If you pick up the new Eminem album, The Eminem Show, in stores on May 28, 2002, you might notice a different sound compared to his three previous albums. Previously, he had recorded Infinite (1996), The Slim Shady LP (1999), and The Marshall Mathers LP (2000).

The Eminem Show was originally set for release on June 4, 2002, but due to piracy and underground selling of the record, the release date has been pushed up to May 28. The first single off of the new album is a growingly popular song called "Without Me."

Eminem's previous album, The Marshall Mathers LP, released two years ago, enjoyed widespread success. From that point on, Eminem has spent most of his time in court with his mother, Debbie Mathers-Briggs, his ex-wife, Kim, John Guerra, the man who Eminem assaulted with a gun outside a Detroit nightclub because he was kissing Kim, and the Insane Clown Posse (or ICP). But those two years weren't only spent in court fighting lawsuits. Eminem still found time to go on tour and produce Devil's Night (2001) by D-12.

The concept of the new album is based on the fact that Eminem's private life is eaten away by the media. "Nothing I do is private anymore...I usually feel like a monkey in a fucking cage with people looking at me. The whole Eminem Show concept was just, 'Fuck it, if the world wants a show, here the fuck it is; here's my show.'"

Eminem's previous two multi-platinum albums were largely produced by Dr. Dre, the man who has brought onto stage countless amounts of acts, including the NWA, and Snoop Doggy Dogg. But this time around, most of the tracks were largely produced by Eminem himself, resulting in an album which sounds "more rock than g-funk," according to MTV. This new album also deals with more real-word topics, but the three main characters found on each of his albums (his mother, ex-wife, and daughter, Hailie) still remain the most popular allusions on the CD.

Once listening through the CD, fans will notice a much changed Eminem-not only in lyrics, but also in beats and style of music. Eminem's new album includes a remake of the Aerosmith classic, "Dream On." Eminem also sings (yes, he actually sings) for the first time on this CD-on a track called "Hailie's Song," which is an ode to his daughter. The original version of the song was an interpolation of the song "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," by George Harrison, but Eminem had to re-sing the whole song due to some unusual circumstances.

Like all rap albums, The Eminem Show also brings with it, its share of skits. One such, called "The Kiss" is similar to the John Guerra incident. Outside the Hot Rock Sports and Music Café in Warren, Michigan (June 2000), Eminem allegedly beat Guerra over the head with a pistol for kissing Kim, who was his wife at the time. Eminem is now serving probation for carrying an unloaded concealed weapon, and he recently agreed to pay Guerra upwards of $100,000.

The Eminem Show really shows Eminem evolving into a more well-rounded rap artist (if there is such a thing) and shows sides of him which fans never knew had existed.

Information gathered from www.rollingstone.com and www.mtv.com.

I recently entered the local Newbury Comics store looking for something, but nothing in particular. On impulse I ended up buying the new Eminem album The Eminem Show. I have a love/hate relationship with Eminem. I dislike rap on the whole, and I think he’s nothing more than a quickly fading act. Marilyn Manson without the makeup. Yet I must admit that I enjoyed the Marshall Mathers LP, or at least the beginning. The first 6-7 songs I found not only catchy, but the lyrics actually told stories. Unlike the majority of music today, he does more than just use words that rhyme for the sake of a catchy song. Instead, he weaves some of his thoughts and some social commentary into everything he writes. In “Kill You” he talked about his mother, and how he grew up being told that his father was an evil man. Eventually, he learned the truth, which was that his mother was actually the “asshole”. Then in “Stan” he tells the story of an obsessive fan that takes his idolization of Eminem to dangerous levels. The second half of the CD got a bit repetitious and the songs weren’t even very “catchy” in my opinion. The reason why I can listen to Eminem despite not being a follower of rap or hip-hop is because of his lyrics. I can accept a CD with mindless lyrics, as long as I can really get into the beat. With rap, I can rarely enjoy a song musically, but with Eminem the lyrics can salvage the songs for me. So I’m going into The Eminem Show expecting that same sort of lyrical passion, although a bit veiled under his need for attention and vulgar language.

Track 2 is titled “White America.” At first glance this wouldn’t seem like the type of song a white rapper would have on his album. You’d think it’s about how America is run by caucasians, but it’s actually about the caucasian segment of rap listeners. He sings:

“Erica loves my shit, I go to TRL, look how many hugs I get. Look at these eyes, baby blue, baby just like yourself, if they were brown Shady lose, Shady sits on the shelf, but Shady’s cute, Shade knew Shady’s dimples would help.”

The lyrics of this song are interesting in that he completely lays out his own act. The reason he’s so popular is that he’s white, and the white rap listeners now have someone to follow. A majority of rap listeners are teenage girls, who have no idea what they’re listening to. They’re simply subconsciously following pop culture, which is now fixated on hip-hop. So now, this “cute, blue-eyed guy” who not only keeps them in the majority, but they probably have a crush on him too. Obviously, this song has some self-gratification, as is much of what he sings. He honestly believes that America is in an uproar over him, while it’s just a small group of very vocal conservative parents. Nonetheless, it’s funny to see him be open about his own image.

Later in the song he basically lays out what he believes to be the reason why he’s picked out of the crowd of rappers. He gives a good point in saying he’s not the first rapper to make fun of gay people, or “smack a bitch.” He’s simply a poster child, which is true. Those in government power have children that are listening to his CD’s. White governors whose white suburban daughters are listening to this “filth” at home. Ergo, the targeting of Eminem himself.

“White America” is his most well written song, but there are others as well. “Cleaning out my Closet” is about his mother, “Square Dance” speaks a about the Bush administration and male teens not paying attention to what’s going on, until it’s too late and they’re at boot camp. “Say Goodbye Hollywood” talks about how Kim (his ex-wife) is messing up his life, and how he wants to leave the limelight to get away from all the B.S. that comes with fame. While others, such as the first single “Without Me,” are simply written to be catchy. He spits out a random assortment of pseudo-controversial things, basically exploiting himself. Mindlessly going back to his formulaic song pattern, which originally made him popular.

Overall, I’m happy with my purchase. Obviously, not every song is going to be a well written, but most are at least musically appealing and will make you “bob your head,” like the multitude of MTV-pop-culture-preteens that most E2 noders probably make fun of. Truth is, everything Eminem says is a glorified version of himself. Making himself seem like a victim, instead of a thug. Yes, a majority of what he says about himself is probably hot air, but that doesn’t turn me off. When you read a book, do you say it stinks because it’s a work of fiction? No, Tim O’Brien’s books are amazing, even though he writes in the middle of it that everything he writes is fiction. These are my feelings towards this album. He’s full of himself, but I’ll commend someone when they deserve it, even if I think that person is a dreg to society.

All comments / criticisms / editing tips appreciated. Just message me, Woburn.

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