The Marshall Mathers LP (aka MMLP) is the third studio album by American rapper Eminem, released on May 23, 2000, by Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records. The album was produced mostly by Dr. Dre and Eminem, along with The 45 King, the Bass Brothers, and Mel-Man. Recorded over a two-month period in several studios around Detroit, the album features more introspective lyricism, including Eminem’s thoughts on his rise from rags to riches, the criticism of his music, and his estrangement from his family and wife. A transgressive work, it incorporates horrorcore and hardcore hip hop, while also featuring satirical songs.
Featured appearances include Dido, RBX, Sticky Fingaz, Bizarre, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, Nate Dogg, and D12.
Release date: 23 May 2000
More about the album
The Marshall Mathers LP has been included in several lists of the greatest albums of all time and is widely regarded as Eminem’s best album. It has sold 21 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time and certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It was nominated for Album of the Year and won Best Rap Album at the 2001 Grammy Awards, while “The Real Slim Shady” won Best Rap Solo Performance. Albums sequel The Marshall Mathers LP 2 was released in 2013, some 13 years later.
The Slim Shady LP (1999) turned Eminem from an underground rapper into a high-profile celebrity and The Marshall Mathers LP, about a year later, only further established his position at the top.
So much so, that Eminem became uncomfortable with the level of fame he had achieved, and said:
“I don’t trust nobody now because everybody I meet is meeting me as Eminem… I don’t know if they are hanging with me ’cause they like me or because I’m a celebrity or because they think they can get something from me.”— Eminem on being uncomfortable with fame and trusting new people he meets and hangs out with
Fun fact: ‘Amsterdam’
Eminem considered naming the album Amsterdam after a trip to the Dutch city shortly after the release of The Slim Shady LP, in which he and his friends engaged in heavy drug use. The “free” and unobstructed use of drugs Eminem observed during his time in Amsterdam greatly influenced his desire to openly discuss drug use in his music and inspired some of the content on the album.
Track listing – Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP
|1.||“Public Service Announcement 2000” (performed by Jeff Bass and Eminem)||Marshall Mathers, Jeff Bass||Eminem, F.B.T.||0:25|
|2.||“Kill You”||Mathers, Andre Young, Melvin Bradford||Dr. Dre, Mel-Man||4:24|
|3.||“Stan” (featuring Dido)||Mathers, Dido Armstrong, Paul Herman||The 45 King, Eminem[a]||6:44|
|4.||“Paul” (skit) (performed by Paul “Bunyan” Rosenberg)||Mathers, Paul Rosenberg||0:10|
|5.||“Who Knew”||MathersYoungBradford||Dr. Dre, Mel-Man||3:47|
|6.||“Steve Berman” (skit) (performed by Eminem and Steve Berman)||Mathers, Young, Bradford, Rosenberg, Dean Geistlinger||Dr. Dre, Mel-Man||0:53|
|7.||“The Way I Am”||Mathers||Eminem||4:50|
|8.||“The Real Slim Shady”||Mathers, Young, Bradford, Tommy Coster, Mike Elizondo||Dr. Dre, Mel-Man||4:44|
|9.||“Remember Me?” (featuring RBX and Sticky Fingaz)||Mathers, Young, Eric Collins, Kirk Jones||Dr. Dre, Mel-Man||3:38|
|10.||“I’m Back”||Mathers, Young, Bradford||Dr. Dre, Mel-Man||5:10|
|11.||“Marshall Mathers”||Mathers, Bass Brothers||Eminem, F.B.T.||5:20|
|12.||“Ken Kaniff” (skit)||Mathers||Dr. Dre, Mel-Man||1:01|
|13.||“Drug Ballad” (featuring Dina Rae[b])||Mathers, Bass Brothers||Eminem, F.B.T.||5:00|
|14.||“Amityville” (featuring Bizarre)||Mathers, Bass Brothers, Rufus Johnson||Eminem, F.B.T.||4:14|
|15.||“Bitch Please II” (featuring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit and Nate Dogg)||Mathers, Young, Bradford, Mike Elizondo, Calvin Broadus, Alvin Joyner||Dr. Dre||4:48|
|16.||“Kim”||Mathers, Bass Brothers||F.B.T.||6:17|
|17.||“Under the Influence” (featuring D12)||Mathers, DeShaun Holton, Johnson, Ondre Moore, Von Carlisle, Denaun Porter||Eminem, F.B.T.||5:21|
|18.||“Criminal”||Mathers, Bass Brothers||Eminem, F.B.T.||5:18|
^[a] signifies a co-producer
^[b] Dina Rae goes uncredited as being featured
^[c] signifies a remixer
Singles and music videos (MMLP)
“The Real Slim Shady”
“The Way I Am”
Album Cover – Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP
The cover art displays Eminem sitting on the porch of his teenage years home. Despite his his recent success, or perhaps even more because of it, going back to his childhood house makes him nostalgic. He commented on the cover and photo shoot by saying:
I had mixed feelings because I had a lot of good and bad memories in that house. But to go back where I grew up and finally say, “I’ve made it”, is the greatest feeling in the world to me.— Eminem
Album front cover (MMLP)
The same house is also used in the album The Marshall Mathers LP 2, the sequel to this album. The only significant difference is that Marshall is no longer sitting on the porch in that one.
Album back cover (MMLP)
On the back of ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’ we can see Marshall sitting with a pen and a notepad writing what we can only assume are the song lyrics. The picture gives a sense of calm, which is ironic, seeing as what he’s writing is most likely anything but (Kim??).
