15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP



Words by Beez

May 23, 2015 will mark 15 years since one of the greatest rap albums of the 21st century, The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem, was released. With the new material, Marshall Mathers, III transformed himself from the jokey “My Name Is” rapper into the biggest hip-hop star in the world, as well as one of the greatest artists of the last 15 years. The album has been well documented, but here are 15 facts you may not know about this classic:

1. Eminem originally toyed with naming the album Amsterdam.

“I just had this thing stuck on for a while about Amsterdam, like ‘Yo, the place is so fuckin’ crazy! Hookers are legal – anything!’ [In] the Red Light District, everything was just kind of … a free-for-all, it felt like. I kind of felt like it had a connection, a similarity with my music, kind of like ‘anything goes.’ So I got on that kick for a while, that I was gonna call the album Amsterdam.”

Source: Respect. (Vol. 1, Issue 3)

2. “Kim” was the first track Em recorded for the album while he was touring for the Slim Shady LP.

“It was, uh, quite intense to see the passion he had. Uh, it was freaky.” – Jeff Bass, producer of “Kim,” reflecting on his initial reaction after Em rapidly turned his musical composition into one of the darkest songs ever recorded.

“I think my jaw hit the floor when I heard that the first time” – Dr. Dre.

Source: “Ultimate Album: The Marshall Mathers LP” (VH1)

3. Em first heard what would become the “Kill You” beat while he was on the phone with Dre and he overheard the instrumental in the background.

With only “Kim” ready for the album, Em ventured to Amsterdam where he “did drugs and wrote,” while producers were busy crafting the productions back in the U.S. Em and Dre were having a conversation about the new album and Dre had what would become the beat to “Kill You” playing in the background. Em asked Dre to send him the beat, and the rest was history.

Source: “Ultimate Album: The Marshall Mathers LP” (VH1)

4. The 45 King got the idea for the “Stan” beat while paying bills, and he recorded the sample from his television.

The 45 King was sitting on his bed paying bills, when the commercial for the film Sliding Doors featuring “Thank You” by Dido came on the television. The 45 King, who appears to be something of a freakish genius, taped the track from his television without knowing anything about Dido, looped it into a beat, and sent it over to Interscope.

Source: “Ultimate Album: The Marshall Mathers LP” (VH1)

5. Em and Dre submitted the album to Interscope in March 2000, but Jimmy Iovine said it needed more. “The Way I Am” and “The Real Slim Shady” were the result.

“I thought the album was spectacular, but they hadn’t taken it as far as they could… I thought we needed something lighter… to introduce the record to kind of get people into it,” Jimmy Iovine recalled. Dre remembers: “I knew we had a second and a third single, but we needed that big opener.”

Em was furious and responded by making “The Way I Am,” which he considered to be the opposite of a single (ironically, it became the second single). In the 11th hour before the final album was due, Em offered to try one final idea he had: the chorus to “The Real Slim Shady.” In what was a quite unusual workflow for the duo, Dre then made the instrumental to fit Em’s chorus.

Jimmy was pleased. Em said, “After listening to it five or six times it became cheesy. I was like ‘Yo, this probably could be it,” because after listening to “My Name Is” a few times it ended up becoming cheesy to me, too. And I was like ‘Okay this is the formula then.’”

Source: “Ultimate Album: The Marshall Mathers LP” (VH1)

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