February 23rd, 1999 marks the release date of Eminem’s major label debut, The Slim Shady LP. Though not as commercially successful as his follow-up, The Marshall Mathers LP, this record is nothing short of a classic in its own right. It debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 on its way to quadruple-platinum status. It was also the first of Eminem’s 7 victories, to date, at the Grammys for Best Rap Album. It’s hard to overstate the importance of this album, given that it introduced the world to Marshall’s crass, outlandish, and violent alter ego. Fans of all walks of life could not help but take notice of Em’s quirky but captivating lead single, “My Name Is…”, where among other shenanigans, he rips Pamela Lee’s tits off and can’t figure out which Spice Girl he wants to impregnate.
A complete work, the album features artistic variance, content balance, and entertaining skits with Shady’s manager, Paul Rosenberg, not being able to control Eminem’s comedic debauchery. While The Slim Shady LP inevitably offended some, I always chose to appreciate and laugh at how Eminem didn’t take himself too seriously, as evidenced by the self-deprecating tone of tracks like “Role Model” and “Brain Damage”. Combine that with Em’s top-notch lyricism and Dr. Dre’s sonic and conceptual guidance, and what results is a timeless album that’s just as good a listen today as it was back in ’99. As such, major props are in order for Eminem for dropping a groundbreaking record.