Kanye West is dumping CDs in favor of streaming, but Marshall Mathers, a.k.a. Eminem a.k.a. Slim Shady, is forgoing modern audio technology entirely and going way, way back: the rapper plans to re-release The Slim Shady LP on cassette tape. No, really.
Shady made the announcement on Twitter with a link to a site where you can sign up to receive updates. The album, his second, was a huge success and put the rapper on the map, so a re-issue is something we can live with. Plus, just the look of that plastic case, cover sleeve and the promise of the whirring sound as the audio film as it rolls over the spools is enough to tempt us to buy it.
But those who didn’t have the foresight to keep their Walkman or traded in their car with the tape deck may be ruing the day if they’re big fans of “My Name Is,” “Guilty Conscious” or other expletive-laced track.
Not to fear: Here are five ways you can listen to Eminem’s new/old cassette tape when it comes out, which he says is “soon.”
A Sony Walkman
This is an obvious choice. If you’re so committed to Slim’s throwback that you need to listen to the tape on a good ol’ Walkman, we’re not going to stop you.
Even Eminem is on board. On Monday he tweeted: “Dust off that Sony Sports yellow walkman. It’s in your closet.”
There are Walkmans and other portable cassette players aplenty on Amazon. Looking at the metallic bricks with those blocky buttons and felt-covered headphones is like taking a trip back in time, which may be exactly how you need to feel to enjoy the SSLP tape to the fullest.
Pop it in, press play and let Em’s raucous rhymes take you back to 1999.
A cassette-to-digital converter
If you’re willing to commit to the cassette but want to preserve its tracks in a digital format, there are a host of converters you can purchase for the task.
Many you’ll find online are about the size of a portable player and come with a cord to hook up to your computer plus the software needed to get the job done. They’ll also pull double duty as cassette players themselves, giving you a two-in-one option to listen to the tape on the go while preserving it on your computer, phone or tablet for good.
Most I found converted the audio to MP3, so be aware of the kind of file you’ll get on the other side. A few also had complaints of poor audio quality on the converted tracks. The lesson? Do some research before buying a model that may be cheap but leaves you with listening pains.
Here’s another DIY project for your SSLP adventure: Conversion software like Audacity and NCH WavePad will do the trick for you on Windows and Mac (plus Linux for Audacity).
You’ll also need a computer with a line-in or microphone port, a tape deck or portable player, and cables (a male-to-male audio jack or a RCA-to-male audio jack). If you’re catching the drift, it’s a bit of a project, though once you get the hang of the process it’s not an overly complicated one.
Using conversion software may be a good route to go if you have several tapes to convert to digital, but if you just want to listen to one tape and don’t want to tie yourself up in cables, we suggest you skip it.
A car made before 2010
Still driving a car with a tape deck? High five.
They disappeared from the US beginning with model year 2011 cars, and have never come back. Those who are lucky enough to own a vehicle with a tape player have the easiest path to entry into the world of Slim Shady. Just buy it, slide it in and let the beats do the rest.
The man you see in the photo above is doing it all wrong. The boombox should be over the shoulder, inches away from his ear, volume turned up.
You could do the boombox-baby-cradle carry, like our friend here, but it doesn’t have the same effect.
You know you’ve got one of these magic music slabs stashed away in your attic. When SSLP does go on sale, make your purchase, pull your stereo out of storage, and put in a fresh batch of D batteries. It’s about to get real.