The Marshall Mathers LP

The Marshall Mathers LP
Studio album by Eminem
Released May 23, 2000
Recorded August 1999 - April 2000 at The Mix House, Encore Studios, Larrabee Sound Studio, The Record Plant, 54 Sound
Genre Hip hop
Length 72:14
Label Aftermath, Interscope
Producer Dr. Dre (exec.)
Mel-Man, Bass Brothers, Eminem, The 45 King
Eminem chronology
The Slim Shady LP
The Marshall Mathers LP
The Eminem Show
Alternative covers
Limited edition cover
Singles from The Marshall Mathers LP
  1. "The Real Slim Shady"
    Released: May 16, 2000
  2. "The Way I Am"
    Released: September 7, 2000
  3. "Stan"
    Released: December 9, 2000

The Marshall Mathers LP is the third studio album by American rapper Eminem. Released May 23, 2000, the album sold more than 1.76 million copies in its first week just in the US.[1] In 2001, the album won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album and was nominated for Album of the Year. The album was certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America in the United States with shipments over 10 million.[2][3] As of 2005 the album had sold over 19 million units worldwide.[4]

The Marshall Mathers LP has been ranked as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all-time by such magazines as Rolling Stone,[5] Time,[6] and XXL.[7][8] Rolling Stone placed the album at number 7 on its list of the best albums of the 2000s.[9] The album was ranked number 302 by Rolling Stone on their list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[10] In 2010, Rhapsody named it the #1 record on the "The 10 Best Albums by White Rappers" list.[11]




In the album's title, The Marshall Mathers LP is a more serious and personal album than his major-label debut, The Slim Shady LP, which predominantly featured his Slim Shady persona. Much of the album is spent addressing his rise to fame and attacking those who criticized his previous album. Other themes include his relationship with his family, most notably his mother and Kim Mathers, his former wife.[12]

Lyrical content

The Marshall Mathers LP was released in both clean and explicit versions. However, some lyrics of the album are censored even on its explicit version. Some songs are censored because of events surrounding the album's release. Unlike Eminem's debut, The Slim Shady LP, The Marshall Mathers LP is more introspective in its lyrics and less of the Slim Shady persona. Most songs cover Eminem's childhood struggles and family issues, involving his mother ("Kill You"),[13] the relationship struggles with his wife ("Kim"),[13] his struggles with his superstardom and expectations ("Stan","I'm Back",& "Marshall Mathers"),[13] his return and effect on the music industry ("Remember Me?", "Bitch Please II"),[13] his drug use ("Drug Ballad"),[13] his effect on the American youth and society ("The Way I Am", "Who Knew"),[13] and reactionary barbs to critical response of his vulgarity and dark themes ("Criminal").[13] Throughout the entire album, the listener is presented with a mix of dark themes, controversy, and life stories, with Eminem intentionally blurring the lines between fact and fiction. Despite the large amount of controversy regarding the lyrics, the lyrics on the album were overwhelmingly well-received among critics and the hip-hop community, many praising Eminem's verbal energy and dense rhyme patterns.[14][15] Eminem went on to answer his critics more frequently in some of his later works.

The album contains various lyric samples and references. It features a number of lines mimicking songs from Eric B. & Rakim's album Paid in Full. The chorus to "The Way I Am" resembles lines from the song "As the Rhyme Goes On",[16] and the first two lines from the third verse of "I'm Back" are based on lines from "My Melody".[17] In "Marshall Mathers" Eminem parodies the song "Summer Girls" by LFO when he says "New Kids on the Block sucked a lotta dick, boy-girl groups make me sick/ and I can't wait till I catch all you faggots in public, I'mma love it" singing the same melody of the "Summer Girls", when the original line is "New Kids on the Block had a bunch of hits, Chinese food makes me sick".[18]

Clean version

The clean version of the album is only slightly censored, as it leaves words like "ass", "shit", "bitch" uncensored. The only censored profanities are "fuck" and a few other words which were deemed inappropriate and which are normally either backmasked or blanked, such as "nigga". However, the line from "The Real Slim Shady", "fuck him and fuck you too" was bleeped out as a reference/joke on television censorship. The only content significantly edited were offensive and violent parts that were aimed at police, prostitutes, women, gays, and schools such as Columbine, and even the names of guns were censored out, along with the sound effects of guns firing bullets is completely cut (in response to the recent Columbine massacre). Explicit drug content and alcohol references are also removed. On many copies, the 25-second "Public Service Announcement" is shortened to just two seconds of silence. On other copies though, the track is still left fully intact. On the clean version, the song "Kim" was completely removed because of the violent messages aimed at his then wife and was replaced with the South Park themed song "The Kids", which was about not doing drugs.[15]


