After four years of relative silence, Eminem is back with a brand new solo album and it looks like he´s bringing some old friends along for the ride.
Relapse, due to drop May 19th, is expected to have all of the usual charm expected from Eminem, his alter ego Slim Shady, and of course his long time collaborator Dr. Dre. And by charm I mean plenty of dirty language, potshots at our favorite celebrities and a few homicidal benders.
The Slim Shady LP, Eminem´s first big solo effort back in 1999, introduced the world to his very controversial, but brilliant skills, not to mention his infamous alter ego Slim Shady. The album was enormously successful, going triple platinum by the end of the year, but equally divisive due to its *ahem* strong content. Many of his singles, Guilty Conscience, either described how to go about murder, or at least highly encouraged some kind of violence, and usually towards the female sex. Eminem´s decided misogyny was even enough to get him into Bernard Goldberg´s book 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (though when considering Michael Moore was number one, it sounds like quite an honor to me).
Eminem went on to offend even more people with his 2000 album, The Marshal Mathers LP, though apparently it wasn´t nasty enough to hurt his sales. It became the fastest selling hip hop album in history, surpassing The Dogg himself. His first single off the album, The Real Slim Shady got attention for roasting all kinds of celebrities from Christina Aguilera to Will Smith. But the true hit from Eminem´s second album was Stan, which sampled Dido´s Thank you, another twisted little rap story about a guy and his killing spree. The song was received with high acclaim, making it on to several lists that named it one of the best rap songs of all time, including number 290 on Rolling Stone´s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
After The Marshal Mathers LP, it seemed Eminem lightened up a little bit on the whole killing spree theme with his next two albums, The Eminem Show in 2002 and Encore in 2004. Without Me seemed to be a continuation of The Real Slim Shady, with pot shots at Limp Bizkit and groups like the Backstreet Boys. The single Just Lose it off Encore really hit its mark, creating all kinds of drama with its lead target, Michael Jackson. But we also got the chance to experience what you might call Slim´s softer side with Hailie´s Song and Mockingbird.
As we slowly learn more about Relapse, it looks like Eminem is giving us a taste of all his usual tricks. Dr. Dre produced the majority of the album, and both he and 50 Cent get in on a few of the tracks. The first single, We Made You, rips on the latest pop stars including some personal faves Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. Though according to Eminem on MTV News, the real sound of the album is a bit darker, including the already leaked single 3 a.m. which takes us back to the I´m gonna murder my girlfriend while she´s sleeping feeling of 97 Bonnie and Clyde and Guilty Conscious. We´ll just have to wait until May 19th to see what kind of exciting controversy Eminem is going to stir up this time.