November 5, 2013
Why Eminem Matters Right Now

Thirteen years ago, Eminem offered this modest self-assessment: “Whether you like to admit it, I just shit it / better than 90 percent of you rappers.” Numbers would come to tell a different story—Eminem is the best-selling rapper of all time, by a wide margin. He’s also got 13 Grammys, an Oscar, and as of Sunday night, an “Artist of the Year” trophy from the first-ever Youtube Awards. Of course, charts and accolades don’t mean everything. But Eminem is surely one of rap’s most capable practitioners, fond of breathtaking verbal displays frequently delivered at manic speed. In his prime, his brand of gleeful vitriol seemed to have infinite reach—no one was safe. 
The trilogy of albums he released between 1999 and 2002, each dedicated to one of his personas (Slim Shady, Marshall Mathers, and Eminem), captured the rapper at his most unhinged and most effective. He ranted, joked, vented, and cleverly offered a vision of a silent but angry army at his back—“every single person is a Slim Shady lurking,” “there’s a million of us just like me / who cuss like me, who just don’t give a fuck like me / who dress like me, walk, talk and act like me.” It turned out there were a lot more than a million, and they liked to buy albums.
Read more. [Image: AP/Chris Pizzello]

Why Eminem Matters Right Now

Thirteen years ago, Eminem offered this modest self-assessment: “Whether you like to admit it, I just shit it / better than 90 percent of you rappers.” Numbers would come to tell a different story—Eminem is the best-selling rapper of all time, by a wide margin. He’s also got 13 Grammys, an Oscar, and as of Sunday night, an “Artist of the Year” trophy from the first-ever Youtube Awards. Of course, charts and accolades don’t mean everything. But Eminem is surely one of rap’s most capable practitioners, fond of breathtaking verbal displays frequently delivered at manic speed. In his prime, his brand of gleeful vitriol seemed to have infinite reach—no one was safe

The trilogy of albums he released between 1999 and 2002, each dedicated to one of his personas (Slim Shady, Marshall Mathers, and Eminem), captured the rapper at his most unhinged and most effective. He ranted, joked, vented, and cleverly offered a vision of a silent but angry army at his back—“every single person is a Slim Shady lurking,” “there’s a million of us just like me / who cuss like me, who just don’t give a fuck like me / who dress like me, walk, talk and act like me.” It turned out there were a lot more than a million, and they liked to buy albums.

Read more. [Image: AP/Chris Pizzello]

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