-12 broke up?

The beat sounds like something I'd laugh at on soundclick. Bizarre was bad on Amityville, right? But he was at least crazy, shocking and unique. He's just bad here, and everyone else is painfully generic, except Eminem, who sounds like he's at a little kid's birthday party and writing something bad to entertain himself. Which in lots of ways, he is.



The beat and hook are good enough to prevent the song from being a write-off. The lyrics are painfully boring, but the song's not supposed to be life-changing. It sounds good, and unremarkable as it is it's listenable. The bridge before the second verse was embarrassing to listen to when this album came out while I was in 7th grade, but other than that the song's innocuous and does what it needs to do. Too bad it's way too late to save the album.


The album gets rounded down from about 4.4 to 4.0 because of how overlong and unbearable it is, and because it comes on the heels of a classic album. Fuck this.

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Discussion Starter #5

Jessica Simpson, write the review!

3 AM

A song where Eminem imagines himself as a serial killer and recounts scattered memories from the character's past, pill addiction and daily habits, all laid over this instrumental doesn't sound bad in theory. Actually, it sounds pretty fucking great. At his best (which for Brubbels is 2000-2001 and for me is 2002, but either period works), Eminem was one of the most technically gifted rappers to ever touch a microphone. Beyond that, his appeal lied largely in his counter-culture (but not TOO counter-culture) image, the controversy surrounding his music and the shock value and intrinsic fun of so many of his songs. While I think much of his best material is personal and honest, Eminem's never really been an artist capable of transcending himself on a consistent basis - he's just Eminem being good or Eminem being goofy or Eminem rapping about bodily functions. The most notable exception to this rule is Lose Yourself, which isn't really an exception at all: he's playing a character. So if Eminem is (or was, more accurately) ever going to become someone that I personally held as a beacon of artistic greatness, he was going to have to stop trying to be universal and embrace specific, unconventional lanes such as, well, the concept of 3 AM. Of course, this song is a trainwreck, and one is very indicative of the album. Naturally, the question is how an abundantly gifted rapper can take a concept tailor made for him, a great instrumental and make something so fundamentally awful. The first place most of us are going to go is the accent, and then most will move on to the fact that most of the song is utter nonsense. But the problem with the song begins long before we get to the voice and the lyrics. 3 AM is simply directionless. This wasn't conceived as the clever character piece I'd want it to be. Rather, Em had some vague notion that he was supposed to 'go crazy' (whatever that means) and harken for some semblance of what he had on his first two albums, when his Slim Shady persona was at its peak. First of all, he's grasping at something that might never have been there - the best Eminem songs from his early days aren't entirely character songs. They exist at the intersection between comic exaggerations of reality and his own self awareness. Role Model and I'm Shady are far more biting and enjoyable than they would be had Em removed all traces of self awareness. In case you hadn't noticed, there isn't much self-awareness to be found in 3 AM. It's not so much that that's the problem…it's the fact that because there's no coherent direction to the song and no opportunity for his serial killer persona to break the fourth wall, he reverts into pathetically juvenile lyricism. Like, yeah, maybe they'll show some boobs. It sounds like a 7th grader who's studied Eminem's old music wrote most of this. Actually, wouldn't a seventh grader in 2009 know that Hannah Montana isn't a hip OR ironic reference? It just sounds like he's grasping at straws that represent his old appeal (just like the celebrity bating in We Made You and homophobia in Underground will later). Basically, this song had the potential to be either a great narrative or a quirky look inside the mind of a killer, but it ends up being neither. It literally goes nowhere and still manages to repeat itself countless times over its utterly painful five and a half minutes. So right now, we're looking at a 4/10 song at best before making more than a passing mention of his ridiculous vocal choices. As Swizz has said, Em was blessed with one of the best voices in rap. However, this is a version of the famously awful accent at its most grating. It makes the song almost unbearable, and probably would even if the lyrics were adequate. They draw even more attention to one of the worst examples of forced multi-syllable rhyming in Eminem's career to this point. (I say 'to this point' because it gets worse from here on out.) 2.5/10

