The Marshall Mathers LP – Eminem

Released May 23, 2000 this album debuted at #1 in the U.S. and was then the fastest selling album of all time. It won three Grammy’s and was nominated for Album of the Year (it lost to Steely Dan). It is one of the best selling albums of all time with 35 million copies to date.

Jason: I give this album a D-. Eminem is a garbage person. He is homophobic, transphobic, and misogynistic. Every song on this album is about how he wants to rape and kill women or LGBTQ people. He compares gay marriage to bestiality and says he has a cure for homosexuality (murder). He uses the word “fag” or “faggot” dozens upon dozens of times. He details how he would rape and murder his wife. He talks about raping his mother. He instructs his listeners to “take drugs, rape sluts”. He then has lyrics about how the press and politicians and the public are mean to him. It’s all “woe is me” bullshit.

Brad: Yeah, I only made it through this album 2.5 times and I usually listen to the albums 5 or more times before we discuss. I was starting to get so angry that me streaming these songs would give him even a fraction of a penny in royalties. This album should be renamed “TOXIC MASCULINITY”

Jason: I once got into a facebook argument with a gay friend who defended Eminem saying that ‘he’s not really like that. It’s just a persona or a character.’ And that you have to look past everything to really understand what his point is. Um no. Lana Del Rey (Lizzy Grant) is a persona. Lady Gaga (Stephanie Germanotta) is a persona. Marilyn Manson (Brian Warner) is a persona. Those are artists that use a character to make a point or create art, like them or not. Eminem is using his voice to advocate for hate and violence against any person who isn’t a cis-gendered, hetero, white male. I believe that is really who he is: a hate filled, angry, bigot and a bully who only “apologizes” when he gets called out for being the truly disgusting person that he is.

Brad: I don’t even recall Eminem ever apologizing. The thing is, he does have a perspective that many people in our country and possibly the world can relate to. I totally get that.  I understand that a lot of rap artists started out with problematic lyrics but then grew and changed over time. Two examples that come to mind are Ice-T and the Beastie Boys. But Eminem is still releasing albums with homophobic lyrics. Society as a whole has evolved in the past 20 years but Eminem hasn’t.

Jason: Well his apologies are half-assed.

Brad: I really tried to find the artistic merit in this album. I think the production is great and there are a couple glimmers of interesting songwriting. The one that comes to mind is “Stan” about an obsessed and very disturbed fan. This song was a huge hit. I think it is brilliant that he combined his rap with Dido’s “Thank You” chorus. However, the part at the end where he realizes that the obsessed fan is the same guy he saw on the news that put his pregnant girlfriend in the trunk of his car and drove off a bridge. His “acting” during that part is so bad. He’s supposed to be surprised or upset but he just raps with the same exact delivery that he had during the previous lines.

Jason: Oh god. I hate that song so much for that reason. Also, his skits suck.

Brad: I hate almost all skits on any album but his are particularly bad. I get that Eminem’s shtick is to push people’s buttons but I’m simply not interested. I bought this cd when it came out along with 30 million other people. I hated this album then and I still hate it today.

Jason: I gave it a D- because it’s too easy just to give it an F and I really did listen to it a few times. I will say that some of the beats are good. I could tolerate an instrumental version but that’s about it.

Brad: I agree. I feel like a D- is being generous but the music itself is generally good.

Jason: Let’s put this behind us and move on to more deserving artists.

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Below is the scratch-off artwork from the 100 Bucket List poster.