Apple Music 100 Best Albums

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The Marshall Mathers LP



Provocative, catchy, and engineered to piss off the world.

By Eminem’s own admission, The Marshall Mathers LP was a peak. He was already a lightning rod after his legend-making The Slim Shady LP a year prior, but here his provocations were more provocative (the ultraviolence of “Kim”), his catchier moments among the catchiest in early-2000s pop (“The Real Slim Shady”). And if you didn’t think he was capable of something as complex and empathetic as “Stan”—which did nothing less than invent one of 21st-century pop culture’s most inescapable words—it’s as acute in its portrayal of everyday desperation as a Springsteen tune.

“I rap to be the best rapper…When you push yourself like that, that’s what inspires greatness.”


That said, the album also found Eminem working against himself by using homophobic slurs to insult his detractors. Such jokes diluted the bigger point he wanted to make—that he was being made a scapegoat for bigger problems. “Wasn’t me, Slim Shady said to do it again,” he rapped on “Who Knew,” channeling a teenage gunman. “Damn, how much damage can you do with a pen?” A year earlier, Eminem claimed that God had sent him to piss the world off. The Marshall Mathers LP brought him one giant step closer.