Dr. Dre, the legendary producer behind the likes of Snoop Doggy Dogg, NWA, Tha Dogg Pound, among many others stepped up in 1999 with his new prodigy. Eminem. This was his mainstream debut album.
1. Public Service Announcement
The album’s intro, just a warning to not listen to Eminem.
2. My Name Is – Production: Dr. Dre
The first single that brought Eminem into the national spotlight. Although the song sets the stage for Eminem’s haters, the lyrics are funny at moments. While the song is gimmicky, Eminem flows nicely and Dre puts down a decent beat.
3. Guilty Conscience ft. Dr. Dre – Production: Dr. Dre
The 3rd single off the album. Each verse tells a new story of someone at a crossroads. Eminem plays the bad conscience, Dr. Dre the good. Both come through with excellent parts. Production is off the chains too.
4. Brain Damage – Production: Jeff Bass
A decent beat but the shine on this track is Eminem’s crazy flow. While the chorus is well known, when you really listen to it, it’s pretty weak. Something about it is catchy all the same. The song is more or less about highschool, and you can’t help but laugh at some lines.
The first of a now recurring skit on Em’s albums. His attorney Paul Rosenberg leaves a phone message to tone down the lyrics.
6. If I Had – Production: Eminem/Jeff Bass
While the song would never work as a single it’s easily one of the album’s best tracks. It’s not a hip-pop sound and the lyrics are fire. He talks about the struggle of everyday life and rhymes perfectly on it. Even the biggest Eminem hater could relate to this track.
7. 97 Bonnie and Clyde – Production: Eminem/Jeff Bass
The now infamous track brought Em’s daughter Hailie into the picture. In the track he is talking to her after killing Kim. The lyrics are just evil. Not a bad track but hard to distinguish if it’s a gimmick or if he was going through some real shit at that moment.
8. ***** – Skit
About people hating Em’s lyrics.
9. Role Model – Production: Dr. Dre/Mel Man
A good sounding beat from Dre and Mel Man, a song about the Slim Shady charecter. Em delivers a good flow, often times funny but something lacks in the song. The sort of tracks Eminem haters will love to point out.
10. Lounge – Skit
A karoake at some lounge. Useless to the album.
11. My Fault – Production: Jeff Bass
A story about a party where nothing goes right for him. The chorus is crazy weak, lyrics score nicely but the production fails.
12. Ken Kaniff
The first appearance of Ken Kaniff. Funny like usual.
13. ***** on Everybody – Production: Eminem/Jeff Bass
Another shock value song but you can’t deny Eminem’s flow over this track. The beat has a funk feel to it but the chorus ruins the track.
14. Rock Bottom – Production: Jeff Bass
A song about being broke an hopeless. A nice beat once again that totally suits the concept of the song. Em gives a nice flow and the chorus fits (For one of the first times in the album). Another track anyone can dig.
15. Just Don’t Give A ***** – Production: Jeff Bass/Eminem
The albums’ 2nd single. The track is decent, lyrics are allright, the production is a little overwhelming with the high pitched whistle. The chorus is too catchy. Not a bad track.
16. Soap – Skit performed by Royce Da 5’9” and Jeff Bass.
It’s a soap opera satire that leads into the next track.
17. As the World Turns – Production: Jeff Bass/Eminem
One of the albums worst tracks. Nice flow but the shock value lyrics are getting very old at this point in the album. The chorus is garbage and production average. An interesting sidenote look for his shot at the Source magazine .
18. I’m Shady – Production: Eminem/Jeff Bass
Production is decent but not great. It’s basically a drug song with lyrics that go nowhere. The chorus is mad annoying. Another low point in the album.
19. Bad Meets Evil ft. Royce Da 5’9” – Production: Jeff Bass/Eminem
An old west style track about Em and Royce being outlaws. The two spit back and forth all over the track with two incredible flows that make you ignore the beat all together (and it’s pretty good itself). The chorus is nicely done by Eminem. A good track and Royce is a welcome addition to the CD.
20. Still Don’t Give A ***** – Production: Jeff Bass
An unapoligetic track from Em for being the way he is. He puts a little heat behind his flow to match the beat. The chorus is catchy and the track will make you nod your head. The second verse shines.
Eminem’s debut album best displays his ability to flow nicely. While much of the album is gimmicky and relied highly on shock value lyrics, there are some shining tracks that demonstrate his versitility to make meaningful tracks as well. Ex. If I Had and Rock Bottom.
The album served as a nice foreshadow to the Eminem we know today. Dr. Dre came through with some nice production as usual and Eminem honed his skills behind the board a bit. Eminem himself later stated with this album he didn’t know how to put together his flow with the beats and at times it shows. He will flex his lyrical skills on a track that sounds laid back and vice versa.
Although the album is by no means a failure, it’s not a great showcase of what Eminem is capable to do.
Overall rating 3/5