“The Eminem Show”, the third album from Eminem’s remarkable trilogy, was to me his finest. At 8x platinum, it was definitely his most successful. Much more than commercial accolades however, Em wanted respect; recognition from hip hop aficionados that he deserved to be mentioned on rap’s short list of elites. The record was his all-out attempt to leave his mark on the genre. I’d say: mission accomplished. Compared to “Slim Shady” and “Marshall Mathers” this record was much more understated, Em dialed down his desire for shock value in search of flawless song crafting and intense soul searching. On tracks like “Sing For the Moment” and “Till I Collapse” he rapped with unabashed earnestness. He even broke into song on several occasions, wailing convincingly on “Hailey’s Song” and “Cleaning Out My Closet”.
Throughout the entire, largely self-produced effort his lyrics were razor sharp. The head-spinningly complex rhymes were by now taken for granted (re-listen to “Business” and “Square Dance” to remind yourself just how good this guy is). But what most people missed was his unique ability to manipulate his voice -- pitch, speed, rhythm, etc. -- to convey desired emotions, from frustration to anger to twisted humor. If this record didn’t provide enough evidence to add Eminem to your G.O.A.T. list then nothing he ever does ever will.