eMusic Review 0
Lots of great rappers have begun their first albums with a memorable, statement-of-purpose line. Very few, however, manage to compress their essence into seven syllables. "Hi, kids! Do you like violence?": Everything was present, somehow, in the first line of "My Name Is," the first song on The Slim Shady LP. The shock humor, the Whoopee-Cushion whine of the voice, the self-appointed role as cheerful corruptor of youth, the intriguingly off-kilter slant rhyme ("violence" telescopes into "vi-lence" to fit the meter); in a split second, Eminem springs into view like paper snakes from a novelty peanuts can.
That song, his breakout hit, is a lurching, rhythmically unstable piece of music; the beat keeps doing a cartoon kersplat, slipping on a banana peel of a keyboard line, while Eminem's rapping seems to be struggling against the very notion of a downbeat. He would later criticize his performance on his early records: "I was always falling off the beat," he lamented to XXL in 2004 — but the odd littered pauses heighten the unpredictability. The video's visual accompaniment — a shot of Mathers jerking spastically in a strait jacket filmed through a fisheye lens — reinforced the vibe: antic, volatile, barely contained. It… read more »