Much of the first half of the album is produced by Dr. Dre and Mel-Man,[19] who typically employ sparse, stripped-down beats, allowing Eminem's rapping to take center stage. Bass Brothers and Eminem produced most of the second half,[19] which ranges from the laid-back guitars of "Marshall Mathers" to the gritty atmosphere of "Amityville." The only outside producer on the album is The 45 King, who sampled a verse from Dido's song "Thank You" for "Stan", while adding a slow bass line.[19]


Commercial performance

During the first week of sales, the album sold 1.76 million copies, becoming the fastest-selling rap album in history, more than doubling the previous record held by Snoop Dogg's 1993 debut Doggystyle, and topping Britney Spears' record for highest one-week sales by any solo artist.[1] The album sold 800,000 in its second week, 598,000 in its third week, and 519,000 in its fourth week for a four week total of 3.65 million, and became one of few albums to sell over half a million copies for four consecutive weeks. It finished out the year 2000 as the second highest selling album of the year with over 7.9 million sold.[20] In 2010, the Nielsen Company reported that up until November 2009, the album had sold 10,216,000 units in the US, making it the fourth-best selling album of the decade.[21] As of July 17, 2011, it was the best selling rap album ever in the USA with 10,465,000 copies sold.[22]

Critical response

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[23]
Robert Christgau (A)[24]
Entertainment Weekly (A−)[25]
NME (9/10)[26]
PopMatters (favorable)[27]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars (2000)[28]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars (2004)[29]
Slant Magazine 1.5/5 stars[30]
Sputnikmusic 5/5 stars[31]
The Village Voice (favorable)[32]

Upon its release, the album received positive reviews from most music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 79, based on 20 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[33] Chuck Eddy of The Village Voice gave it a rave review and noted "a self-awareness and emotional complexity... that Eminem previously seemed incapable of".[32] In his consumer guide for The Village Voice, critic Robert Christgau gave The Marshall Mathers LP an A rating,[24] indicating "a record that rarely flags for more than two or three tracks. Not every listener will feel what it's trying to do, but anyone with ears will agree that it's doing it".[34] Christgau called Eminem "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".[24] Allmusic called the album fairly brilliant and noted its production for its liquid basslines, slight sound effects, and spacious soundscapes.[23] NME gave the album a 9 out of 10 rating and described it as a "[g]ruelling assault course of lyrical genius".[26] Entertainment Weekly commended the album for its diversity, calling it "indefensible and critic-proof, hypocritical and heartbreaking, unlistenable and undeniable" and "the first great pop record of the 21st century".[25]

In a largely negative review, Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine found Eminem "repugnant" and panned his lyrics, stating "The only thing worse than Eminem's homophobia is the immaturity with which he displays it".[30] Spin gave the album a mixed review and viewed his rhymes as "outstanding", but ultimately found its beats "mediocre" and called the album "musically, not all that noteworthy".[33] In a restrospective review, Sputnikmusic staff writer Nick Butler noted the album as culturally significant to American popular music and stated "Even if you ignore the album's importance, it remains a truly special album, unique in rap's canon, owing its spirit to rock and its heritage to rap, in a way I've rarely heard".[31] Online music magazine Pitchfork Media placed The Marshall Mathers LP at number 119 on their list of top 200 albums of the 2000s.[35]

The album won Best Rap Album at the Grammy Awards in 2001.[36] It won Best Album at the 2000 MTV Europe Music Awards.[37]


On October 26, 2000, Eminem was to perform at a concert in Toronto's Skydome.[38] However, Ontario Attorney General Jim Flaherty argued that Canada should stop Eminem at the border. "I personally don't want anyone coming to Canada who will come here and advocate violence against women," he said.[38] Flaherty claims to have been "disgusted" when reading transcriptions of Eminem's song "Kill You", which includes lines like "Slut, you think I won't choke no whore/till the vocal cords don't work in her throat no more?"[38] Eminem's fans argued that this was a matter of free speech and that he was unfairly singled out.[38] Michael Bryant suggested that the government let Eminem perform and then prosecute him for violating Canada's hate crime laws, despite the fact that Canada's hate-crime legislation does not include violence against women.[39] In a Globe and Mail editorial, author Robert Everett-Green wrote, "Being offensive is Eminem's job description."[40] Eminem was granted entry into Canada.[41]

A 2001 and 2004 study by Edward Armstrong found that of the 14 songs on The Marshall Mathers LP eleven contain violent and misogynistic lyrics and nine depict killing women through choking, stabbing, drowning, shooting, head and throat splitting. According to the study, Eminem scores 78% for violent misogyny while gangsta rap music in general reaches 22%.[42][43] Armstrong argues that violent misogyny characterizes most of Eminem's music and that the rapper "authenticates his self-presentations by outdoing other gangsta rappers in terms of his violent misogyny."[43]

Protests against the album's content reached a climax when it was nominated for four Grammy Awards in 2001 including Album of the Year, marking the first time a hardcore rap album was ever nominated in this category.[8] At the ceremony, Eminem performed "Stan" in a duet with openly gay artist Elton John playing piano and singing the chorus, as a response to claims by GLAAD and others who claimed his lyrics were homophobic. GLAAD did not change its position, however, and spoke out against Elton John's decision.[44] Despite significant protests and debate, The Marshall Mathers LP went on to win Best Rap Album.

