Why Can’t Eminem Make A Good Album Cover?

Apr 21st, 2009 // 13 Comments

The art for Eminem’s fifth album, Relapse, leaked out today and it’s a doozy. (Note: Sometimes I misspell the word “doody,” so you might want to read that first sentence again.) It’s a mosaic of Marshall’s mug made of blue and yellow and purple pills! Kind of corny since when dude left us last he was all talking about growing up and being a father and an adult… Oh, and also because it’s a mosaic made out of pills. This dude has more money than 50 Cent—hell, he actually has a huge chunk of 50 Cent’s money! Why can’t he ever rig up a few inches of album art that looks presentable?

1999: The Slim Shady LP. Dude was still on that horrorcore vibe and feuding with Cage, so I’ll forgive the dorkball slasher-flick shock tactics of basing an album cover around his wife’s toes hanging out the car trunk. But the purple-sepia tone makes everything look like you’re watching Prince fuck Barney behind a wedding veil. The images and signifiers are all easy to ignore, since the focus is apparently on a moon that that looks like a navel orange. (Side note: When do you think Eminem last thought about Cage?)

2000: The Marshall Mathers LP. Oh, hi, guys. I’m just chilling on my porch thinkin’ of some heavy shit. Maybe like trimming this tree here.


2002: The Eminem Show. You know we can see you, right? Anyway, this was the start of the G-Unit/Shady album cover era where everything looked like Photoshop layers fighting each other. Spoiler: He comes out from behind the curtain and raps, like, right away.


2004: Encore. There’s a really good photo or two inside this book, but Interscope was probably too wussy to put them on the cover because they had guns and this is a company that has to somehow trick parents into buying this album for 12-year-olds.


2009: Relapse. Truly, the equivalent of releasing an album that sounds like an Abe Lincoln portrait made of toast. Though “Prescribed by Dr. Dre” is pretty funny. How much do you want to bet that “refills” date is gonna say something different when this album comes out?

Eminem: Relapse Artwork [Nah Right]


  1. So is the problem the art itself, or the artist’s approach? That runs:

    1) Serial killer.
    2) Serial killer, post-apprehension.
    3) Apprehensive performer.
    4) Performer, post-apprehension.
    5) Seurat on Paxil.

    I’m going to blame the latter.

  2. I always liked the Marshall Mathers cover. (Also, it’s the one album of his I’ll defend to the haters.)

    Plus, there was an alternate version of the cover that had him cowering like a frightened child inside what looks like a mental hospital. Not pleasant, but not boring.

  3. @Chris Molanphy: and there’s another bug!

  4. @Chris Molanphy

    co-sign – really dug both versions of this cover, and given how sort of angry and reactionary that album was, the “unabomber” version was fitting, no?

  5. Does J. Spaceman know about this?

  6. My friends who like Eminem tell me I just don’t get it. They are quite right.

  7. @Chris Molanphy Yeah, I actually think the “Marshall Mathers LP” cover(s) were pretty classic, although I prefer the one with the house more.

    I guess the house he’s sitting in front of for that cover is the same one he grew up in as a kid in Michigan, which factors into a lot of his work, esp. regarding his Moms…

    That “Relapse” shit is pretty atrocious though…

  8. Ech. It looks less like pills than a bloody pile of puke.

  9. are we human or are we marshall?

  10. @goldsounds Yeah, I definitely thought of Spiritualized when I saw that white box in the bottom left-hand corner. Then again, as a huge Spacemen 3/Spiritualized fan, I’m often thinking of J. Spaceman projects.

    At least the mosaic isn’t made up of tiny pictures of Eminem. I would’ve guessed he might take that route.

  11. Relapse’s cover artwork looks suspiciously like the cover for the last Killers album.

    That reference could’ve been funnier if I felt like it, but i’m too lazy to do so.

  12. @DocStrange You mean like how Maura did it?

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