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31 December, 2014@1:35 am

While Rick Ross builds the Maybach Music Group powerhouse by releasing new content almost daily from his stable of artists, it feels like there is definitely a lack of quality control. For Ross it’s a numbers game that finds him throwing anything and everything at the wall, in hopes that something will stick. And something usually does. Eminem has taken a different approach than Ross or many other big time rappers with label deals, by instead building his house slowly, brick-by-brick.

Shady XV celebrates the 15th anniversary of his Shady Records imprint, as a double-disc effort that is half new material and half a collection of greatest hits. The label’s storied history plays differently than Eminem’s own greatest hits collection, Curtain Call, as it revisits many of the classic singles from the rest of the roster, his lone selection only being “Lose Yourself.” This comes in the form of the original song, along with a completely different version of the song that is dope to experience, but would hardly have fit the theme of 8 Mile.

The real meat of this project is on its first disc, where a clear amount of care is taken in cultivating tracks for the set, even stronger than the previous Shady Records compilation The Re-Up. This is for two reasons, the first and most obvious that the Shady 2.0 team is a stronger stable of artists than its earlier incarnation. However the other reason is that there is a clear amount of care taken here in the construction of this album, as well as in pointing the trajectory of the artists themselves.

This is of course is thanks to Em, who still remains the brightest star on the roster and arguably is the most technically amazing rapper in the entire game. He picks up where The Marshall Mathers LP 2 left off, with ridiculously penned rhymes on each “Shady XV” (complete with Cappadonna “Winter Warz” acapella reference), “Right For Me,” and “Vegas” (with Royce as Bad Meets Evil). Aside from making the lyrical miracles cool again, he does dial back a bit for substance heavy tracks like the excellent “Guts Over Fear” with Sia, and the broken relationship anthem “Die Alone.”

There’s a clear degree of time taken to hone everyone’s skills in the right direction, as posse cuts like “Psychopath Killer – perhaps best representative of the label’s vision ever – and “Detroit Vs. Everybody,” which also invites fellow Motown outsiders Big Sean and Danny Brown, the latter who is a shoe-in for Shady Records 3.0. However Yelawolf really shines on “Till It’s Gone” as does Slaughterhouse on the DJ Premier produced “Ya’ll Ready Know,” both which show that Em’s assistance is not needed every time.

With a strong unit of artists representing the imprint, Shady Records modern philosophy seems to court success, however not at the cost of sacrificing the artist’s integrity. It will be interesting to see where they go next. Here’s to another XV.

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15 Responses to "Eminem – “Shady XV” – @@@@ [Review]"
  • the man the myth says:

    Crooked I is hit or miss, and I think Royce and Joel are dope, but Budden is hard to listen to. His solo stuff is not good. If Preemo produced a slaughterhouse album, I would definitely give it a spin. As much as Em’s solo stuff has left me completely underwhelmed, that Don’t front cut that used the Black Moon beat was pretty damn dope.

  • Model Citizen says:

    @the man the myth, I actually like Budden’s solo shit quite a bit, the production isn’t always good, but I think he’s a dope lyricist.

  • the man the myth says:

    I don’t know model, Budden is a snooze on the mic to me. I find him much more bearable in the group setting. I liked Crooked I’s demo that cold 187um produced, I wish he would work with Hutch more.

  • Electric Lobster says:

    If Em hadn’t impressed everyone back in the day, then noone would now tolerate his nerdy and angry voice. Period. It’s the aggression that kills it. He’s not a badass anymore, so now he screams…

  • Mitch 3K says:

    Budden was okay during the MM2 & 3 cycle, he was still a little overly Melodramatic but he balanced it out better and had some undeniably great songs. At this point though he’s become a slightly darker version of Drake. That said, I would trade that forced Eminem verse on “Psychopathic Killers” for a Budden verse any day of the week. At least he can still stay on Fuckin Beat lol

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