The Goods


100 George Orwell, Sex Pistols


1 03 SpiderbMan

,3 Records

104 Belle and Sebastian

.0000 Excellent 0... Recommended .0. Good



107 Final Fantasy X


108 From Hell, A Ma Soeur!


1 1 1 Window Boxes, office toys


1 13 Caledonian Beer Festival


109 Pauline Ouirke 1 16 New Zealand



The Eminem Show (lnterscope) 0.00 DJ SHADOW

The Private Press (Universal) 0...

T wo men. One Detroit trailer trash, the other from the ’burbs of California. Both intrinsic parts of the international hip hop world. Both have new albums at a point where their careers could tail off into tragic familiarity and repetition. And that’s where the similarity ends.

For the doyen of underground hip hop cool and the world-renowned pariah of pop rap, DJ Shadow and Eminem’s places in hip hop could not be further away but creatively both prove that they have more to say, albeit in very different ways. And the very fact that they are both white in what has been noted as the black music genre is mere coincidence and is a whole other very long, essay.

Josh Davis aka DJ Shadow changed many people’s idea of ‘instrumental hip hop’ with his 1996 debut Endtroducing. While he was by no means the first, Shadow skilfully encapsulated what the DJ can do when centre stage and dispelled the notion that hip hop need always be simplistic, unrefined or even vocal-led.

‘Fixed Income’ and ‘Mongrel . . . Meets His Maker’ both evoke the (Pink not Keith) Floydian prog spook of ‘Mutual Slump’ from his debut, while ‘Monosylabik’ is a Kid 606-alike systematic destruction of one nagging drum loop. The centrepiece, however, is the truly awe inspiring ‘Six Days’, a melancholic mix of Air and Buffalo Springfield.

The Private Press, like all of Davis’ output to date, is an exercise in eclectica, and while he has often strayed from the narrow blueprint that inspired his initial cassette forays, he has cut swathes into the fabric of hip hop and sewn it together with some fine new shapes.

Meanwhile, at the heart of Eminem if the tabloid press are to believed - beats a heart of charcoal black. Marshall Mathers may have tried to side-step criticism by ‘playing’ characters but Slim Shady is given a slim chance here and it is resolutely young Marshall’s show (hence the title).



The scatological comedy of 012’s ‘Purple Pills’ and the lead single here ‘Without Me’, falsely indicated Mathers was ready to lighten up. Only the aforementioned single offers respite in what is an intense, troubled affair, with his interstellar popularity, notoriety and the unfinished business of parental lawsuits and probationary jail terms remaining the focus of much of his lyrical bile.

Eminem is still a tremendous rapper, no doubt, and the production is universally razor sharp and catchy as chlamydia, but that’s the dichotomy with Eminem, despite the bits you love, there’s so many bits to hate. His limitation is not his lyrical firepower, but its direction. His ability to speak for discontented youth is unsurpassed, leaving Limp Bizkit and Slipknot looking like unintelligible cats, but nothing can excuse the painful misogyny on ‘Drips’. Also like some stubborn rottweiller, he seems unable to leave his estranged family alone, his ex-wife, father and mother all coming in for a lyrical kicking. Only when questioning his own mortality on ‘When the Music Stops’ or analysing his responsibilities to his daughter on ‘Hailie’s Song’ (his questionable singing debut) does he prove there is a more mature, considered Mathers at work.

Two albums. One genre. Both very different. Buy ’em both. (Mark Robertson)

Like some stubborn rottweiller, he is unable to leave his old family alone

x} 1’3 91).}? THE LIST 99