Curtain Call: The Hits
Curtain Call summarizes a career that reveled equally in outrageous insults, incisive commentary, and raw autobiography. Eminem first commanded the spotlight in 1999 with “My Name Is,” a track whose tongue-twisting irreverence still makes for the best introduction to the artist. If “My Name Is” established Eminem as the impish, unstable jester, the breakout single “Stan” brought a level of fame that threatened to overtake his persona, and his art. And while “Lose Yourself,” “Like Toy Soldiers,” and “Mockingbird” showed new levels of complexity, by 2005 Slim Shady was showing signs of wear. The songs recorded specifically for this collection —“FACK,” and “When I’m Gone”— show Em reprising old ideas to lesser effect, although the self-produced “Shake That” is a worthy reminder of how much he learned from Dr. Dre. Few rappers had as much to say, and as many modes of talking, as Eminem and because his most compelling and challenging songs are album cuts, Curtain Call can’t completely reveal the breadth of the man’s career. Nonetheless, this collection captures the essential qualities with which he carved his niche in the rap world and upturned the entire music industry.