My Mom

Now this, this is pretty fucking cool. It's not 'classic' or 'brilliant' or even really all that close to being flawlessly written. He's in traditional Eminem mode, using 'fuck' as a crutch to the point of saturation and rapping in poorly-executed character voices. But it's cool, because it's cohesive, providing a cartoonish narrative about young Marshall's introduction to drugs and never really wavering from that. Not only is it cohesive in terms of content, but also in terms of mood: everything feels like it belongs and furthers the feel of the track. The hook is one of the only times the accent might be a good choice - it paints Em as being stuck in childhood and making light of something that almost killed him, which is the mood of this album the few times it works. Even more importantly, the verses are mostly devoid of that same accent, which is an incredibly welcome respite after only one song where we're subjected to it. The bridge between the second and third verse is probably the only part of the song that doesn't feel quick and enjoyable, but it's quickly redeemed by the fabulous third verse that ends with the 'Heath Ledger' bit that nearly everyone has pointed out as one of the best parts of Relapse and the closest we're likely ever going to get to 1999 Eminem, in the sense that it's natural, technically impressive, self deprecating, offensive and thematic, all at the same time. The song might be a tiny bit overrated by some because it's such a stark contrast (both in quality and general execution) to the bulk of Relapse, but it's still a very good song. In some ways, this is more entertaining than the second-tier songs on his best albums. The way he changes up the hook halfway through the song is a nice touch, and the title itself is a hilarious callback to My Name Is. This song is honest without being serious and self-parodying without sacrificing quality. Great showing. 8.5/10


Remember when the first line was reported on TR Shady or one of those websites? Being me, I actually accepted that that was probably a line from the album, but even I of all people expected it to work better in the context of a full song. But Insane is actually - now, think about this after you read it - WORSE than the line alone would lead you to believe. How is that even possible, WPG? I don't know. I honestly think this is what 2000 Eminem would come up with if you told him to make a song that sounds like something one of his sad imitators would try to make to bite him. I don't know how much analysis the lyrics here warrant, or how much they even allow for. There certainly isn't anything vaguely deep or biological going on here - again, just like 3 AM, it's Eminem trying to do what he thinks his fans want him to do. Now, the revisionist school of discussion about this album seems to suggest that some of his older fans have convinced themselves that this IS what they want, and some of his younger fans don't know any better. So what happens is you have a group of very adamant, very vocal fans who are attaching a tremendous reputation to the music they're most familiar with, which happens to be Relapse. As a result, we have people running through the depths of the internet talking about how Insane is 'crazy' and 'awesome' and 'genius' and 'listenable.' Not only is the premise of this song grossly awful (or nonexistent, either one), it's even bad on a technical level. The flow, especially in the second verses, is pretty amateurish. Relapse must be less upsetting to Eminem fans than Encore, because on Relapse at least you understand what misguided advice Em had in mind when he made songs like Insane. Still, that's far from enough to save this song from the lowest pits of artistic ineptitude. The only think keeping me from giving it a score of zero is the instrumental and harmonizing that we hear far too little of during the hook. No one even bothers to mention that Em's voice sounds normal on here, because it doesn't matter. Actually, it's a shame that a non-accent performance was wasted on this piece of shit. 1/10

Bagpipes From Baghdad

Ah, okay. Now we're really into Relapse. The next eight songs, starting with Bagpipes, are what I think of when someone mentions this album. We get the accent in spades, complete with faux-ethnic instrumentals, bizarre celebrity references, incredible obsession with rhyme schemes, scattered serial killer references and barely a song's worth of content combined. Goddamnit, this instrumental is fucking hypnotic. Can you imagine a hung-a-ry, fucking younger Eminem on this? It would be fantastic. Instead, we get a forty year old man telling us the beat is "music to his eeeers" and proceeding to rap about snack food and Nick Cannon. The content is laughable, and not in the way the late-90s Em freestyles were funny, but in the sense that the guy is making a mockery of himself. Also, how is he still fixated on the Mariah Carey thing. If you listen to Superman (which isn't that good, but still), he's mocking Mariah Carey on a song about women being disposable and not worth his time….IN FUCKING 2002. Seven years later, after getting hooked on drugs, almost dying, coming back, adopting two more kids, aging more than half a decade, having something to prove critically for the first time in over ten years and provided with an incredible Dre beat, he's rapping in a fake arab accent about hiding in her wine cellar, clearly mad at someone Dave Chappelle already ethered? Jesus. This isn't even to mention the tagged-on, even-more-disposable third verse, which literally makes me draft lists of different ways to kill myself. Furthermore: what the FUCK does the hook mean? Please, I'm accepting explanations. The best one gets sigged for at least a month. 3/10


