Today’s random weekend selection is a cut from Eminem’s 2002 album The Eminem Show, his fourth studio release and second straight to reach diamond status. This was Eminem’s biggest album, selling 27 million copies worldwide, and marks a time when he was basically the biggest name in the music industry.
‘Say What You Say’ is one of the less memorable tracks on The Eminem Show. A diss track about producer Jermaine Dupri on which Eminem splits verses with Dr. Dre, it has some clever lines but a forgettable chorus and little of the clever wordplay or heightened emotion that made Eminem a special talent.
When I first started today’s post, I was going to write that Eminem had ceased to be commercially relevant for the past decade or so. But when I checked the numbers, I was surprised to see that his last five albums have combined to sell more than 15 million units. Every one of them went either Gold or Platinum.
If that seems like a letdown, it’s because the five albums preceding those sold 66 million, all multi-Platinum, two Diamond. That’s a string of success unmatched by most recording artists through history.
My #4 album of 2002 is The Eminem Show — the third studio album by Eminem.
The Detroit rapper had the difficult task of following up on his smash success from 2000, The Marshall Mathers LP. That record stirred up a heap of controversy and sparked debates about free speech and artistic expression. It also received tremendous critical acclaim and sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.
How do you follow that? With arguably an even better album.
Eminem is perhaps the oddest of all the oddball artists in my musical genome discussion. He is very much a genre artist, but it’s a genre that’s almost entirely off my radar.
The easy claim is that I love Eminem’s music despite not liking rap music at all, but I don’t know if that’s true. I have owned maybe half a dozen rap albums (other than Eminem’s) over the past 20+ years and I don’t listen to any of them very often. But how many great ones have I never heard?