Welcome to The Eminem Show, a three-ringed-circus of laughs and hip-hop from you're favorite white-rapper...

Jun 22, 2003 (Updated Sep 23, 2009)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Advanced Lyricism, Humor, Maturity, Subject Matter, Variety, Amazing Production, Guest Appearances

Cons:A Few Weaker Tracks, Some weaker Production at moments, older topics touched again, Skits

The Bottom Line: White 2pac.. no.... White Rakim.... perhaps.... Eminem rips it apart on The Eminem Show

There are few white emcees who can actually succeed at being famous, much less be hardcore. Vanilla Ice comes to mind in the latter part of his saddeningly poor career when he returned with dreadlocks and turned "gangsta". Right there, its difficult to believe that somebody who grew up in the suburbs can talk, walk, and live like a black man.

Enter Eminem... Im sure everybody knows who Eminem is. Whether youve heard his singles, his albums, or watched him on the big screen, he could possibly the most famous musician in North America. He has created a medium unlike any other, where a white emcee can be hardcore, tell stories, be humorous, and be a great, if not one of the greatest, wordsmiths and lyricists ever. He has been constantly overrated and underrated. No, Eminem is not the greatest rapper of all time, but he could very well be on his way if he gives us more classics. Up until 2002, besides his underground EPs, Eminem has given us two albums to sink our teeth into. The humorous, funny, and creative Slim Shady LP, and the angry, lyrical, thought-provoking Marshall Mathers LP. In 2002, the white emcee made his glorious return to hip-hop with The Eminem Show. Even with the heavy bootlegging of the album, it still sold 10 million copies as of today, which is amazing. The Eminem Show is not a classic like his last album, the great Marshall Mathers LP, but it is a tasty treat for underground and mainstream hip-hop fans alike.

Track List & Rating

1. Curtains Up (skit) (NOT RATED)
2. White America (*****)
3. Business (****)
4. Cleanin Out My Closet (*****)
5. Square Dance (*****)
6. The Kiss (skit) (NOT RATED)
7. Soldier (****)
8. Say Goodbye Hollywood (*****)
9. Drips f/ Obie Trice (****)
10. Without Me (****)
11. Paul Rosenberg (skit) (NOT RATED)
12. Sing For The Moment (******)
13. Superman f/ Dina Rae (*****)
14. Hailie’s Song (****)
15. Steve Berman (skit) (NOT RATED)
16. When The Music Stops f/ D-12 (****)
17. Say What You Say f/ Dr. Dre (*****)
18. ‘Till I Collapse f/ Nate Dogg (******)
19. My Dad’s Gone Crazy f/ Hailie Jade (****)
20. Curtains Close (skit) (NOT RATED)

After the interesting, yet useless opening entitled "Curtains Up (skit)", where we get sort a soft "Danny Elfman" type of beat to it though it is utterly useless, we get to the first real track "White America".

On here we have the typical Eminem rapping to us about his lyrical content and how it affects the planet. However, this song has a bit of a twist to it. Em takes the subject matter to a new high rapping about how it amazes him that his succeeded so well, and blames it on the fact that he is white. He shows off the clever side of his brain pointing out some very interesting facts about this country, ripping apart the racial boundaries.

The most memorable punchline has to be the famous "If i was black, i would've sold half", and sadly its true. Eminem sort of revells in the fact that his whiteness is his success. The production is excellent, with a hauntingly thumping guitar and drum. He even feels its neccessary to add to the controversy adding airplane noises to signify the September 11th Terrorist Attacks. Tight song, and the first classic from Eminem Show.

"Business" is an incredibly well-produced and written head-bobbing track, but suffers from pointless subject matter. Dr. Dre lends his hands to produce this track as he gives us a tight medley of synthesizers for Eminem to spit his well-written, comical and humorous flows over. The chorus is one of those catchy ones that kids love to sing.

Moving on from a track without rellevent subject matter, we get to one thats loaded with it, the aptly titled "Cleaning out my Closet".

Eminem once again touches on the fact that his mother was a b*tch, and how badly she treated him during his youth. This single was been blasting on the Radio for the majority of the late-summer and fall of 2002, and frankly i got sick of it, but that doesn't mean its a bad song. The beat is beautifully produced by Marshall himself, as we get a nice piano loop with a snare. His lyrics get angrier and angrier throughout each verse, giving it more of a creative edge. This is undoubtedly an excellent Eminem track, but hopefully this will put all of this mother bullsh*t in its place and we dont have to hear him whine anymore.

"Square Dance" is Eminem at his absolute best. His humor, witty punchlines, well-written dark humorous rhymes are the backbone, not to mention the thumping production. Eminem throws jabs at the Bush Administration, sort of touching on the entire September 11th situation, kind of welcoming himself back. Not to mention Eminem also takes it upon himself to throw a few lyrical jabs at then battle opponent Canibus. Just jabs, but never a complete battle here.