As the albums stand right now, Relapse isn't as good as Recovery. In some ways, it might not even be as good as Encore. But more than either of those albums, Relapse had the potential to not only be listenable, but be GREAT. Hello is a perfect microcosm of the disparate quality of the component parts of the album and the finished product. Another incredible, hypnotic Dre beat isn't exactly wasted here, but it's taunting the listener with what could have been. First of all, just like on My Mom, the accent works for the hook, and I wouldn't want to change anything about it except the 'jello' line, which as awkward as it is, certainly doesn't ruin the record. Actually, the hook is fantastic in lots of ways. Unlike My Mom, the verses are delivered with the accent, but it's less distracting than it is most places on the album. Now, that's not to say it was a good decision: the song probably would have been exponentially better with a straight delivery. But the lyrics are borderline incredible at times - the first two bars of the second verse are utterly perfect. Furthermore, the topical switch and perspective of the third verse is great and should have served as the thesis for Relapse. Actually, an improved version of this song with no accent of the verses and some lyrical touchups here and there would not only be the perfect lead single for his comeback album, but might be one of the best Eminem songs ever made. The technical rhyming here is good and doesn't really detract from the overall record. Basically, this song is here as a reminder of what could have been but still works on a reasonably high level in its current state. It would be a disappointment on a good album, but here it's a highlight. The identical intro and outro are pretty excellent as well. 7/10

Same Song and Dance

I don't think any beat has ever been as thoroughly wasted as this one. The same problems I wrote about during 3 AM are still apparent here: the lack of direction, detail, or anything really captivating wastes a pretty promising concept for a song. If this was written and delivered with a little more conviction it would be infinitely better. This isn't to say the content should necessarily be taken more seriously, but given more attention and fleshed out more. The final version doesn't sound like a haunting serial killer song, it sounds like the dull, effortless shell of that. The beat is genuinely great, and there shouldn't be any question that Eminem making this more intense (and obviously dropping the fucking accent) would result in one of the most haunting rap songs ever. But as it is, it's just kind of…dumb. I'd feel like I was lacking in intelligence if I was ever emotionally affected on any level by this. It's flat and goes nowhere, which is a genuine accomplishment given the instrumental and premise. There are a couple of moments that work - the hook is good, and the 'sentimental value' line come to mind - but I said earlier that this section of the album is what i think of whenever someone brings up the topic of Relase, and I think Same Song and Dance is the signature song of the album. It's also one that's cited when people make the misguided suggestion that this is a concept album that sticks to some cohesive theme. There ARE some serial killer songs, but there's nothing tying any of them together and it's a scattered sprinkling of the concept over an overly-long tracklist that fails to hold anyone's attention. But the combination of the actual quality of the production (even the mixing) and the technical sharpness Em shows at points makes this the Eminem album that I WANT to like the most. But the album is much like this - bitterly dissatisfying. 5/10

