Release Date: Nov 5, 2013
Record label: Interscope
Genre(s): Rap, Hardcore Rap, Midwest Rap, Pop-Rap
What's the point of Eminem in middle age? He was a peroxide phenomenon in his 20s, an icon of adolescent posturing, the go-to guy for Christina Aguilera insults and casual homophobia, but in 2013, rap is trap and money and molly. Who needs a 41-year-old spitting another revenge fantasy about his mother over plangent piano? With this sequel to his blockbuster third album, however, the rapper has created a work that bears comparison. Not necessarily because it's full of hits – though Rap God, Survival, Rhyme or Reason and Love Game all could be – but because Eminem has engaged with his age and others' scepticism, decided he doesn't give a fuck and asserted himself again.
Funny and intelligent though Eminem often is, even at his most deplorable (all that misogyny and homophobia that lurks throughout his lyrics has always been problematic), his saving grace is Marshall Mathers’ infinitely fractured personality; is he genuinely advocating what he’s saying or is he in character? It was a question that dominated The Marshall Mathers LP and one that he addressed perfectly in ‘Stan’, satirising the media frenzy about the violence his songs might inspire whilst counselling, “maybe you just need to treat her better”. He had just devoted a track to rapping about killing bitches, but the distinction was clear. What happens on record isn’t okay in real life (despite his own history).
Fans plead with Eminem year after year to return to his prime form. While his albums still sell and his singles still top the charts, his hardcore fans recognize that this isn’t the same rapper that they grew up on. Not since the release of The Eminem Show back in 2002 has an Eminem album truly satisfied in the public eye. While Eminem gives the impression that he’s all but entirely disconnected from society, he seems all too cognizant of his constant criticisms.
More than 13 years have passed since Eminem released 2000’s seminal The Marshall Mathers LP, a record that is still to this day rightly considered to be one of the greatest rap albums ever made. Dealing with the pressures of fame on the back of the release of his breakthrough album, The Slim Shady LP, the Detroit wordsmith was on the top of his game, dishing out verbal assaults at virtually anyone who crossed his path. During the time that has elapsed since that rapping tour de force hit the shelves, Eminem’s career has gone from strength to strength, culminating in 2010’s commercially successful Recovery.
After centering himself with the confessional 2010 release Recovery, Eminem entered his forties while watching his beloved city of Detroit literally go bankrupt. The cover here displays this descent with an updated picture of the rapper's teenage home, first featured on the MM LP of 2000 but now boarded up, and yet this 8 Mile child cares much more about the present than the past, as this vicious, infectious, hilarious triumph is no nostalgia trip, just the 2013 version of Marshall the experienced maverick on a tear, dealing with the current state of events and kicking up dust with his trademark maniac attack while effortlessly juggling his over-40 wisdom with stuff you'd slap a teenager for saying. Key cut "Rap God" is the quintessential track as it blasts out homophobic cut-downs and other inexcusable lyrics, because Marshall's the "Dale Earnhardt of the trailer park," but "I still rap like I'm on my Pharoahe Monch grind," and suddenly his Stan Lee-like origin story begins to take shape.
Thirteen years and four solo albums after the hilarious, murderous, incredibly offensive masterpiece the Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem is back with a follow-up. He's grown up since then, but not so much that we don't recognize him: there are sequels to songs (Bad Guy is a follow-up to Stan, from Stan's bloodthirsty brother Matthew), and to skits, and we're reminded throughout that Em's one of the best all-time storytellers in rap. But what makes it most nostalgically similar to MMLP is its overt, platinum-haired Eminemness: turning classic pop hooks on their heads (Rhyme Or Reason); spewing rage on a breakup anthem (So Much Better); sparing no one - not even Hellen Keller - his venom.
