25 Rap Albums From the Past Decade That Deserve Classic Status

Eminem, The Eminem Show (2002)

Label: Aftermath, Interscope, Shady

By 2002, Eminem was a full-blown superstar. Although he became a part of pop culture's psyche, he remained as insular as ever on this album, dealing with familiar issues; fame, family, and race. While his first two albums focused on turning the mirror on America-which he did, admittedly, do here with an inescapable post-9/11 outlook-this was in many ways Eminem's most personal album. He put a lot of the shock and humor aside and took a serious look at how he'd gotten to where he was ("Cleaning Out My Closet," "White America") and what it all meant ("'Till I Collapse," "Sing For The Moment").

Another hallmark of The Eminem Show is the beats. Produced largely by Em himself (with small assists from longtime collaborator Jeff Bass), the album found Em rapping over some of the most high-octane work of his career, and sounding comfortable as ever on his own beats. Even when Em wasn't behind the boards, on records like "Square Dance," he was pushing mentor Dr. Dre into new and unfamiliar territory. With his third massive album in a row, followed by an hugely successfully biopic and soundtrack later that year, Eminem cemented his place as one of the most important figures in rap history on The Eminem Show. - Insanul Ahmed

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