Marshall Mathers, is just one of those aging stars we can’t seem to get rid of, not like that’s a bad thing of course. Eminem is constantly getting bigger and better and after phenomenal performances headlining Reading and Leeds this summer, his fan base could only have grown. Released on the 5th November, Marshall Mathers LP2 has already thrown Lorde and Arctic Monkeys off their top spots; clearly proving this record isn’t going away anytime soon…
As expected, “Bad Guy” explodes through our headphones as the amazing start promised by already released singles “Survival” and “Berzerk”, featuring the talents of Sarah Jaffe. Fulfilling all the conventions of an Eminem opening track, the song is punchy and promising for the rest of the record, without giving too much away and leaving room for development. He again adopts the persona of the angry man but because of his breath-taking way with words, we all eat it up. Some of us are still digesting and finally understanding some of what the rapper spits on “The Eminem Show” never mind new material released yesterday. Although, some are saying seven minutes and fifteen seconds may be too long for an opening track, with Eminem’s talent, it could be five hours of five seconds and Shady’s effect still stays fresh. The rapper’s status as a global rap icon hasn’t stopped the sound of the streets basting through our headphones when he uses parking lot sounds as a whole track which sets off with almost a minute of typical, urban sounds before a single beat drops in the third track “Rhyme or Reason” in true Eminem style. The track’s catchy tune will infect your brain all week. It appears that every track on the record is an echo of a song from his earlier material that has somehow been carried on, yet it still seems unique. His bunt lyrics keep us listening at all times and it’s as if you can’t do anything more when this record is on but listen intently.
At seventeen minutes and thirty seconds, the familiar beats in “Survival”, the first single from the album, kick in and simply make you wanna dance. But unexpectedly, the next track does nothing of the sort. A light, fragile female voice glistens over the track and brings the tone right back down from rage to peace in seconds. Mimicking “Cinderella Man” from “Recovery”, this track slows us back down with Eminem’s tales of woe and loss. This never lasts long though. The next punchy track continually builds to the chorus and seems like it throws us through the album, bridging the record with disses leaving us unable to not smirk. Explosive “Berzerk” follows with Eminem spitting one of the most unique and unignorable tracks on the record. Hearing this live would be a dream experience, you can almost hear the crowd chanting Slim Shady’s genius rhymes. “Rap God” continues us through the album and the snippet taken from a speech already intrigues us because of how unconventional this is of the rapper. The six minute track certainly certifies Eminem as a Rap God and the lyrics “I’m beginning to feel like a Rap God” perfectly sums up the return of the rapper. Every track is individual to the record and no two tracks are similar, making this record so good. “Brainless” demonstrates Eminem’s violent side like he used to do often in “3AM” and “Square Dance” back in 2009. The hot chorus keeps other rappers from trying to take his space in the rap scene as he makes it clear to the world that MMLP2 isn’t moving anywhere anytime soon.
Slowing it down again, “Stronger than I Was” seems like the anomaly in the record as the only track which almost falls short. The pace never really picks back up again and the song feels like an almost wasted opportunity for extra impact. Don’t judge a record by one song though, especially when most other tracks from the LP could easily destroy the charts. Rihanna’s almost obligatory appearance on Shady’s record begins to build us back up again in “The Monster”, although even that track could have had a more explosive effect. Still a head-bobbing tune though. Eminem’s individualism in both his beats and his lyrics is expressed again in the unusual yet amazing song “So Far”, sounding like something that really should be coming from Sum 41 or some other dated pop-punk band. The record is picked back up here and after a few less than excellent tracks, we really feel like Eminem has everything sorted here. It would be a huge shame if this doesn’t get a video. Its clear Eminem wants to finish with a bang when Shady continues us onto “Love Game”, continuing this pop-punk sound which strangely and confusingly seems to work better with Eminem’s vocals than it would with Tom DeLonge’s. “Headlights” features a very unusual guest appearance from the lead singer of FUN, Nate Ruess, but I suppose surprise guest appearances are just Eminem’s things. Although this collaboration doesn’t seem to fit so well, Eminem still carries us through using his talents alone until we encounter the final track, “Evil Twin”. He certainly leaves a banging impression and it’s as if he sticks two fingers up when the world is watching then leaves without a trace. This track has everything, snippets from history, Bieber disses and enough rhymes to go around.
Shady’s impression is guaranteed to be left on you until Eminem stops infecting TV and radio everywhere, but hey, it’s Eminem, he’ll probably still be spitting rhymes when he’s 90.
1. “Bad Guy”
2. “Parking Lot” (skit)
3. “Rhyme or Reason”
4. “So Much Better”
7. “Asshole” feat. Skylar Grey
9. “Rap God”
11. “Stronger Than I Was”
12. “Monster” feat. Rihanna
13. “So Far…”
14. “Love Game” feat. Kendrick Lamar
15. “Headlights” feat. Nate Ruess
16. “Evil Twin”