So Eminem gives us a tight, funny chorus with three excellent verses as he utilyzes a multi-syllable flow and multi-bar rhyme scheme which will have everybody singing along. The beat is a rock influenced track with synthesizers and thumping bass and drums. Eminem takes some shots at the military, poking fun at what "could" happen: "Yeah you laugh till your motherf*ckin a** gets drafted While you're at band camp thinkin the crap can't happen 'Til you f*ck around, get an anthrax napkin, Inside a package wrapped in Saran Wrap wrappin, Open the plastic and then you stand back gaspin, F*ckin assassins, hijackin Amtraks, crashin, All this terror, America demands action, Next thing you know, you've got Uncle Sam's a** askin, to join the Army or what you'll do for their Navy, You just a baby, gettin recruited at eighteen, You're on a plane now, eatin their food and their baked beans, I'm twenty-eight, they gon, take you 'fore they take me."

"The Kiss (Skit)" touches on the altercation Eminem was involved in last year where he pulled a gun on a dude for kissing his wife. Its funny at first, but boring after a few listens. This blends perfectly into "Soldier", the worst track on The Eminem Show.

Eminem turns thug on this track, giving us rhymes that are relatively good, with a multi-syllable flow, but yet the subject matter is uninspired. Eminem exclaims himself as being an insane white boy, as he always does. This is sort of a softer version of "The Way I am". Its a shame because the chorus is very well-done. His delivery is angry, and it brings me back to the days of Marshall Mathers LP. The worst part about this track is the production, having a weakly synthesized military vibe to it. Its a shame because with a better beat, this track could've been 4 Stars at the most.

"Say Goodbye To Hollywood" is a slight improvement, but not much. The production is riveting, in which i enjoyed it a bit more, but its not breakthrough work. As we get a well-put together guitar medley with violins, produced by Em himself. Eminem chronicles his wife on this track exactly what the last two songs were about, the pistol-whipping incident. Eminem basically claims that after this album, he will bowing out of the spotlight for a while, which could NOT be farther from the truth as just months later he was in a MOVIE. Definetely the most hypocritical song Eminem has ever done.

The Eminem Show is put back on track with "Drips". This track could've been pulled right out of the comical The Slim Shady LP, as we get really good subject matter, given to us in a dark comical way. Eminem is joined by the newly signed Detroit rapper Obie Trice. Obie Trice basically gives us some tight, but very sexually graphic storytelling about a female who he met who basically have him an STD. Eminem hits us with the second verse, as he gets more narrative, and a lot more angrier. Eminem claims that domestic violence is the way out, but soon he discovers that in the end the female won because Eminem now has the STD as well. The lyrics are extremely well-written, with multi-syllable flows and multi-bar rhyme schemes by both artists, over some haunting, melancholy piano loops and screechy violins. This track is VERY explicit and pornographic, and i LOVE it. Definetely a classic as you'll laugh more than once.

The next track "Without Me" shouldn't even be covered as its most likely you heard it before, being the lead single from this album. Eminem gives us comical braggadiocio as he ressurects his Slim Shady persona once again. Em throws shots at Dick Cheyeney, Moby, Chris Kirkpatrick, and you guessed it, his mother. Good Song, but not as good as his previous lead singles.

Afterwards, we get "Paul Rosenburg (Skit)", which is another useless skit, this time portraying Eminem as a trigger-happy lunatic.

Eminem crafts a classic with the unforgettable "Sing for the Moment", one of my favorite songs out of all of Eminem's career.

First and foremost, the production samples the classic rock track "Dream On" by Aerosmith. The added twist is that the actual Joe Perry from Aerosmith was invited to play guitar on here. The drums, guitar, and syntesizers fit masterfully together as you find the track climaxing more and more until the chorus, which is sampled from "Dream On". Eminem basically celebrates the evolution of Hip-Hop as well as his own career. The song touches on the fact that rap music is taking over the planet, and explains the evolution, trials, and tribulations of being famous and being an artist. His lyrics are well-written, intelligent, and complex, and at times, very clever. Eminem once again points out the hypocrisy of the media and the government, and takes a stand for hip-hop, which brings a smile to my face.

Eminem touches on humorous misogony (as well as some shots toward Mariah Carey) on the next song. "Superman" is the obligatory fourth single from The Eminem Show. I like to think of this track as a prequel to "Kim" as Eminem raps about his situation with a female (which is actually Mariah Carey, whom he is laying out some clever, indirect disses to).

The production has the familiar southern bounce heard from commercial singles, but this time, his skills and humor push the track to being listenable in the underground as well. Eminem a relatively fast delivery, with pacing, and a multi-syllable flow. The hooks are incredibly catchy, as well as his punchlines are memorable, but the subject matter, though different, isn't original enough to carry the song. Dina Rae pops up to help Em with the hooks.

Eminem takes a completely different direction with the next track "Hailie's Song", which is a touching tribute to Eminem's daughter, over pseudo-R&B production. Yes, Eminem does indeed sing on this track, and uses a similar format to that of his underground Everlast diss "I Remember", which is two singing verses, then a rap verse. His voice isn't as bad as people say, but at this point, it can indeed grate on the ears. He touches on his wife, once again, and the fact that she wanted to take Hailie away from him, sort of like painting the picture as Kim being the villain here. Eminem's verse is tight, and the song is very underrated, but i understand why people would hate it.

