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It's Been 20 Years Since Eminem Released The Slim Shady LP

Jess Hardiman

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It's Been 20 Years Since Eminem Released The Slim Shady LP

Incredibly, it's been 20 years to this day since the release of The Slim Shady LP, the major-label debut that thrust Eminem into the global limelight.

The album was released on 23 February 1999 by Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records, to which Eminem was a fresh recruit, having just been signed by Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine - who were so impressed by his instant success they later went on to give him his very own label, Shady Records.

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The record went on to not only sell over 18 million copies across the world and get certified as quadruple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, but also win the rapper - now 46 - a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album the following year.

The critics were won over, too.

While Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield wasn't impressed by the album's 'bitch bashing', he couldn't deny the Dr Dre protégé certainly had skills.

Sheffield wrote at the time: "Eminem is clever enough to make a running gag out of his cultural alienation, but that doesn't mean it's not real.

"For all the alienation on Slim Shady, Eminem earns his buzz as a bona fide rap star one tasteless insult at a time, battling the world with a mouthful of adjectives and a boxful of laxatives."

AV Music's Nathan Rabin, meanwhile, said Eminem's music was 'something genuinely different in the increasingly predictable rap world'.

"Like Marilyn Manson and Insane Clown Posse, Eminem represents a new musical subgenre of ostracised Midwestern geeks re-inventing themselves as subcultural icons," Rabin said.

Eminem also won the Best Hip Hop Act award at the 1999 MTV Europe Music Awards. Credit: PA
Eminem also won the Best Hip Hop Act award at the 1999 MTV Europe Music Awards. Credit: PA

Now, you may remember one song in particular from that LP.

No, we're not talking about 'Bonnie and Clyde', in which Eminem worryingly fantasises about killing his wife and burying her - we of course mean 'My Name Is', the track that helped transform skinny Detroit kid Marshall Mathers into his gobby, now-famous alter-ego: Slim Shady.

That song, which featured a bass and guitar riff sample from Labi Siffre's 'I Got The', opened The Slim Shady LP with a narcissistic bang, introducing us to Eminem's crass, aggressive and sometimes dark second self - literally telling the world: 'My name is Slim Shady'.

In fact, it seems Mathers was so hell-bent on reinventing himself, that the song actually bears the message twice - not only repeatedly telling us what his name is through the lyrics of the song, but also reiterating it when the song is played backwards.

Let's have a listen, shall we?

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As you can hear, the words are: "Hi! My name is... (what?) / My name is... (who?) / My name is... {scratches} Slim Shady."

But when you play it backwards? "It is Slim / It's Eminem, it's Eminem, it's Eminem / It is Slim / It's Eminem, it's Eminem, it's Eminem."

MIND. BLOWN.

While we may never know whether this secret message was intentional or merely a happy coincidence, it certainly did the trick at making us all forget about the average guy from Detroit, Michigan (Marshall something?), whose father was never around and whose home life was notoriously unstable.

In his place, we were instead given a rap behemoth, who would go on to star in his own biographical film, 8 Mile, release an autobiography and, of course, become one of the world's best-selling artists of all time - last year alone he sold more records than any other artist, with his 10th and most recent album, Kamikaze, accounting for just half of those sales.

A lot can happen in 20 years when you're Slim Shady, it seems...

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Music, US Entertainment, Eminem

Jess Hardiman
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