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Watch Eminem Get Personal In This Throwback TRL Interview About 'MMLP'

Eminem explains the inspiration behind 'The Marshall Mathers LP'

Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP, which celebrates its 15th anniversary Friday (May 22), is one of rap's most celebrated albums of all time. Back when the project dropped, Em came by MTV's "TRL" studio to explain the its purpose.

"I got kind of personal on this album," Eminem said in a May 23, 2000 interview. "When I first came out, people only knew Slim Shady...I felt like nobody really knew who Marshall Mathers was. I think there was a lot of critics and people taking everything that I said literally. So I wanted to get personal on this album to make the critics who were saying things about me feel stupid."

And Em did get personal on the LP, breaking down his family turmoil on “Marshall Mathers” and battling frustrations with fame on “The Way I Am.” Songs like those were important for Em's goal here. "I wanted to let people know: ‘This is the real me. This is all jokes aside,’" he told MTV's "TRL" at the time. "There are a lot of songs on this album that are like that, more serious than the first album."

Critics and fans loved the album when it dropped. One of those fans was Ed Sheeran, who called it one of his favorites during an interview with EW on Tuesday (May 19). During the interview, Sheeran praised one particularly personal track on the album, "Kim," a track where Eminem plays out a disturbing murder of his then-wife Kim Mathers.

"If Eminem had made that song 'Kim' and made it so it wasn’t so shocking, no one would have liked it," Sheeran, who once covered "The Real Slim Shady," said. "But because he was so bare and so honest, it worked. If you’re going to be a songwriter, wear your heart on your sleeve and don’t worry."