We Made You

I'm sure no one expected the lead singles from The Eminem Show or Encore to be great (even though Without Me kind of is). But were people crazy for thinking We Made You would be a more serious (or at least BETTER) song than we'd grown accustomed to? Of course not. Look back at the list of things in my review of Bagpipes - Eminem went through all of that and more during his hiatus, and most importantly had something to prove. Even more damning, the public hadn't turned on him - there were legions of adoring fans ready to welcome him back with open arms and support whatever he did. Man, I remember being so vindicated on RB when this came out. I told y'all niccas it'd suck - and suck it did. I don't think "you think that's bad, you should hear the rest of my album" meant what he thought it would mean  The celebrity references make him seem even more pandering and out-of-touch than he did in the past. Not only is talking about Kim Kardashian perplexing and awkward, but by this point it's the second reference to her on the album, unless I'm missing something toward the end of Bagpipes (don't know if I've ever finished the song). It's a horrible, horrible, horrible hook over an overly-poppy beat that gives way to preposterously contrived verses. It's almost impossible to make it through a full listen, and I don't think I'm being dramatic when I say that. The only redeeming, genuinely funny part of the song is when he says he's "going back" to rehab, but that's well beyond the point of no return for the song, which is probably the fart sound. (Still can't believe I have to type things like that for a supposedly top five all-time rapper.) It's without a doubt better than Just Lose It, but if Just Lose It is a musical standard of any sort, tecniqe should be collecting his Grammy any day. The song is somewhat redeemed by Em's riveting account of the alfalfa sprouting from his body. 2/10

Medicine Ball

Okay, full disclosure: I cannot objectively review this. It's become a fantastically involved running joke between my friends and I, who quote it on a constant basis. Out of context, every bar from the song is laugh-out-loud funny for how forced, ridiculous and nonsensical it is. They actually seem WORSE when put in context, because as awful as 'pee on Rihanna, see I do what I wanna' is, it's even worse when you juxtapose it with 'all my west side bitches throw it up/put a balloon inside your pussy, queef and blow it up.' It's literally the worst thing in modern society, but it transcends being awful and is the most entertaining song on the album. I cannot explain how much I love it, but it goes without saying that it's pretty damn bad in reality. While I neglected to mention it during We Made You, we aren't really seeing a break in the accent at this point in the album. You know how I harp on the fact that multis are both easy to write and exceptionally overvalued? Yeah, listen to this song. Also, WHAT THE FUCK DOES THIS CHORUS MEAN? Again, accepting explanations. The funniest thing on Relapse is when he says 'the world is mine' at the end as if he accomplished something. Obviously he's joking, but the sad thing is that he thinks the truth in that statement comes through because he's 'crazy' and 'shady's back' and stuff…and neither are true. He's just a joke. The Christopher Reeves thing is so…just so inexplicably redundant and unjustified that if this song was released before Relapse I would write essay after essay explaining that the song is self-parodying. But remember what I said about things seeming worse in context? Yeah. So as much as I want to give this song a 10, I have to be objective. 3/10

Stay Wide Awake

Lots of people like this song but I think that their life's wrong. They value rhyming eating hymens but I hope their car's bombed. The chorus could have made me bored of the whole song before it started but I had to play it all and now I feel retarded. Hardly ever would I listen to the song the Stans are loving, but I had to prove to you that multis really mean nothing. I'm wearing panties doggies panting none of this is funny. The Mozart part of this one's chorus is ele-ment-ary. They say the rhyming makes it fine but do I agree? Hardly. The second verse is good with words but all of them mean nothing. I'd rather have less words align and rhyme yet have a subject. Remember in the third verse when just starts to speak in gib-er-ish? If nothing else tried, then I hope that those lines, made you find this song is worthless. The accent is so passionate that it makes me hate him more. The serial killer thing is so thin that I don't wanna be alive anymore. 2.5/10

Old Time's Sake

Holy fuck, is this terrible or what? This is one of the best-produced albums in recent memory, but this beat is a notable exception. The instrumental during the hook is out of character and seems misplaced, but the piano during the verses sounds so thin that you almost think it was made in FL Studio. Now, i think Dre sounded exceptional on The Recipe. This is the polar opposite of that. It sounds like someone's dad being egged on to jump on a song as a joke for comic relief. The tapeworm line is hilarious both because it's awful and clunky and because it conjures the image of a ripped Dr. Dre walking a giant tapeworm with a leash. Now, as for Eminem: even if the collabs with TI were great, their time together would have been tragic if only because it prompted him to say "pussy bwoi"…do you guys really listen to this in public? I'm listening to this in my room right now and I'm terrified that someone is going to hear it through the walls and think I'm hear on a special ed scholarship. Never mind the fact that this is on an album - if Koolo leaked this from random sessions, I would STILL question Em and Dre's judgment for committing this to record. The CSI line is just…what? The "DAMN BITCHES/teeeemprachurres" line is enough to make me want to turn off the album all together. This is truly, truly awful in every sense of the word. 1/10