In 2002, French jazz pianist Jacques Loussier filed a $10 million lawsuit against Eminem, claiming the beat for "Kill You" was stolen from his song.[45]


"The Real Slim Shady" was the first single released from The Marshall Mathers LP. The song was a hit, becoming Eminem's first chart topper in some countries, and garnering much attention for insulting various celebrities. The chorus is: "I'm Slim Shady, yes I'm the real Shady/All you other Slim Shadys are just imitating/So won't the real Slim Shady please stand up, please stand up, please stand up?"

"The Way I Am" was released as the second single from The Marshall Mathers LP. "The Way I Am" features a much darker sound and much deeper subject matter than "The Real Slim Shady". It features the first beat Eminem produced on his own, featuring an ominous bassline, a piano loop, and chimes. In the song, Eminem lashes out at people he feels are putting too much pressure on him, including overzealous fans and record executives expecting him to top the success of his hit single "My Name Is". He also shares thoughts on the Columbine school shooting.[46] Marilyn Manson is mentioned in the song in the lines: "When a dude's getting bullied and shoots up his school/And they blame it on Marilyn/And the heroin/Where were the parents at?/And look where it's at/Middle America, now it's a tragedy/Now it's so sad to see/An upper-class city/having this happening."[46] The video features Marilyn Manson with the word "WAR" scrawled on his stomach. The two later toured together performing the song at their own concerts, and often making appearances on stage even when not singing the song. During the chorus, Eminem questions his identity in the face of massive amounts of attention from millions of strangers. While his previous album, The Slim Shady LP, was somewhat more cartoonish than this album, and he rapped therein as a distinct character who goes by Slim Shady, his critics believed that Eminem, Marshall Mathers, and Slim Shady were identical. Similar to other musicians and artists who lost their identity in some fictional construct (David Bowie, Alice Cooper), Eminem expresses his doubts about who he has become.

"Stan" was the third single released from The Marshall Mathers LP. It peaked at number one in the United Kingdom and Australia. The song is perhaps Eminem's most critically acclaimed song and has been called a 'cultural milestone'.[47] "Stan" is a story of a fan who is obsessed with Eminem and writes to him but doesn't receive a reply. Stan drives his car off a bridge with his pregnant girlfriend in the trunk. The first three verses are delivered by Stan, the first two in letter form and the third being spoken as he is about to drive off a bridge and is recording a cassette with the intent (but, he realizes too late, not the means) to send it to Eminem. The song makes heavy use of sound effects, with rain and thunder heard in the background, as well as pencil scratchings during the first two verses, and then as Stan drives off the bridge, listeners hear tires screeching and a crashing sound, followed by a splash of water, in a style similar to the 1964 songs "Dead Man's Curve" and "Leader of the Pack". The fourth verse is Eminem responding to Stan, only realizing at the last second that he has heard about Stan's death on the news as he was writing to him. The song was produced by The 45 King and samples the first couple of lines of "Thank You" by Dido as the chorus. "Stan" was ranked number 3 on a list of the greatest rap songs in history by Q,[48] and came in tenth in a similar survey conducted by[49] Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time ranked it number 290. It was also ranked the 270th best song of all time in November 2008 by[50]

