Album Review: ShadyXV | Shady Records

November 21, 2014 8:52 PM

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Modern day Eminem will always have the unfortunate (and perhaps impossible) task of trying to live up to the Eminem of the late 1990s through the early 2000s. From The Slim Shady LP to The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show, Em was untouchable. Not only did all three of those albums win the Grammy‘s ‘Rap Album of the Year’ award, but everyone at the time knew that this guy wasn’t going anywhere (and they were right). Although taking brief hiatuses throughout the years, Eminem has consistently dropped successful solo albums, four more since The Eminem Show in 2002. While the sales, and even some of the critical acclaim, has survived throughout the years, the issue of whether the quality of Eminem’s latter music is highly polarizing. In his 2010 album Recovery, Eminem even admitted his previous album was “ehhh…”. However many argued that Recovery and The Marshall Mathers LP 2 were not any better. Pitchfork gave Recovery a 2.8 out of 10, stating that “the more (Eminem) motors on about having reclaimed his passion for hip-hop and finally figured out who he is, the more draining the album becomes.” Entertainment Weekly gave Em’s previous album a C+ score, noting the obvious content changes in his music. “At this point, though, his ultimate obsessions are with his disappointing mother and absent father — and those, he uses to abuse himself.” Lately Eminem seems to be having an eternal battle, deciding the best route for his music. At times it seems like he is trying to go back to the ‘old Eminem’, through making a sequel to MMLP and forcing homophobic language and shock value insults towards women and celebrities, something Eminem made a career off of. However it also appears that he is trying to shed the coat of his controversial ‘Slim Shady’ persona, making mends with his mother and cleaning up his content at times, rapping “I’d rather make ‘Not Afraid 2′ than make another motherf*cking ‘We Made You”, which showed his preference over more emotionally mature tracks over the tracks with shock value and shots at pop culture. While ShadyXV is not a solo Eminem LP, it is certainly his project, of which he will be judged on. Producing many of the tracks, appearing on all but two of the album’s exclusive songs and being the head of Shady Records, ShadyXV is an Eminem album in many ways, we just didn’t know what kind of Eminem we would get.

If you find yourself playing the first half of Eminem’s catalog more than his past few albums, this compilation is not for you. Through the entire first half of ShadyXV (as the second disc is a best hits collection) Eminem recycles his flow, probably best known from his 2013 track ‘Berzerk’. The flo...

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