The saying that an artist spends a lifetime making their first album might be cliché, but it still doesn’t make it any less true. And exactly fifteen years ago today, Eminem released his proper debut, The Slim Shady LP – an album that superbly showcased years of struggle, a razor sharp wit, and rap skills worthy of Dr. Dre’s beats and midas touch.
In honor of The Slim Shady LP’s 15th anniversary, AllHipHop.com has come up with a list of 15 things about Eminem from before and during the creation of it that not only turned the project into one of the 90’s last great rap albums, but also helped shape Eminem into the icon that he is today.
Respect due to one of the most successful artists ever for the album which started that ascent and the lifelong journey which went into it.
15). During grade school, Eminem was beaten up so badly once by a school bully, D’Angelo Bailey, that he fell into a coma. On “Brain Damage,” Eminem got his revenge for that beating and others by hitting him over the head with a broomstick til he broke the wood. In 2001, Bailey sued Eminem for $1 million dollars for invasion of privacy and slander. Two years later, the case was thrown out of court by a Judge who delivered that ruling in the form of a rap.
14). Eminem was first introduced to Hip-Hop at age nine when his Uncle Ronnie played him “Reckless” by Ice-T.
13). Kid Rock released his debut, Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast, in 1990, and he was doing an in-store in Detroit not long after when he was approached by Eminem who challenged him to a rap battle. Rock encouraged him to slow down his flow. Years later, but before The Slim Shady LP, the two collaborated on “F**k Off” from Kid Rock’s breakthrough album, Devil Without a Cause.
12). When Eminem heard Treach rhyme, he wanted to stop rapping. Eminem once said, “Proof (Em’s friend and fellow Detroit rapper) brought over the Naughty by Nature tape and played it for me. When I heard “Yoke the Joker” and then “Wickedest Man Alive” came next, I was like, ‘Okay, I don’t want to do this anymore. I ain’t that good.’”
11). One of Eminem’s first crews, Soul Intent, released a single called “F***in’ Backstabber.” The song also featured Proof. Around that same time, the all-star collective, D12, was put together. The group included Proof, Mr. Porter, Bizarre, Kon Artis, Swift, and Bugz – while Eminem was just a transitional member. But after Bugz’s untimely passing in 1999, Em officially joined D12.
10). Mr. Porter produced all of Eminem’s 1996 release, Infinite, and Proof did the drum programming.
9). Infinite put Eminem in a position where he was being compared to Nas and AZ. However, that should come as no surprise since, as Eminem once pointed out when discussing his beginnings as a rapper, “I was making raps to other people’s songs. I remember especially writing a lot to Nas’ first album.”
8). After Infinite was not a success, Eminem hit a really rough patch. He was broke, had been evicted, his girlfriend, Kim, also left him and took their daughter, Hailie, with her. And in December 1996, he attempted suicide. The event was even commented on (albeit playfully) in “Cum on Everybody” at the beginning of the second verse. “I tried suicide once and I’ll try it again / That’s why I write songs where I die at the end.”
7). According to Eminem, he thought of the name Slim Shady while on the toilet. “”Boom, the name hit me, and right away I thought of all these words to rhyme with it,” he explained in a 1999 interview with Rolling Stone. “So I wiped my ass, got up off the pot and, ah, went and called everybody I knew.” And while “Just Don’t Give a F**k” is certainly a standout on The Slim Shady LP, it first appeared on The Slim Shady EP. It was there that Em’s new alter-ego really emerged.
6). Eminem was invited to The Rap Olympics in 1997, a nationwide Hip-Hop battle in Los Angeles. He didn’t win, but did come in second.
5). In the March 1998 issue of The Source, Eminem appeared in the magazine’s “Unsigned Hype” column. As Riggs Morales put it in the article, “Point blank, this ain’t your average cat. This Motor City kid is a one-of-a-kind talent and he’s about to blow past the competition, leaving many melted microphones in the dust.”
4). Dr. Dre became aware of Eminem when Jimmy Iovine played him Em’s tape after receiving it from an Interscope intern. In 1999, Dre told the press, “In my entire career in the music industry, I have never found anything from a demo tape or a CD. When Jimmy played this, I said, ‘Find him. Now.'”
3). The very first time that Dre and Em worked together in the studio, the majority of the material that they recorded made it on to The Slim Shady LP. In a VH1 documentary series, Dre said, “I met with Eminem up at Interscope, we talked for a little while, and then went to my house and started recording. I think that night we recorded like four songs and three of them went to the album, so we just clicked.” Eminem also commented too by saying, “I had never done that before, making that many songs in that limited time frame that were actually good.”
2). Eminem asked Marilyn Manson to collaborate on “97’ Bonnie & Clyde,” but Manson declined. “He asked me to sing on his first record, and I would have, except that the song he asked me to sing was… too misogynistic. It was the [song] about killing his girlfriend and putting her in a trunk,” the shock rocker told Spin in 2007. “It was on a record I could listen to, but it was too over-the-top for me to associate with. It didn’t represent where I was at.”
1). About a month before The Slim Shady LP hit shelves, the video for “My Name Is” was released and got into heavy rotation on MTV.
And the rest is history.
What do you think of The Slim Shady LP? Where do you think it ranks in Eminem’s discography? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!