Yesterday (Feb. 23) was the 15 year anniversary of Eminem's major label breakthrough, The Slim Shady LP
, his second full-length project (after 1996's Infinite
), the first of many iconic collaborations with Dr. Dre and the introduction of Em's infamous alter ego Slim Shady. The album—released on Dre's Aftermath Entertainment imprint under the Interscope umbrella—would go on to sell over 4 million copies in the U.S. alone, spawn the huge singles "My Name Is" and "Guilty Conscience" and set Em on the path to becoming the highest-selling hip-hop artist of all time.
But things weren't always rosy for Em back then. As a white rapper stepping into a predominantly African-American genre, he faced a backlash from a piece of the hip-hop community resistant to his brand of rap music. And for an artist immediately stepping into the mainstream spotlight, there was widespread shock, confusion and anger at what many felt were lyrics that were violent, homophobic and misogynistic, which caused some outlets to threaten to boycott the album.
That didn't faze Eminem, of course; despite the backlash, Shady persevered, and his rapid-fire, heavily-sarcastic flow as well as the album's powerful production shone through. 15 years later, Eminem's debut is regarded as one of the greatest in history, and the rapper is still one of the leading lights of the genre, even gracing XXL
's current issue alongside Dre and Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine. With the anniversary marking a significant milestone in the career of Detroit's finest, XXL
emailed Em's longtime manager Paul Rosenberg to get his thoughts on The Slim Shady LP
, his memories of the project's creation, and how the Rap God's big break holds up a decade and a half later. —Dan Rys (@danrys)