Eminem is a lighting rod in the rap world. You either love him or hate him. One thing that can’t be debated is his love for the art of emceeing. Em is one of the few acts in rap that doesn’t need the money, so for him to keep putting out albums it’s strictly for the love. Detroit’s finest has returned with the sequel to his 2000 album The Marshall Mathers LP, with The Marshall Mathers LP 2.
The album begins with ‘Bad Guy’, a seven-minute song that’s reminiscent of The Marshall Mathers LP era Eminem. A master storyteller, Eminem finds himself in a compromising situation on ‘Bad Guy’ where his offensive lyrics of the past come back to haunt him and while drowning he’s forced to man up for his actions.
“I also represent anyone on the receiving end of those jokes you offended/I’m a nightmare, you fell asleep and woke up still in it/I’m your karma closing in with each stroke of a pen/Perfect time to have remorse to show for your sins.”
The album’s second single ‘Survival’ is produced by DJ Khalil and showcases Eminem rapping over rock guitars reminiscent of 80s hair bands. Eminem raps, “They said I was washed up and got a blood bath, I’m not a rapper, I’m an adapter, I can adjust/Plus I can just walk up to a mic and just bust, so, floors open if you’d like to discuss.”
‘Rap God’ is a six-minute lyrical exercise that Eminem recorded most likely after he heard Kendrick Lamar rap on Big Sean’s ‘Control’. The beat sounds like a ten-year old made it, but Eminem goes all out to prove that he is indeed a “rap god”.
“I’m a product of Rakim, Lakim Shabazz, 2Pac N/W.A., Cube hey, Doc, Ren, Yella, Eazy thank you, they got Slim/Inspired enough to one day grow up, blow up and be in a position/To meet Run-DMC and induct them, into the mother*ckin’ Rock ‘N/Roll Hall of Fame, even though I’ll walk in the church and burst in a ball of flames/The only Hall of Fame I’ll be inducted in is the alcohol of fame on the wall of shame,” Eminem raps.
‘The Monster’ is a blatant attempt to get radio play that features R&B singer Rihanna. Eminem comes off as whiny when rhyming about the woes of being famous. “When I blew see it was confusing/’Cause all I wanted to do was be the Bruce Lee of loose leaf,” Eminem laments.
The emotional centerpiece of The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is ‘Headlights’. Nate Ruess from the band Fun supplies the chorus while Eminem pens an apology to his mother on the verses. “Ma, I forgive you, so does Nathan, yo/All you did, all you said, you did your best to raise us both,” Eminem raps.
As with all Eminem album’s there are some really good songs and some useless filler. The album actually misses Dr. Dre’s signature sound. There isn’t one track on the album that absolutely blows you away -- they’re all just decent. Lyrically however, Eminem is back to where he needs to be. He limits the goofy voices and sound effects and just focuses on spitting. It’s the hungriest we’ve heard Eminem in years.
At 41-years old, Eminem has finally grown up. Eminem uses MMLP2 to apologize to people’s he’s offended throughout his career, most importantly his mother, Debbie. Fans who enjoy the sophomoric Eminem may not love The Marshall Mathers LP 2 in its entirety. Fan who couldn’t wait for Em to mature will be more than pleased. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is Eminem’s best album in over ten years.
Purchase: Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP 2