This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
When Eminem raps, “This is my life,” it’s not exactly a surprise. First off because nearly everything Marshall Mathers writes seems to come from his diary. And second, anyone who’s been paying attention knows Eminem’s debut film 8 Mile is a semi-autobiographical tale about the rags-to-riches story of a white Detroit rapper.
But if you believe Mathers when he says filming 8 Mile reconnected him with his roots, then you can see why some of these joints rank as Eminem’s most personal, raw and revealing work. Instead of raging against the pitfalls of fame over slickly produced Dr. Dre epics as he’s done for the past few years, Eminem goes back to basics, using self-programmed beatboxes and less-sophisticated musical tracks as a base as he reflects on his humble beginnings, recounting the aspirations and frustrations and limitations of life on the bottom rung of the ladder. Too bad he only appears on a handful of tunes — and just three solo tracks — on this 16-song disc. If there’s even been a time when Eminem doesn’t need to share the spotlight, this is it.