Rock or Anything would like to wish The Slim Shady LP a happy belated birthday! Yes, just five days ago, this hip-hop classic turned 15 years old. This wasn’t Eminem’s first album though; that would be Infinite. But after Infinite hit the shelves and was torn apart by critics and fans, Eminem was forced to head back to his laboratory and start from square one. Actually, what he really did was swallow a handful of sleeping pills to commit suicide, exasperated and defeated by the world that refused to embrace him. Just imagine if this attempt was successful. The name Marshall Mathers would be meaningless, and rap would never know one of its greatest artists. Fortunately, Eminem did survive the suicide attempt. It was then that he headed back to his laboratory with a fresh pad to conjure up a new product. However it was (allegedly) on the toilet bowl, in the midst of his bowel movements, that Marshall Mathers created his masterpiece: Slim Shady; his pissed off, foul-mouthed, maniacal alter ego who constantly flips the bird, freely shares his depraved thoughts, and hates the world, along with everything in it. This fabricated persona embodied Marshall’s own personal rage–and would later, after years of substance abuse, come to symbolize his demons.
Guided by the voice of Slim Shady, Eminem created a new project: The Slim Shady Ep. It was this ten-track disc that eventually wound up in the hands of none other than legendary hip-hop producer Dr. Dre, who immediately signed young Marshall to his Aftermath record label. Reportedly, the duo recorded several songs while under the influence of ecstasy. As the story goes, Eminem woke up one morning after a night of E-induced partying, took one look in the bathroom mirror, and gasped.
He had dyed his entire head blonde while he was f*cked up.
When Eminem went to the studio later that day, he was expecting to be reprimanded. Instead, Dre looked him up and down, smirked, and said, “That’s it. That’s your look.” And he was right. After that, the rest is history. The Slim Shady LP hit the stores, and the world was introduced to Eminem and his wacky alter ego for the first time. Critics reviled the album’s content, while fans became enthralled by that nasally voice, its complex rhymes, and its polarizing stories. On one hand, you had Marshall rapping about his impoverished and rough lifestyle; on the other, you had Slim Shady boasting about excessive violence, murdering his wife, consuming all kinds of illicit substances, and telling cartoony and bizarre anecdotes. The album was an immediate success, selling over 200,000 albums in its first week. Eminem also became the target for multiple organizations that took offense to his profane lyrics–but the 26-year-old MC would just hold up clean palms and blame it all on Slim Shady.
Today, The Slim Shady LP has sold millions of units and is considered one of the greatest rap albums of all time by various sources. Eminem’s style has evolved a lot since this album’s release. That nasally voice has grown into a livid yell, and the cartoony stories of drug consumption have been replaced by tales of drug addiction, sobriety, and real world experiences. However Slim Shady–The Monster, the Evil Twin–is still there, lurking in the shadows of Marshall’s lyrics, hiding behind every curse and violent line–and he probably always will.
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