Eminem - The Slim Shady EPAfter the failure of Infinite, on a critical and commercial level, Em was at his lowest…

With the birth of his daughter, Hailie – Em had a baby mouth to feed. So, along with trying to provide for himself; his girlfriend (Kim), stay mentally stable and resilient, and make an integral, original mark in hip-hop… he was playing a dangerous balancing act. To quote from “Rock Bottom” – “I feel like I’m walking a tightrope without a circus net / popping Percocets… ”

A realistic, haunting and true summary of his situation around that time. Popping Percocets is exactly what he was doing, and at his lowest point he popped so many, well… a more fitting way to describe it would be to say he, slammed back so many, that he in fact overdosed. Em himself says it wasn’t a fully conscious suicide attempt, in the sense that, he wasn’t necessarily trying to end his life for sure in that moment, he just took a handful of pills and threw them back, in his desperately depressive mind-state.

That song (“Rock Bottom”) was actually written right after that period, which explains the deeply resonant nature of its lyricism. He was really experiencing every word of that horror.

It wouldn’t be included on what would follow however, The Slim Shady EP. This came, in 1997 and, it was really the official birth of Slim Shady. Which, despite people’s best efforts to define as a single character, was really more of a ‘tag’ or title for a certain side to him. It was more – a name to refer to an extreme artistic indulgence, which could take on any form. A lot of people think that it’s an exact, definite character, and they always think back to this first incarnation as if – If Em is not rapping in this nasal tone, about acid and rape that it’s not Slim Shady…

Which, as he’d himself tell you, isn’t the case.

In true accordance to his life, Slim Shady was an outburst, an extreme reaction to extreme depression. A bite back at failure, this is why Em was so ballsy, so full of angst, so abstract and insane. When he screamed “I JUST DON’T GIVE A FUCK”, he really felt that. Slim Shady was the birth of Eminem’s real inner-anger taking on a lyrical life of its own. It’s when he became enraged at dismissal and comparison, racism and rejection. It’s an absolute indulgence in juvenile provocation and reactive rage. But, to sum up Slim Shady as that and that alone, would be a total injustice to everything else it entails…

Slim Shady, or rather, this particular incarnation of Shady was never rage for its own sake. Slim Shady may of been born out of rage, and may often have embodied it but, it was also an encapsulation of tongue-in-cheek jibing. It was the beginning of Em’s fascination with paradoxes, his artistic want to create testing and uncomfortable conflicts within his own music, through the form of character. Slim Shady, in this form, was like a psychotic class clown; Eminem on acid; a murderous jester on an anti-social rampage; a conflicted, comedic nut-case determined to disgust, intrigue, bamboozle, terrify and make you laugh, all at once. It was the beginning of Eminem’s first foray into seriously noteworthy artistic territory, the dumping of the punchlines and rhyming for its own sake and the start of head-spinning provocation – revolutionary rhyming in a cartoon coating.

Em hadn’t totally committed to the abstract yet though.

It was the birth of Shady, but it still had a relatively solid root in reality…

Eminem had decided to let loose and abandon the confines of moral, ethical and historic reality at this point, but it was still very much a darker side to his real-self. Not a total character indulgence, very much an in-and-out ordeal, a self-aware, hypnotic trance of madness which he’d occasionally snap out of to poke fun at, which… he would continue to do, to further extremities. But it was really on his next outing, that Slim Shady became a fully-formed reflection of evil, a relentless bad-boy storyteller narrating his despicable adventures for our own amusement.

What’s of course immediately and importantly significant about The Slim Shady EP is the fact that, it was apparently what made Dr. Dre aware of Eminem. I believe the history goes that, an Interscope intern saw Eminem at the 1997 Rap Olympics (in which Em won 2nd place by the way), asked for a tape and got the EP out of Em’s very own hands. He then passed it on to Jimmy Iovine (head of Interscope), who liked what he heard, so gave to Dr. Dre for full judgement and approval. Dr. Dre was blown away and went on the hunt for Eminem. After finding Slim, he immediately flew him to Los Angeles and signed him to his Aftermath label. Up next: The Slim Shady LP

2 thoughts to “The Evolution of Eminem – The Slim Shady EP

  • varroz

    Very informative, it was a pleasure to read this indeed… Damn, I feel that Infinite should have gotten waaay more recognition- I actually really enjoy it. But still, nothing like a little bit of Slim Shady, lol.

    Fantastic job at blogging – will definitely drop by again.

    Reply
  • Waqas

    As always a Good read Embase.
    Keep blogging lol
    Patiently waiting for the next one bro.

    Reply

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