One of long-time listeners' frustrations with the century's most dexterous wordsmith is his hesitance to tackle targets of greater importance than the rap or pop realms. Eminem has a gift, but how often does he use it for good — beyond venting his own frustrations? Political statements such as 2004's Bush-blasting "Mosh" are rarer than fart noises or bashed gays on an Eminem LP. But Marshall's marvel is his knack for endlessly treading familiar ground with new footsteps.Elton John's buddy pulls the peroxide out from the back corner of the vanity and goes back to tossing around the word "queer" like it's offensive.
Magna Carta, holy Yeezus Christ. Em’s still got it. In a year cluttered with high-profile hip-hop releases, The Marshall Mathers LP2 is undeniably the best of the best and it’s not close. Wildly entertaining, gruesomely hilarious and surprisingly poignant, the set is worth its namesake, the same record, lest we be reminded, that sold 1.76 million copies during its first week of release in 2000, on its way to earning the title as fastest-selling hip-hop record ever.
Eminem :: The Marshall Mathers LP 2Shady Records/Aftermath/InterscopeAuthor: Jesal 'Jay Soul' PadaniaThroughout the past few years of Eminem's career, one particular song has been coursing through my veins whenever his journey springs to mind: Embrace's beautiful "Come Back To What You Know" which was originally released around the time that the Detroit MC first started to gain real traction. On "Relapse" he was flushing the drugs and the past out of his system, resulting in a bizarre Dr. Dre collaboration (not without merit) that missed more than it hit; on "Recovery" he allowed outside producers into the fray, allowing him to concentrate on writing, and it spawned a divisive album with some great cuts and one of his biggest hits to date; then, Royce da 5'9" returned alongside his 'evil twin' to deliver an enjoyable and lyrically-driven Bad Meets Evil EP.
Ever since Eminem announced he would be releasing a follow-up to his diamond-certified The Marshall Mathers LP, fans have waited anxiously to see whether Shady’s eighth studio album could meet the tremendous expectations necessitated by its title. After all, the original MMLP is widely-regarded as Eminem’s best project, a classic, and as one of the finest emceeing performances committed to wax. So does The Marshall Mathers LP 2 represent a return to form for Slim Shady, or just another in a string of disappointing-to-mediocre albums? Eminem can rhyme with the best of them, and is peerless in his technique.
The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is the kind of sequel that gets people shouting at the screen in disbelief before their seats are warmed up. The first song, "Bad Guy," is seven white-knuckled minutes of psycho-rap insanity in which Stan's little brother comes back to chop Slim Shady into Slim Jims, tossing him into the trunk and driving around Detroit – listening to The Marshall Mathers LP, of course. "How's this for publicity stunt? This should be fun/Last album now, 'cause after this you'll be officially done," Em raps, playing his own killer.
What’s the point of a sequel, anyway? It’s defined as, “a literary work, movie, etc., that is complete in itself but continues the narrative of a preceding work.” In the case of music, the question becomes more important given that most albums have little, if any, overarching narrative. Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP could certainly be viewed as having a narrative, but it’s not exactly a linear one. Or a cohesive one, for that matter.
Review Summary: The definitive hodgepodge of the year.If TMMLP2 deserves praise for anything, it’s Eminem’s decision to cater to himself just as much as he’s delivering to Eminem fans both old and new. Since the dawn of Slim Shady, Eminem’s music has always found success in how incredibly consistent it was, and variety really wasn’t a concern to anyone when he was accomplishing so much with a similar basis. Being his latest 78-minute behemoth of an album, TMMLP2 is probably the only album under Eminem’s name to take tonal diversity into consideration, and actually winds up technically covering more ground musically in a 70-plus-minute runtime than any of his work in the past decade or so.
For his eighth solo album, Eminem revisits 2000’s The Marshall Mathers LP having decided (rightly) that a sequel should be treated with utmost care. Accordingly, he holed up in his Detroit studio and, as he told Rolling Stone, worked harder than he did at any period in the past decade. Well, what else would have sufficed? MMLP, now the third fastest-selling album in history, was dark and irreverent in equal measure, with Em, on top of the unimpeachable Dr.