Must Be The Ganja

This first verse isn't just bad in the same way as most of the album - it's actually more uninspired than most of what we've heard to this point. But goddamn is that serial killer thing great. It makes you uncomfortable because Em's so inspired and enthusiastic when talking about serial killers that you think he might actually be living next to you and plotting your demise. Everything about the verse is incredible. It's the kind of thing that would be a highlight on MMLP. If Eminem did this, he'd be one of my favorite artists in a really focused, specific way. But then the third verse comes and it's back to…well, I was going to say mediocrity, but that might be giving it too much credit. The first and third verses of this song are just BAD. Like, there aren't really any redeeming qualities to either of them, and that's saying something when you have someone so technically skilled. It's confusing, too: for most of the album, Em's failure is that he's chasing qualities that he thinks people want to hear, but doing it poorly and misjudging what people want from him. But the first and third verses here are reminiscent of Encore in that it seems like he put no effort into either. However, I'm going to cut this song a little slack because of how fucking fantastic the second verse is and how sonically pleasing the beat and even the nonsensical hook are. 4/10

Deja Vu

And with that, the flaming wreck that is Relapse comes to a screeching halt and delivers what I believe is, ahem, the greatest Eminem song ever. Lose Yourself, Say Goodbye Hollywoood, Stan, a bunch of songs are great. But he's never had anything that's this revelatory, unbelievably captivating and conflicted as Deja Vu. As has been said by Swizz and countless others, Em doesn't sound that recovered at all. Like I said on My Mom, this guy (on the same song, mind you) admits that he covered up the drug overdose that almost killed him and manages to sound flippant and tongue-in-cheek about it. The pain my ears have endured over the last week of writing this review have been worth it for my rediscovery of this song. I've probably listened to it forty times in the last week and every single time, I'm shocked. I wouldn't even change the voice. It's not the accent, necessarily - he sounds like the devil on Eminem's shoulder telling him that the whole ordeal wasn't actually that important and that everything is okay, which is completely different from what the song would seem to suggest on paper. That third verse is just incredible. "See me and you, we almost had the same outcome, Heath" is haunting and seems incredibly honest, but once again is delivered so as to suggest that it's all just a big joke. Then the way he delivers the personal revelations ("'cause that Christmas, you know the whole pneumonia thing?") is like he's a kid confiding in you about stealing change from his Mom's purse. Add to this another (maybe the best) in a long line of incredible beats and probably the best chorus Em's ever done, and you have an all-time classic. 10/10


Ugh. I listen to Joe Budden, as I'm sure everyone knows. If you want songs like Beautiful that are actually well-written and don't sound like they were written by rejects from Hallmark Academy, download his catalog and hit shuffle. Really, this song is a caricature of itself in how generic and paint-by-numbers it is. Think about it. If I told you to write a 'depressing' rap song called Beautiful, this is exactly what you would come up with, minus the copied-and-pasted personal anecdotes about his tongue hurting or whatever. I would quote the parts of this song that are stock dialogue from angsty teen indie movies, but the song's six minutes and it would simply take too long. Then you have the lone Em beat on the album, which integrates the sample well, but should have been re-done by Dre. The drums in particular end up being exceptionally grating over such a long song. I think even those who recognize these shortcomings tend to overrate this song, because it's so DIFFERENT than the rest of Relapse. As far as I can tell, it's just as bad, but it takes a different road to get there. 4/10

