Eminem – The Eminem Show (Interscope)
I feel there are two vital aspects to Eminem’s music.
1) Em is the most introspective, self-critical, provocative, important rapper ever. His confessional lyrics dig deeper into his own life than anyone has ever dared to do. He ignores the bling-bling concerns of his contemporaries and focuses on his own demons with an untiring eye. His ever more critical gaze has given hip-hop its first real existential individualist. And he does all this in a vocal style that stretches itself to find new ways to fit over, under and around beats and with rhymes that play on every aspect of the words he says: sound, spelling, pronunciation, etc. He is simply the most creative rapper perhaps in the history of the genre.
2) You can’t dance to it.*
* With the exceptions of “Business,” “Without Me” and possibly “Squaredance.”