The more the triumphs of Eminem’s world beating Slim Shady/Marshall Mathers/Eminem Show trilogy recede into memory, the more each subsequent release struggles to strike a tone that leverages an audience raised on the crass iconoclasm of “My Name Is” and “Kill You” with the aging, now sober father of three behind the music. As such, Em’s last decade worth of albums has suffered under jarring shifts in tone. After showing his first signs of wear with 2004’s patchy Encore, Eminem rebounded with 2009’s Dre-beats-and-horrorcore-rhymes retrenchment Relapse.
The “2” in the title of Eminem’s latest is almost nonsensically desperate. In 2000, the kid born Marshall Mathers vented his deepest frustrations with the world and became the world’s greatest rapper. In contrast to the human cartoon he played on The Slim Shady LP the year before, The Marshall Mathers LP he turned young-white-disenfranchised-dude anger into something like poetry, probing his soul for any shred of humanity and plumbing his tense relationship with his own fans.
Eminem has said that “The Marshall Mathers LP 2,” out Tuesday, is a “revisitation” of its game-changing predecessor. But it is no mere rehash. If anything, the sequel is more intense than the original, as the Detroit rapper explodes like an M-80, radiating anger, humor, and vulnerability often within the space of a single couplet. And there are many memorable ones to be heard here, as Eminem doubles down on his manic flow, bursting with analogies, jokes, allusions, and ingenious wordplay with dizzying speed and skill.
When Eminem announced in late August that his new album would be titled the Marshall Mathers LP 2, the significance—coming back to the scene of his best-selling album, the return of his bleach-blonde hair, the throwback to his early days—was not lost on anyone. But when Marshall premiered his first single, the Rick Rubin-helmed “Berzerk,” on Shade 45 the next day, it seemed like Em, one of the greatest rappers of all time and coming off another multi-platinum record with 2010’s Recovery, was out of date and not up to speed. The following singles—the Call Of Duty promo track “Survival,” the 100-mile-a-minute sprint of “Rap God,” the Rihanna-assisted radio bait “The Monster”—divided opinion like no other project this year.
When news broke in August that Eminem had completed a new album, it arrived in a fashion nearly identical to the way Jay Z had announced his own record just two months earlier: in a tech-related TV commercial (Samsung for Jay Z, Beats headphones for Eminem) that aired during a much-watched special event (the NBA finals, the MTV Video Music Awards). Both rappers, veterans of a joint 2010 stadium tour, even touted their involvement with Rick Rubin, the bearded super-producer celebrated for his truth-teller vibe. This is a modal window.
We have watched Eminem age, all of us, difficult as it has been. We’ve seen him lash out at his mother, his then-wife, and his fans. We’ve seen him soften ever so slightly under the weight of fatherhood. We’ve seen him court protest, then express befuddlement over the hubbub. We’ve seen him ….
I’ve heard people call Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP a work of musical genius, yet socially inept. These comments seem to completely disregard the fact that the craft of music, in general, rests largely on its intended purpose. The question shouldn’t be whether the musical merits of the album outweigh its content, but rather, how someone so talented could be so repugnant.
opinion byMATTHEW M.F. MILLER When young Eminem rapped angry, be it in the character of Slim Shady or Marshall Mathers, it was intimidating – even scary at times. Rapid, twisted word bullets were his calling card, and at his most unhinged it felt like he was capable of climbing through your stereo speakers and ripping out your throat with the same demented rage he directed at his ex wife, overinflated pop culture icons and, occasionally, himself.
Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (Aftermath) Forgive the dated references and remember Eminem hasn't represented public conscience this millennium. You listen because he burns, because he can afford production from Rick Rubin that reinvents Billy Squier ("Berzerk"), and because he rhymes nine words with "attackable" in 30 seconds, midway through a song called "Asshole." Now 41 and onto his eighth disc – the "sequel" to an album released in 2000 – Eminem's only preoccupied with torching tracks like a one-man slaughterhouse. That he can rhyme more with a dated reference such as "Monica Lewinsky" affects neither his approach nor his ability to top Billboard, as happened yet again this month.