Marshall Mathers -- better known by his "Eminem" rap handle -- has made quite a sales splash with his debut album, "Slim Shady," boosted in part by the video firm its single, "My Name Is," which presents the rapper as a cute, clever, comical imp.The rhymes on the record, however, paint quite a different picture. As "Billboard" editor-in-chief Timothy White wrote last week in an inflammatory editorial in the trade publication, some critics have found "Slim Shady" to be nothing more than an album "whose main themes include drugging, raping and murdering women." As White and other critics have pointed out, two of the most explosive scenarios on Eminem's album involve the rape of a 15-year-old girl on "Guilty Conscience" and the murder of an unfaithful wife on "'97 Bonnie & Clyde." The cover of the record refers to the latter song, and shows Eminem by the sea with his baby daughter -- while in the foreground the shoeless torso of a dead woman protrudes from the trunk of a car.
Some have accepted such lyrics and imagery for the kind of audacity that hardcore rap has become known for, and lauded "Slim Shady" as a record on the "cutting edge" of pop. As for Eminem, the rapper was familiar with White's editorial when MTV News asked him about it recently, and took issue with what he thought the article suggested about him as a father."I love my daughter," Eminem told MTV News while flashing a tattoo of his daughter's name etched across his forearm. "I would die for my daughter in a heartbeat, you know? So anybody who tries [anything] ... [White] is trying to pass judgement, saying 'Oh, he really doesn't love his daughter and he's making fun of their relationship.' He really doesn't know what I went through with my personal life. So, that's just one more person that passes judgement. Let
him be uptight and go
to church. Bye!"Eminem clearly has his fans in the rap and hip-hop community, including Missy Elliott, Jazzy Jeff and the Madd Rapper, all of whom have recruited Eminem to make guest appearances on their upcoming records.