At one point early into his third album, Eminem and producer Dr. Dre spoof Batman and Robin. How appropriate, seeing that the pair has undoubtedly been the dynamic duo of hip hop for the last few years. Dre’s production continues to soar to new heights and, I don’t care what anyone says, Eminem is one of the most gifted rappers and lyricists in rap history. However, the flaw on The Eminem Show is that this track is only one of three that the pair collaborated on, with the artist choosing to produce his other tracks himself.
Without Dre behind the boards, the album lacks the urban-oriented bass-n-beats that gained the white rapper immediate respect from hip-hop fans of all colors. In fact, some of the Dre-less tracks come off closer to “them little Limp Bizkit bastards” that Eminem takes a jab at than, say, the funkified offerings that top the rap charts. This isn’t to say that Eminem isn’t doing his part behind the mic. His writing and rhyming is on par with his two prior albums. But even when he’s on top of his lyrical game, such as on the album’s first single, “Without Me,” the song’s repetitive beat can only make one wonder what Dre could have done underneath such clever wordplay. Overall, the album succeeds in showcasing a variety of styles, both musically and vocally (the artist actually sings one song), but purely from a rap perspective, The Eminem Show ultimately feels empty.