The Marshall Mathers LP: “The indie scene, approaching epidemic levels of hype-believing, needs records like this. It’s too bad it’s only multimillionaire rap stars are making them.”Western Homes deserts indie for sell-out hip-hop shocker! One of the best reviews I’ve read on his site, though I’d question his assertion that PE’s He Got Game had much in the way of great production.

So why isn’t the indie scene making albums like this? (we’ll leave out the question of whether it should). My glib answer – the indie scene currently, and the undie rap scene for that matter, are based on community rather than confrontation: they are simply not interested in taking on the mainstream in the way that Em is. Eminem’s smartypants amorality is anti-mainstream (even as he defines what it is) but also anti-scene, anti-community, anti-everything other than Shady’s right to do whatever the fuck he wants. That’s what gives it its impetus, makes it exciting – that’s also what makes it damn hard to sympathise with or love. But sympathy and love is hardly what Eminem’s up for.

In the end, The Marshall Mathers LP looks to be an event record, a disc which – like OK Computer, “Baby One More Time”, Thriller or Nevermind – draws the lines and sets the parameters of pop conversation. If we’re talking pop in 2000, in other words, we’re talking within the frame that Eminem’s set up.