Eminem reissues breakout album ‘The Slim Shady LP,’ adding bonus tracks

SHARE Eminem reissues breakout album ‘The Slim Shady LP,’ adding bonus tracks
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Eminem is marking the 20-year anniversary of the 1999 release of his breakthrough “The Slim Shady LP” with an expanded reissue. | Ashlee Rezin / Sun-Times

Few introductions in music history have been more blunt: “Hi! My name is!”

With that opening line, Slim Shady sent himself hurtling into fame, bringing Eminem aka Marshall Mathers along for the ride.

“The Slim Shady LP” was released 20 years ago, and, the singer says, he’s marking the anniversary by reissuing the album, with added bonus tracks.

It was a raw parental-advisory-plastered shock wave of a major-label debut.

Speaking mostly through his alter ego, a character he dubbed Slim Shady, Detroit rapper Eminem dished up knife-edged wit, pop-culture savvy and deep dives into his own turbulent psyche and domestic life. In its blurring of fantasy and reality, the album provoked accusations of homophobia and glorification of drugs and violence.

Produced by hip-hop heavyweight Dr. Dre and Detroit’s aspiring Bass Brothers, it was a pop crossover smash and a glimpse of rap brilliance.

“The Slim Shady LP” — which sold 5.5 million copies in the United States and garnered solid reviews — started it all for Eminem, propelling him into pop culture stardom. Still living part-time in a trailer when the album was released, the introspective 26-year-old was suddenly navigating an ascent — or plunge — into fame.

A white kid from the majority-black Motor City, Eminem was about to become the most prominent, most discussed, most dissected music figure in the world. He would finish the next decade as the era’s top-selling artist, and he was regularly classed among hip-hop’s all-time best.

Former Eminem manager Marc Kempf remembers that, at the time, though, “He was starting to consider: ‘Should I just give this up and keep flipping burgers?’ ”

By early April, “The Slim Shady LP” had been certified gold. By month’s end, it was double platinum— for 2 million copies distributed. The album was still flying high when Dr. Dre dropped “The Chronic 2001” in November, featuring memorable spots by Eminem.

By year’s end, Eminem had formed Shady Records — a label that helped put his longtime Detroit comrades D12, including his friends Kuniva and Proof, on the global map.

“I’m really nostalgic listening to [‘The Slim Shady LP’] because it puts you back in that late ’90s era,” Kuniva says. “It was the ultimate introduction, with that caliber of music and lyricism. Eminem was so detailed with his storytelling, so precise, and it was just a setup for what was to come.

“It was the best that it could be at the time. I think he ended up topping it by a million times.”

Read more at USA Today.

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