Crack A Bottle

"So crack a bottle, letchyo body waddle/don't act like a sloppy model, you just hit the lotto!/uh-oh, uh-oh, bitches hoppin' in my Tahooooe/got one riding shotgun and no, not one of em's got clothes!/now where's the rubbers? who's got the rubbers!" That's REALLY the chorus. This is a really, really bad song in every aspect, but the beat kinda saves it from being as bad as Just Lose It and Ass Like That, but not by much. The hook is mind-bendingly bad. Em's verse is cringe-worthy. Dre's verse is…there. 50's verse is so bad it makes the rest of the song seem good. If there's an argument to be made against music piracy, it's the fact that this song exists. Maybe in an alternate universe, the reference version of this never leaks and we never have to hear that version or this one. 1.5/10


I can't articulate my feelings on this any better than Swizz did a year ago:

Originally Posted by Swizz
Relapse went wrong in a whole lot of ways, but the most obvious way it went wrong was that Eminem was trying to recapture an era that he couldn't tangibly recreate. Nowhere is this more transparent than it is with Underground. He's trying to be dark and "crazy", like many of the songs here, and he's also attempting to absolutely rip the track to shreds. He fails pretty miserably. Do I really have to quote some of the terrible, terrible lyrics in this song? It's basically 5 minutes of randomness, switching from pill references to serial killer references to pop culture references to violent images to...well, back to Christopher Reeves jokes again. You remember that episode of South Park, where the South Park writers depicted the Family Guy writers as manatees? The manatees had beach balls at the top of the aquarium with random jokes on them, and whichever ball they touched next would be the next joke in the script. Yeah, that's this fucking song. No coherence whatsoever. Hit a fag with onions, and split a bag of Funyons. Diabetic waffle, hard taco. Fuck me, I can't believe people actually enjoyed this when Relapse first dropped. Salt in the wound: another unfunny Ken Kaniff skit to end the album with.

It's actually a little worse than that quote makes it sound. It's like a cumulative mess where each line compounds the last one and leaves you with the thought that this might literally be the worst album you've ever heard. 1/10

The fact that the album is so incredibly long and wastes so much potential brings the score down to a 3.5. It's funny - while Relapse is probably Em's worst album, in some ways it's on the verge of being great. A re-focused Em writing with the same technical ability but better judgment on vocals, topics, and fewer shit lines and a streamlined tracklist could have made this a great record. It's already one of the best-produced albums of the last five years. It's just that the finished product we have right now is SO incredibly bad, and what makes it all the more frustrating is that unlike Encore, which was an enigma forever (and still is to an extent), we know what Em's intentions were here. We know what he was trying to recreate, and we can trace his failures with our fingers. But every time I listen to Relapse, I think that in the back of mind I'm hoping that THIS time is the time he figures it out, and that the content will be different and the accents will be gone. Of course, it's always the same, and it's always irredeemably awful.

2,130 Posts
The responses so far......

Anyways on the reviews, I think we agree on everything. I especially like the Stay Wide Awake review. Also, your MMLP review perfectly sums up my opinion on the album (as do the others, just not as much as the MMLP review).

635 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Amityville said:
sslp really got a 7.5
If you read the very first paragraph of the thing though, the scale is misleading compared to how we usually rate albums. By this system, Illmatic (which I have #1 alltime) would be like 9.89 or whatever.  So point being, I stand by my review as to why SSLP wasn't higher, but 7.5 is higher than it probably seems.  If I score an album 8.5, I consider it a classic.

98,258 Posts
WPG said:
If you read the very first paragraph of the thing though, the scale is misleading compared to how we usually rate albums. By this system, Illmatic (which I have #1 alltime) would be like 9.89 or whatever.  So point being, I stand by my review as to why SSLP wasn't higher, but 7.5 is higher than it probably seems.  If I score an album 8.5, I consider it a classic.
True I didn't read any review save te score but TES got higher :|

4,076 Posts
I agree with almost everything about your reviews, theres a few things here and there
I disagree with you on but other then that its good. Theres a lot of hate for Eminem on KTT
so Im suprised you did this. Recovery next?
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