Plus an absolute gem from Slum Village.
Prep the birthday cake, ‘cause there are some iconic records turning 20 this year. To get the celebrations started early, we’re revisiting three big ones that helped not only to define trends, but also stand tall two decades on.
Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP
The third studio album from Slim Shady dropped in May 2000 and explored the enfant terrible of American rap to another level. Courting controversy upon its release, the Marshall Mathers LP took aim at everyone from the US government to Britney Spears, and churned out some of Eminem’s most memorable hits.
With Dr. Dre back on board as executive producer, Eminem explored lyrical depth better than on any other record he had released until that point. ‘Stan’, ‘Who Knew’ and ‘Kill You’ are early examples of this, while ‘The Way I Am’, ‘The Real Slim Shady’ and of course, ‘Kim’ would turn out to be album touchstones. The album still ranks as one of the best-selling records ever (over 21 million copies sold globally), a certified Diamond release.
Taking things down south, October of 2000 would see Outkast come through with their fourth record, Stankonia. Following 1998’s Aquemini, this offering saw Big Boi and Andre 3000 explore melodies, experiment with production and introduce a new sense of flair to the hip hop game.
Aside from producing the likes of ‘Ms. Jackson’, ‘So Fresh, So Clean’ and ‘B.O.B’, Stankonia was an early and defining example of Outkast’s adventurous nature in the studio. Gospel influences were married with higher tempos more commonly attributed to funk and psych music. Like De La Soul on steroids with the punch of Public Enemy and Prince, the album changed the way many conceptualised the boundaries of the genre.
Slum Village’s Fantastic, Vol.2
Released in June, the sophomore release from Detroit’s Slum Village would go on to be a genre-defining album, loved by many. Originally completed a few years earlier, Fantastic, Vol. 2 went through a period of limbo before finally being released through GoodVibe.
The result was an accomplished 74 minutes of groove, hip hop cuts and production style that would influence contemporaries for years to come. A memorable part of J Dilla’s legacy, the album featured the likes of Pete Rock, Common, Kurupt, D’Angelo and Q-Tip – a veritable who’s who of the game at that time.