Following this, "Steve Berman (Skit)" is useless except for one thing, the fact that Eminem FINALLY killed Berman. At last...

Eminem is joined by his group D-12 on "When the Music Stops". D-12 touches on the life of a rap star, its trials, tribulations, and situations. D-12 basically claims that being a rapper is not as good as it seems, warning those that its dangerous and frustrating. The subject matter is excellent, and the rhymes are top-notch. Once again, Eminem outshines his crew with his opening verse, laying down disses towards those who oppose him, including Mariah Carey and an indirect diss towards Canibus. As usual, Bizarre comes off terrible. However, by the time you get to his verse, which is the close, its safe to push the skip button and go to the excellent "Say what you Say".

Dr. Dre returns to take the boards on this one. Eminem and Dre lay down PURE Venom on this track, destroying all of the opposers of the Shady / Aftermath camp. It feels very good listening to the two leaders of the most powerful label in hip-hop destroying those who oppose. Eminem drops a couple of Canibus disses, then Dre takes the main event, ripping the terrible Jermaine Dupri apart piece by piece, which brings a HUMONGOUS smile to my face. I HAAATE Jermaine Dupri, and its about time that he got slammed by Dre and Em for talking noise about their label. The production is deep, dark, and fitting, with thumping drums, bass, and a slow snare. Eminem's delivery brings chills down my spine, specially the one line: "When i was little i knew i would grow up and sell a mil-a, and blow up to be Atilla, go nuts and be a killa"... amazing.

Slim switches into Canibus-mode for "Till I Collapse". Eminem drops sheer venom on this track, it being the most lyrical track on The Eminem Show.

The production is menacing and lethal, as we get a thumping synthesized drum, slow paced piano, slamming claps, giving it a very apocalyptic, sort of thundering sound to it. Eminem turns on his lyrical juices as he gives us a hard hitting P*SSED-OFF delivery, reminiscent of The Marshall Mathers LP. Eminem gives us one of the most delicate, diverse, and greatest multi-syllable flows of his entire career, as his rhymes span 8 or more bars, a pure testament of the true, hidden skill which Eminem rarely shows at this level. Every single rhyme makes sense and every single syllable is spat perfect. In fact, Eminem finally places himself on a list of being one of the best, as he says "I got a list, here's the order of the list thats its in, it goes Reggie, Jay-Z, 2pac, and Biggie, Andre from Outkast, Jada, Kurupt, Nas, and then Me". Eminem's rhymes must've taken months to write to this perfection, as this can be ranked as one of Em's best. As for the chorus, its handled perfectly by Nate Dogg, as he gives us a catchy, heart-thumping, and motivating chorus. I listen to this when im p*ssed, and it makes me feel better. Singing along to this allows me to let it all out... and releasing emotion is what music is supposed to do. This does: "My thoughts, are sporadic, I act, like I'm a addict, I rap, like I'm addicted to smack like I'm Kim Mathers, But I don't wanna go forth and back in constant battles, The fact is I would rather sit back and bomb some rappers, So this is like a full blown attack I'm launchin at 'em, The track is on some battlin raps who want some static?, Cause I don't really think that the fact that I'm Slim matters, A plaque and platinum status is WACK if I'm not the baddest"

The Eminem Show closes with "My Dad's Gone Crazy". Eminem uses the most unlikely guest appearance here, as he gets his own daughter Hailie for some background vocals and part of the chorus. Eminem takes the mantle of emcee here and lays down three excellent verses, showing his psychotic, comic side that we saw on the The Slim Shady LP. The production is handled mainly by well-placed synthesizers, giving it a bounce, on the third verse, the beat sort of gets simplified, bringing chills down my spines as Eminem gives us the final verse on the album, sort of detailing the effects of his music.

Slim decides to end the album with a skit, aptly titled "Curtains Close (skit)". This is the same as the opening skit, but this time, we get the return of a character which was virtually missing from this album, the homosexual Ken Kaniff, as he flips the words of "Without Me" to close the album. I guess Ken missed this album slightly, but its ok, im sure he'll be back on the next.

While not a bad album, The Eminem Show is not a complete classic album. The production can get weak at times, and there are two tracks which are very much weaker than the rest of the album. Eminem is showing to us that he is set to master his craft as a producer, as he produced all but two tracks on The Eminem Show. Eminem has matured as an artist, but he needs to move on from his whining and give us a true PURE CLASSIC album which i am positive that he is capable of giving us, but perhaps he's saving it if his career ever hits a bump. Until then, The Eminem Show as well as the other four albums that he's released before this should quench our thirsts. This is definetely a must-have album for fans of this type of music, so go pick yourself up a copy. Love him or Hate him, Eminem is here and will probably be here for a long time...

4 1/2 Stars... Rounded down to 4...

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