Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Eminem "The Slim Shady EP" (1997)


My recent dive back into the roots of Rap titan Eminem has left me with one other rare release to talk about beyond this character defining EP. Its an understatement to say it was a flop, shifting only 250 copies it was another step backwards from the failed Infinite album. Thank goodness this found its way to Dr.Dre at Interscope, how this release didn't make waves in the Detroit scene seems absurd retrospectively. The tone of this record indicates it may have been his last attempt at making it in the rap game too, who would of known this struggle would take him so far!

The record name is a direct link to the Slim Shady LP, Eminem fully defining the character that would inhabit his major label debut here on this EP. One cut is identical and two others would have the instrumentals remixed for the LP. With two skits and a pair of radio edits you'll find three songs that didn't make it to the album, "No Ones Iller" a lyrical mic passing, the D12 group upping each other with dark, gritty, offensive lyrics set to shock anyone in sight. "Murder, Murder" a gloomy, downtrodden storytelling Eminem walks us through a crazed loot and murder spree with a tragic tone and vivid, violent lyricism that's got an utterly oozing flow.

And then there's "Low Down Dirty" which could essentially be the Slim Shady anthem, Em loading his smartest self depreciating lyrics and rhymes, talking of self inflicted gun wounds, molesting himself and getting convicted, his split personality having an identity crisis and the classic line, "Murder murder, red rum, brain size of a bread crumb, which drug will I end up dead from?". Its a brilliant string of rhymes with a cheeky lifted hook, Em instructs to smack anyone who sounds like him, and question the origin of the raps, precisely as Redman did with the same words. Its a brilliant song and it, like the other two, could sweetly fit into the LPs track list.

That brings us on to the production. Working with DJ Head, DJ Rec and the Bass Brothers, Em has the same tone and vibe we would here on the LP, despite being self funded and released on a small indie label there is very little between this and the breakout that would sell millions of records. Everything is essentially fully formed here, the surviving songs would get some polish and reworking on the LP but all of Em's rhymes stay intact, even the recordings are the from the same session I believe. One thing it has over that record is the birth of the Slim Shady character on the cinematic intro, an evil voice birthed into the mind of Eminem who has to confront himself in the mirror, Its a real treat, as is the whole EP.

Favorite Tracks: Low Down Dirty, Just Dont Give A Fuck, Just The Two Of Us, Murder Murder
Rating: 8/10

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