It’s been 3 years since the last album (Recovery) from Eminem. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 acts as a continuation to 2000’s highly acclaimed The Marshall Mathers LP.
The Marshall Mathers LP 2 brings Eminem’s usual sharp tongue and anger but whilst it does bring fresh new rhymes and punchy beats, the 16 track LP is very nostalgic, recounting many of Eminem’s early memories which fans have become very much accustomed to.
Opener ‘Bad Guy’ is a perfect example of Eminem engaging with his age, and asserting himself again. Just over 7 minutes long, the track is made up of two parts and does what every great song should: build up to a beautiful high before bringing the listener softly back down to finish. Referring to himself as the ‘Bad Guy’, Eminem’s alter ego Slim Shady comes into play about halfway through this track and gives a nod back to The Marshall Mathers LP with references to the hugely successful single, ‘Stan’.
‘Rhyme or Reason’ tells the story of how Eminem’s father abandoned him as a child and features The Zombies’ track, ‘Time of the Season’. The lead single ‘Berzerk’ samples Billy Squier’s ‘The Stroke’ as well as tracks from The Beastie Boys, all produced by Rick Rubin, who unsurprisingly produced this album too. The single aims to celebrate old-school hip-hop, and with heavy bass lines and an unmistakable Eminem stamped all over, it does so with great success.
Second single, ‘Survival’ features lyrics from Liz Rodrigues (singer for up-and-coming Canadian band, New Royales). Trashy guitars and lots of bass drum are similar to the last album Recovery and the catchy hook, “This is survival of the fittest. This is do or die” makes this one of the strongest offerings from this album.
Third single, ‘Rap God’ shows Eminem establishing himself as a self-proclaimed ‘immortal God’ and a dominant force within the rap industry. He then goes on to rap as “supersonic speed” – 97 words in 15 seconds, which is pretty impressive (though it’s hard to keep up with)!
The latest single from the album ‘The Monster’ features vocals from Rihanna, marking the fourth collaboration between the two. The song’s lyrics show Rihanna coming to grips with her inner demons, while Eminem ponders the negative effects that fame has brought. The catchy beat and belting chorus makes this single very engaging and is a highlight of the album.
However, it is penultimate track ‘Headlights’ that leaves the deepest impression on the listener. Featuring vocals from Nate Ruess of fun., Eminem shows he has matured by offering a sincere apology to his mother, Debbie Mathers, with whom he’s shared a very turbulent relationship. Finally letting go of his anger towards her, the rapper apologises for songs such as ‘Cleaning Out My Closest’ and acknowledges that even if they remain estranged “I’ll always love you from afar/Cause you’re my ma”.
The Marshall Mathers LP 2 showcases newfound maturity from Eminem, and definitely does not disappoint as both a new release and a follow-up to The Marshall Mathers LP. Though perhaps offering more wisdom than on previous releases, the best moments from this LP see Eminem steeped in his roots: tortured, offensive and with just the right amount non-apologetic wit. These are the characteristics that brought him to the forefront of hip-hop 14 years ago.
The Marshall Mathers LP 2 was released 5/11/2013 on Interscope