Track listing

  • All songs written by Eminem.
No. Title Producer(s) Length
1. "Public Service Announcement 2000" (featuring Jeff Bass)   0:25
2. "Kill You"   Dr. Dre, Mel-Man 4:24
3. "Stan" (featuring Dido) The 45 King, Eminem (co.) 6:43
4. "Paul" (skit) (performed by Paul Rosenberg)   0:10
5. "Who Knew"   Dr. Dre, Mel-Man 3:47
6. "Steve Berman" (skit) (performed by Steve Berman)   0:53
7. "The Way I Am"   Eminem 4:50
8. "The Real Slim Shady"   Dr. Dre, Mel-Man 4:44
9. "Remember Me?" (featuring RBX & Sticky Fingaz) Dr. Dre, Mel-Man 3:38
10. "I'm Back"   Dr. Dre, Mel-Man 5:10
11. "Marshall Mathers"   Bass Brothers, Eminem 5:20
12. "Ken Kaniff" (skit)   1:01
13. "Drug Ballad"   Bass Brothers, Eminem 5:00
14. "Amityville" (featuring Bizarre) Bass Brothers 4:14
15. "Bitch Please II" (featuring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit & Nate Dogg) Dr. Dre, Mel-Man 4:48
16. "Kim"   Bass Brothers 6:17
17. "Under the Influence" (performed by D12) Bass Brothers, Eminem 5:22
18. "Criminal"   Bass Brothers, Eminem 5:19
Samples and notes
  • The chorus of "The Way I Am" contains an interpretation from the song "As the Rhyme Goes On" by Eric B. & Rakim.
  • "Stan" samples "Thank You" as performed by Dido.
  • "Steve Berman" contains a sample from "What's the Difference" by Dr. Dre.
  • "I'm Back" contains an interpretation of the song "My Melody" by Eric B. & Rakim.
  • The melody line of "Under the Influence" is somewhat similar to the vocal melody from "Give In to Me" by Michael Jackson.[51]
  • "Drug Ballad" is titled just by "Ballad" on the regular version of the album where he encourages drinking and suicide rates to go up. Although Dina Rae sings some parts in this song, she is not credited in the track listing, although she is mentioned in the album's liner notes.
  • On the clean album version, "Amityville" is 13–14 seconds shorter than the explicit version.
  • "Amityville" contains a sample from the song "Sorcerer of Isis" by Power of Zeus.
  • The cover of both the censored and the uncensored album refer to this track as "B**** Please II".
  • "Kim" contains drum sample from the song "When the Levee Breaks" by Led Zeppelin.
  • "Kill You" is listed as "**** You" on the censored version of the album.
  • "Public Service Announcement 2000" is replaced by 2 seconds of silence on the censored version of the album.
  • On the clean version of the album, "Kim" is replaced with a censored version of "The Kids," which originally came from the CD single of "The Way I Am".


  • Engineering: Rick Behrens, Lynch & the lyrical assasinz, Mike Butler, Chris Conway, Rob Ebeling, Michelle Lynn Forbes, Steven King, Aaron Lepley, James McCrone, Akane Nakamura, Lance Pierre
  • Production: Dr. Dre, DJ Mark the 45 King, Eminem, F.B.T.
  • Production coordination: Larry Chatman, Joe Martin, Les Scurry, Kirdis Tucker
  • Mixing: Chris Conway, Rick Behrens, Mike Butler, Dr. Dre, Rob Ebeling, Eminem, Michelle Lynn Forbes, Akane Nakamura
  • Art direction and design: Jason Noto

Charts and certifications

Chart positions

Chart (2002) Peak
Australian Albums Chart[52] 1
Austrian Albums Chart[53] 1
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders)[54] 1
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia)[54] 3
Canadian Albums Chart[55] 1
Danish Albums Chart[56] 1
Europe Albums chart[57] 1
Finnish Albums Chart[58] 1
French Albums Chart[59] 2
German Albums Chart[60] 3
Hungarian Albums Chart[61] 10
Irish Albums Chart[62] 1
Italian Albums Chart[63] 7
Netherlands (Mega Album Top 100)[64] 2
New Zealand Albums Chart[65] 1
Norwegian Albums Chart[66] 3
Polish Albums Chart[67] 9
Swedish Albums Chart[68] 2
Swiss Albums Chart[69] 2
UK Albums Chart[70] 1
US Billboard 200[71] 1


Country Certification
Argentina[72] Gold
Australia[73] 4×Platinum
Austria[74] Platinum
Belgium[75] 2×Platinum
Brazil[76] Gold
Canada[77] 8×Platinum
Denmark[78] 2×Platinum
Europe[79] 6× Platinum
Finland[80] Platinum
France[81] 2×Platinum
Germany[82] 2×Platinum
Greece[83] Gold
Japan[84] Platinum
Hungary[85] Gold
Mexico[86] Platinum
Netherlands[87] Platinum
New Zealand[88] 5×Platinum
Norway[89] 2×Platinum
Poland[90] Platinum
Sweden[91] 2×Platinum
Switzerland[92] 4×Platinum
United Kingdom[93] 6×Platinum
United States[2] Diamond

Chart precession and succession

Preceded by
Oops!... I Did It Again by Britney Spears
Billboard 200 number-one album
June 10 – August 4, 2000
Succeeded by
Now 4 by Various artists
Preceded by
7 by S Club 7
Alone with Everybody by Richard Ashcroft
UK number one album
July 1, 2000 – July 7, 2000
July 15, 2000 – July 21, 2000
Succeeded by
Alone with Everybody by Richard Ashcroft
Parachutes by Coldplay
Preceded by
Coyote Ugly (OST) by Various artists
Australian ARIA Albums Chart number-one album
March 11, 2001
Succeeded by
No Angel by Dido



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