Alternative album cover
The original cover of the album, which shows Eminem sitting on the floor, covered with a blanket, in an almost fetal position, next to un-descript pills and a bottle of alcohol. This was the initial cover for the explicit version, which was later changed due to the controversy it caused. It’s pretty difficult to find a CD with this cover these days, though it is still used on most streaming platforms.
Limited Edition / Tour Edition cover (MMLP)
The cover for the Limited Edition / Tour Edition of the album, released in 2001 with an extra CD (which included the explicit version of The Kids) and a poster. This image can also be found in the booklet of the original version of the MMLP album.
Two of the pages from the booklet that comes with the CD. In the picture above are Eminem and his D12 friends.
Like its predecessor, The Marshall Mathers LP was surrounded by significant controversy upon its release, while at the same time it’s also what propelled Eminem to the forefront of American and World pop culture back then, and further established his position now. Criticism revolved mainly around lyrics that were considered violent, homophobic and misogynistic. There’s also a reference to the Columbine High School massacre that some people found insensitive, or worse. Lynne Cheney (Dick Cheney’s wife) criticized the lyrics at a United States Senate hearing:
“I want to focus on one company, Seagram, that is currently marketing Eminem, a rap singer who advocates murder and r*pe. He talks about murdering and r*ping his mother. He talks about choking women slowly so he can hear their screams for a long time. He talks about using O.J.’s machete on women, and this is a man who is honored by the recording industry.”—Lynne Cheney about Eminem during a US Senate hearing
Cheney delved into specific Eminem lyrics during her time with the committee, especially concentrating on his track “Kill You.”
“He begins by describing the satisfaction of r*ping and murdering his mother and then goes on to imagine the joys of murdering any woman he might come across. ‘Wives, nuns, sluts,’ whoever ‘the bitches’ might be, he will kill them slowly, leaving enough air in their lungs so their screaming will be prolonged. He will paint the forest with their blood. ‘I got the machete from O.J.,’ he shouts, ‘Bitch, I’m a kill you.'”—Lynne Cheney about Eminem and ‘Kill You’ during a US Senate hearing
While the Canadian government considered refusing Eminem’s entry into the country…
What do critics have to say about The Marshall Mathers LP?
Much of the album is spent addressing his rise to fame and attacking those who criticized his previous album, The Slim Shady LP.
Needless to say, The Marshall Mathers LP was met with highly positive reviews. Despite the controversy of the album, it received acclaim from critics, who praised Eminem’s lyrical ability and considered the album to have emotional depth.
At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 78, based on 21 reviews.
Rolling Stone magazine’s Touré applauded Dr. Dre’s production and Eminem’s varied lyrical style on what is a “car-crash record: loud, wild, dangerous, out of control, grotesque, unsettling”, but ultimately captivating.
Melody Maker wrote that Eminem’s startlingly intense vision of “rap’s self-consciousness” is truly unique,
while Steve Sutherland of NME praised the album as a misanthropic and “gruelling assault course of lyrical genius” that critiques malevolent aspects of contemporary society.
Chuck Eddy from The Village Voice said that Eminem is backed by attractive music and displays an emotionally complex and witting quality unlike his previous work.
In the newspaper’s consumer guide column, Robert Christgau called him “exceptionally witty and musical, discernibly thoughtful and good-hearted, indubitably dangerous and full of shit”, while declaring the album “a work of art whose immense entertainment value in no way compromises its intimations of a pathology that’s both personal and political”.
Will Hermes of Entertainment Weekly wrote that as the first significant popular music album of the 2000s, The Marshall Mathers LP is “indefensible and critic-proof, hypocritical and heartbreaking, unlistenable and undeniable”.
Not everyone enjoyed the subject matter
On the other hand, music journalist Greg Kot said his reaction to The Marshall Mathers LP was “mixed”, or reluctantly positive, among critics who praised Eminem’s “verbal skills and transgressive humor” but decried some of the subject matter.
In his review for the Los Angeles Times, Robert Hilburn reserved his praise because of homophobic lyrics on what he felt is an otherwise conceptual and personal work, “docked a half star because of the recurring homophobia—something that may be de rigueur in commercial rap, but which still is unacceptable.”
Steve Jones of USA Today wrote that Eminem’s “vicious and patently personal lyrical assaults” would “almost grow tedious if he weren’t as inventive as he is tasteless.”
Q magazine felt that the subject matter does not make for an enjoyable listen, even though Eminem’s disaffected and nihilistic lyrics can be provocative.
Slant Magazine‘s Sal Cinquemani was more critical in a one-and-a-half star review and found his raps extremely distasteful: “The only thing worse than Eminem’s homophobia is the immaturity with which he displays it”.
On the other hand, Spin felt that the rapping is excellent, but plagued more so by unremarkable music and lackluster tracks.
Clearly homophobia is a recurring theme of the negative reviews, where reviewers focus on just one part of the story, disregarding the rest. Perhaps the often quoted immaturity goes both ways after all?
Among other publications however, Rolling Stone and Melody Maker named The Marshall Mathers LP the best album of 2000.
In 2000, the album won in the Best Album category at the MTV Europe Music Awards.
It also won in the Best Rap Album category at the 43rd Grammy Awards in 2001. The Marshall Mathers LP was also nominated for Album of the Year, but lost to jazz-rock duo Steely Dan’s Two Against Nature.