Eminem’s 8th studio album and the follow up to his classic album, The Marshall Mathers LP, was released today. It is pretty difficult to remain relevant in Hip Hop or any genre for a long period of time, but it seems like Eminem and Jay Z have figured out the formula. They are setting the blueprint for those emcees that plan to continue rapping into their 40’s; a lot goes into remaining relevant after so many years but making great music will make your chances that much better. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is not better than the original and no one should expect that. Eminem is at a completely different place in his career now compared to when he released the first album. MMLP2, executive produced by Rick Rubin and Dr. Dre, is however, a good album despite all the pressure placed upon it.
The first glimpse into MMLP2 was the release of “Berzerk”during a college football game earlier this year. We only got to hear a snippet of the song, but the hype around the new song and the newly announced album was pretty crazy and when the song released in its entirety, it was a sign of good things to come. The new album, however, gets off to a slow start with the track “Bad Guy.” The song would be much better if it would only consist of the third verse, where Stan comes back from the dead, and the second part of the song. The first release off of the album, although not originally announced, was the track “Survival.” It was originally released as a part of the Call of Duty: Ghosts soundtrack, but it was too good to leave off of the album. The production, handled by S1, is my favorite production on the entire album aside from the Eminem-produced “Brainless.” The song features the type of production and hook you would expect from Em in his earlier days. It is definitely a stand-out track on the album.
The song that got the biggest reception before the release of the album was “Rap God.” It features Em rapping for 6 minutes straight, switching up his flow effortlessly. Em rapping “Enough rhymes to maybe try to help get some people through tough times, But I gotta keep a few punchlines just in case cause even you unsigned rappers are hungry looking at me like it’s lunchtime, I know there was a time where once I Was king of the underground, But I still rap like I’m on my Pharoahe Monch grind” is definitely a message to anyone that considers him competition. Em continues the onslaught on the Skylar Grey-assisted “Asshole.” It’s been quite a few years, but Em decided to respond to Asher Roth’s “As I Em” anyway. It is pretty interesting that he responded since I did not see Asher’s track as a diss, but I’m sure Asher won’t even consider responding the Em anytime soon.
An Eminem album wouldn’t be an Eminem album without a few tracks that are a perfect fit for the radio. As he said on “Rap God,” he has found a way to “fuse” his sound to be able to get play on the radio. His song “The Monster” featuring Rihanna has radio written all over it. Another song that may get some spins is his track “Headlights” featuring fun.’s Nate Ruess. Eminem finally apologizes to his mother for taking it too far on tracks like “Cleaning Out My Closet.” He says he “cringes” every time he hears the song on the radio and also refuses to perform the song live. It is a complete 180˚ from his earlier albums, but it was something that he needed to put on wax and get off his chest. The last song that may have some “spin” potential is one of the most anticipated tracks on the album (in my opinion) featuring Kendrick Lamar. Em and K Dot exchange love stories on “Love Game” and really display both emcee’s story-telling skills.
There are also some throwaway joints on the album, but they were kept to a minimum. Overall, I really dug the new album despite some early negative reviews. At 41, Eminem’s still got it and isn’t losing it anytime soon. You can purchase The Marshall Mathers LP 2 here.
Key Tracks: “Rap God,” “Brainless,” “Survival,” “Berzerk,” “Headlights,” “Love Game”