My feelings about Em are much like those that I have about Modest Mouse. When Em first blew up with “My Name Is”, it was my shit. The Marshall Mathers LP was in constant rotation and the only other time I was that impressed with lyrical ability up until then was Big L. It made me appreciate lyricism, rhyme scheme, and freestyling on another level. If you’ve never seen videos of the young Eminem destroying the competition in rap battles you need to hit up Youtube. The only problem was his content became old to me. In his next couple albums, it seemed like it was more about his image and how far he could take that image and play into it. He became a cartoon rapper.
Over the years, I’ve become able to enjoy Eminem again. If nothing else, Eminem is one of the most entertaining rappers. He’s always coming up with new flows, bringing some intensity to the table, and thinking up some clever lines. I’ve also come to realize this: that image that he plays into so well…just might actually be the real Marshall Mathers. I probably won’t ever listen to Em like I did when I was riding on the bus to middle school with my headphones on, but I’m looking forward to seeing what he does in ’09.
Until some more new Eminem hits the net, here’s some old/unreleased Eminem. The first one is unreleased, and the second two are from Infinite, his album from ’96 (I think), before most paid attention.