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Old 04-28-2010, 07:02 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The Slim Shady EP (1997)

The Bottom Line:

Overshadowed by what was to come, this EP contains a few forgotten gems.

The 1 to 10 Scale: 7.0/10

Full Review:

An extended play that was once again released on underground label Web Entertainment, this is the album that would earn Eminem his first exposure to Dr. Dre and Aftermath. They would later sign Eminem and release The Slim Shady LP in 1999. SSEP contains several tracks, some of them early versions, that would later be released on SSLP. These include the underground single Just Don't Give a F*ck, the poetic If I Had..., and the disturbing Just the two of Us, later renamed to '97 Bonnie and Cylde. I could make comparisons to his later work, specifically to The Slim Shady LP, but I decided to review this EP on it's own merits. And considering it's near demo nature, this album holds up surprisingly well.

We begin the EP with Eminem asleep in bed. He is awoken by a deep, ominous voice. This is the introduction of the most diabolical villain in the world, with a record of 17 rapes, 400 assaults, and 4 murders - Slim Shady. Eminem screams "I killed you!", while the voice urges him to look in the mirror. Em smashes it in horror. Eminem and Slim Shady are one and the same. We immediately jet into Low Down, Dirty, the first of many forgotten gems on this album.

Originally Posted by EMINEM - Low Down, Dirty
Warning, this sh*t's gon be rated R, restricted
You see this bullet hole in my neck? It's self inflicted
Doctor slapped my momma, "Bitch you got a sick kid"
Arrested, molested myself and got convicted
We then move into If I Had..., a beautiful yet bleak observational poem on life. This is the first time in his career I felt like I was listening to the man himself. He wasn't just saying sh*t to piss me off or make me laugh, and he wasn't putting up any kind of front. It was still course with language and obscenities, but they weren't over the top. I felt like this was Marshall Mathers genuinely expressing himself. The music to this track is slow, somber, and minimalistic - a simple beat with chords played on a Rhodes. Some female vocal samples grace the atmosphere, while Eminem's rap pierces right through it.

The next song, Just Don't Give a F*ck, is an Eminem classic. He's really on in this track, spitting with an intensely sharp wit and fire.

Then of course there is Just the Two of Us. Words can't really describe how this song makes me feel. There is one word that comes close, disturbed. Anybody familiar with Eminem's work probably knows this song by it's later title '97 Bonnie and Cylde. The lyrics take us through an off-putting journey to the beach with a man who's just killed his wife. He's obviously about to flee somewhere, and he brings his infant daughter with him. He talks his daughter through the imagery, saying things like the blood on her mommy's shirt is ketchup, or that her mommy just wants to see "how far she can float". The song is very haunting, and created within me a sense of empathy toward the man in the song, whilst simultaneously being disgusted by his actions. This song really works by stirring that morbid curiosity we all have. It's the reason we watch Forensic Files on TruTV, it's the reason we read about the minds of killers. We can't help but imagine ourselves in the shoes of a murderer. It's often a split second thought that we extinguish because, hopefully, we're morally opposed to killing. These thoughts disgust the rest of us, but Eminem embraces them in this song.

We end the album with No One's Iller and Murder, Murder. The former features a verse from D12 emcees Bizarre and Swift. Bizarre was f*cked up as usual, and Eminem spit a pretty dope verse. The latter, Murder, Murder, is another forgotten gem of this album. Arguably it was his most violent track yet, Slim Shady really gets his hands dirty. If we're talking loose story-arc here, I'd say this is a little like Slim Shady's violent persona influencing a struggling and desperate Eminem. I'd say that because of the somber nature of this track - usually when Shady is just being Shady he has a lightness about him, twisting violence and disturbing content into humor and pop-culture. This song feels more real, it feels more desperate in tone.

Originally Posted by EMINEM - Murder, Murder
Left the keys in the van, with a gat in each hand
Went up in Eastland and shot a policeman
F*ck a peace plan of citizen bystands
But sh*t is in my hands, here's your life span
I did have a few complaints about this record, however. The first being the skit Mommy. It's a sound byte presumably of Eminem putting his dead wife's body in his car. To add to the eerie, disturbing nature of The Slim Shady LP stretch where it was later included, it was fine. But on an EP of such short length, one has to question why it was there. The second being the absence of anything that was particularly catchy. I really felt some of the verses on this album, but the choruses on tracks like Low Down, Dirty, Just Don't Give a F*ck and Murder, Murder just seemed to let me down.

Overall, I think this EP was a major improvement over Infinite. Not only was the music and production miles ahead of Infinite, Eminem himself had improved vastly as an emcee. He had developed his own style, and this was the first step on the trail he'd blaze for himself.

Last edited by someonecompletelyrandom; 04-28-2010 at 07:12 PM.
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