Eminem’s record label Shady Records turns 15 this year. The label was set up by the rapper with his manager Paul Rosenberg and over the years has brought us chart-topping acts including D12, Bad Meets Evil, Obie Trice and 50 Cent. To mark the 15th anniversary Eminem has released Shady XV, a two-disc collection that features new material from artists on the label and a selection of greatest hits.
Shady XV opens with a disc of 13 new tracks starting with the Eminem solo ShadyXV. The electric-guitar driven track sees the rapper spitting rhymes at a frenetic speed whilst a heavy beat punctuates the melody. As has become his trademark, Eminem name-checks a variety of pop culture including Fear Factor and Zach Galifianakis, and raps about the virtues of his sexual prowess.
Recent single Guts Over Fear featuring Sia which featured in The Equalizer movie is present here as well as new D12 cut Bane that likens the group to the Batman villain. Rising rapper Yelawolf features on 4 songs on the collection, the best being Til It’s Gone which has an almost country-like riff driving the melody.
Elsewhere on the album Eminem steals the show on highlight Fine Line where the rapper explores his battle with fame and his ego, and Skylar Grey features on the Eminem and Yelawolf cut Twisted adding her haunting vocals to the downtempo track. The best moment comes on the off-kilter beats of Die Alone where Eminem explores the relationship he had with Kim and trying to move on from their break-up. The lyrics raw and honest and it’s Eminem at his finest.
The second disc features 15 tracks from Shady Records artists past and present. Eminem has two cuts on it – Lose Yourself and You Don’t Know featuring 50 Cent, Cashis and Lloyd Banks – as well as his work with D12 – Purple Pills, Fight Music and My Band. 50 Cent actually proves to be the highlight of the disc with the inclusion of his classics In Da Club, Wanksta and P.I.M.P. There are also songs from Yealwolf, Slaughterhouse and Obie Trice.
Shady XV is a great collection of music and a clever idea from Eminem. Shady Records has produced some great talent in its 15 years with Eminem obviously being the leader of the pack. The mixture of old and new material works well and the new material shows that Eminem hasn’t lost his knack for being able to deliver controversial, entertaining and superior rhymes.