Eminem brings 2015, 15 years back with anniversary album

by John Fiorino, Staff Writer

Marshall Bruce Mathers III is celebrating the 15 year anniversary of his label, Shady Records, which was brought into the music scene in 1999. Over the years Mathers, better known by his alias, Eminem and Slim Shady, has signed and cut multiple acts that have caused waves in the world of hip-hop. He has caused perhaps some of the biggest stirs in all of music history by going after huge icons such as Mariah Carey, Tony Romo, Michael Jackson, and most recently, Iggy Azalea. But, isn’t this supposed to be just entertainment?

The Style

Each part of the country has a certain style of hip hop that is dominant in a certain area. For example, New York and New Jersey are dominated by East Coast Hip-Hop whereas Los Angeles is dominated by West Coast Hip-Hop. Detroit is right in the middle of the Midwest Hip-Hop region of the United States. Midwest Hip-Hop is very much like the Horrorcore style of rap where the lyrics are very vulgar and the emcee (MC) goes fast in his/her raps.

Eminem’s debut album Infinite did not have this side to it, and it was widely criticized when it was distributed saying that he sounded too much like the New York rapper, Nas. The horrorcore vibe of the Midwest was absent, and he had to put his own twist to it to make him unique. When Mathers made his evil alter-ego Slim Shady one night in 1997, the horrorcore style that the rapper is known for was found. Slim Shady was Eminem’s scapegoat and just shrugged when he said something that offended people. He would say things like “Shady did it,” or “Shady said it, not me”.

The Shady Past

Eminem has been rapping and freestyling since he was a young adult in the slums of Detroit where the area was poverty stricken, he was racially discriminated against, and had little support. He turned to music to find a way out of the now-famous hellhole, 8 Mile Road. However, Eminem’s first album Infinite did not go the way he had hoped.

After finding the perfect way to put a twist onto things with Slim Shady, he released The Slim Shady EP. This EP would be the one that the famous producer and rapper Dr. Dre, would get his hands on after Eminem participated in the 1998 Rap Olympics in Los Angeles, California. After he listened to the whole EP, Dre could only utter the words “Find him,” to Jimmy Iovine, co-founder of Interscope Records which holds current acts such as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Eminem among others. Eminem would proceed to get signed by Dre and Iovine to Interscope Records and Aftermath Entertainment, founded fully by Dre.

Eminem’s major-label debut The Slim Shady LP was a monster underground rap album and exponentially increased the young white kid’s popularity in a predominantly black hip-hop scene. After the successful album that offered up hits such as My Name Is… and Role Model, he was awarded with a label and founded Shady Records with his manager Paul Rosenberg. Eminem is signed to his own label first.

Eminem & Sia – Guts Over Fear [Clean] (HD)

Eminem’s Progression

In the fifteen years Eminem has gone in and out of characters he’s played on all of his albums from the diabolical Slim Shady to the comical Ken Kaniff from Connecticut. Each album has different subject matter and a different theme to it. One of the most popular is the Marshall Mathers LP to bring up hits like Stan, about a crazed fan. The Way I Am, a song about him just being him and there’s nothing he, or anyone, can do about it. The album demonstrates that Eminem and Slim Shady, are here to stay and not going to be just a flash in a pan.

In his latest solo project The Marshall Mathers LP 2, he apologizes to his mother for always blaming her and all the fights they’ve had over the years on the song Headlights, an emotional and piano based track with a smooth drumline. He invites Nate Reuss from the band F.U.N. to do the chorus and an ending verse to add affect to an already powerful song. On the same album, he calls himself the “Rap God” where he raps an incredible 1560 words in six minutes and four seconds (a world record). At one part of the song he raps 97 words in 15 seconds.

Shady Records- Fifteen Years and Twenty Albums Later

As the years have gone on there have been acts for the record label that come and go, but they all have one thing in common: they all release music for the label and have no problem doing so. Perhaps the most notable of the former acts is the Queens native: 50 Cent, otherwise known as Curtis Jackson, who released huge hits such as Baby By Me, In Da Club, and Many Men (Wish Death). He released four albums in seven years with the label and recently departed in early 2014.

Other former acts include Bobby Creekwater, Obie Trice, and Ca$his. However, running the show now is a young, vibrant, and active label with southern rapper YelaWolf from Gasden, Alabama; as well as hip-hop super-group Slaughterhouse that consists of Joe Budden from New Jersey, Crooked I from California, Joell Ortiz from New York, and Royce Da 5’ 9” from Detroit. The mix of rap styles is what makes Shady Records current label-mates so unique. Slaughterhouse and Yelawolf are currently working on their solo projects that are projected to be released in 2015, titled Glass House and Love Story respectively.

Shady XV- 15 Years and 15 More

As the anniversary-compilation album was released, Eminem tweeted a short message to all his fans: “#SHADYXV is here! Get ready for 15 more.” That gave some die-hard fans a sigh of relief as the rumor of retirement has been floating around for a few years now. The album, Shady XV, not only marks the return of Eminem since the last solo project The Marshall Mathers LP 2, but it also returns the spotlight to other artists such as YelaWolf and rap-group Slaughterhouse. The first track on the “X-disc” (new songs) of the album is the album-titled song Shady XV where Eminem goes for about five minutes freestyling over a sample of Billy Squier’s song My Kinda Lover. The next track, Psychopath Killer offers up an “entire label song” where the song’s main artists are Slaughterhouse and the features are Eminem and YelaWolf. Several songs later is the lead single Guts Over Fear by Eminem featuring Sia, which has a similar sound to the 2010 hit, Not Afraid, an inspiring song and hugely popular. The closer on the X-disc is a star studded five minute song called Detroit vs. Everybody, featuring only rappers from Detroit which include: Eminem, Big Sean, Danny Brown and Trick Trick and others. The second disc, the “V-disc”, is the greatest hits of the label which include appearances by 50 Cent and Obie Trice. The closing song on the “V-disc” and the entire compilation album, is an early version to the Grammy award-winning song Lose Yourself; which has two verses as opposed to three, completely different lyrics, and a slightly different beat.