His debut, The Slim Shady LP, established Eminem as a major force in both hip-hop and broader contemporary culture, but there was still doubt as to whether he would be the latest in a string of short-lived white rap novelties. The Marshall Mathers LP raised the stakes, raised his profile, and damn near raised the dead. Eminem delivered dizzying, blistering rhymes that laid bare his neuroses, his fury, and his confusion. He jumped from laugh-out-loud funny to chillingly menacing from one line to the next, and went after his critics (“The Way I Am”) and his fans (“Stan,” the mesmerizing high-wire act in a stalker’s voice) with equal fever.
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