Producers: Eminem (executive producer), Akon, The Alchemist, Dr. Dre, Disco D, Dawaun Parker, Focus..., Luis Resto, Witt & Pep, Rikinatti
Features: Obie Trice, D12, 50 Cent, Stat Quo, Cashis, Bobby Creakwater
The fact that an album can come out, sell a million records, and be all but forgotten after a few years stands mostly as a testament to its relative context: a bunch of much bigger, even more popular records. Eminem Presents: The Re-Up was the Cruel Summer of its time. An overwhelming number of collaborators funneled into a compilation album, and the result was a bunch of solid songs with little cohesion.
On one hand, the project gave Eminem a chance to put everyone on, in one place, pinning the more-than established, like 50 Cent, next to the ambitious draft picks like Cashis. Most were given a chance to shine, and in some cases, the newcomers warranted their rarified real estate. Cashis' "Talkin' All That," for example, is a standout, and one which featured no super-high-profile guests.
On the other hand, there were clear omissions from the roster; simply necessity, as there are only so many songs that can fit on an album. D12 fans probably didn't get what they wanted, neither did Eminem purists. As much as Em was involved as the executive producer, he must have intentionally taken a backseat as a rapper. He definitely comes in when it matters, like for singles "You Don't Know" and "Jimmy Crack Corn," and he pretty much leaves the rest up to D12, G-Unit, Obie Trice, Cashis, Stat Quo, etc.—so like thirty other people. Em also used this opportunity to step up his role as a producer, handling most of the tracks on the album, as he had been working toward on both D12's and his own most recent albums.
Though the whole may not have been greater than the sum of its parts, The Re-Up functioned as was most likely the intention: a showcase, a guide to the established and emerging talent that the Shady empire had to offer. It didn't have the smart character interplay of a D12 album, or the deeply personal aspects of a solo Em album, but it had a huge stunt quotient. It was like when Em, 50 Cent, and Busta Rhymes came together for a Ja Rule diss song a few years prior—just beautiful, gratuitous overkill. It was a victory lap, a watching of the throne if the "throne" included everyone who happened to be in the same room as the throne at the time. —Alexander Gleckman