Eminem is one of the biggest rappers in history. One of the first white rappers to conquer the charts, he’s built a career on producing shocking, controversial and often funny albums, covering everything from sex, death, drugs and even self-harm. ‘Marshall Mathers LP 2’, AKA ‘MMLP2’, is Eminem’s eighth studio album and a sequel album to his ever-popular and often shocking ‘Marshall Mathers LP’. There are certain things you can expect here; abusive, explicit language and content, dry humor and some fantastic lyrics.
But there is also some new things here too, although that should be expected from an album that may just be his retiring album. There are a few little issues here but this is easily one of his more solid releases in recent years and could become one of his greatest albums to date. Be sure to listen out to nods to his previous songs too, as they do feature here too.
Well… this album begins very hit-and-miss. With ‘Bad Guy’, it is straight up fifty-fifty on how I feel about it. It starts off rather forced sounding, due to either the editing of the track or just because Eminem was stuck on how to open the album right, either way, the first half of the song is a little tasteless and lowers any expectations you had almost immediately. But it then kicks in properly halfway through and you automatically think back to the song ‘Stan’ off the first ‘MMLP’.
And oh so suddenly, faith is restored. You move into the skit on the record which moves into ‘Rhyme Or Bust’ which is a rather weak song. A good premise but, again, it feels rushed and forced so, yet again, standards have been lowered. But, apparently, Eminem seems to enjoy lowering standards and then suddenly blowing you out of the water when ‘So Much Better’ comes on. This is purely offensive stuff with some of his best writing in recent years. The lyrics make you laugh whilst still being able to shock you, a trait Eminem is well known for. You’ll also, again, think about how similar it is to one of his previous songs, particularly that of ‘Kill You’.
It is a great track, blending uncomfortable, offensive comedy with superb lyric writing with apparent ease. The next few tracks, ‘Survival’, ‘Legacy’ and ‘Asshole feat. Skylar Grey’ deal with Eminem rapping about surviving the rap scene (and life in general), questioning his own legacy and also taking it upon himself to go as far as calling himself an asshole. All three are great tracks that deal with subjects that obviously affect Eminem, ‘Legacy’ being my favorite out of the lot. You then have ‘Berzerk’, which is pretty much berzerk.
One of the singles on the album, it is a good track that keeps you entertained, strong enough to still keep the overall flow of the album going. But then we reach what is by far the highlight of this album. The best track on here? Easily. One of his best songs ever? Definitely. Yes, ‘Rap God’ sums up exactly what Eminem is, with this track alone showing that. The lyrics are superbly written, the flow is smooth and continues without the song once going dull and it shows Eminem at his peak. It is reminiscent to ‘Lose Yourself’ and is superbly well done.
If the lyrics weren’t enough for you however, stick around for the track because Eminem then turns into a rapping minigun. Spitting out words faster than a minigun could fire out its rounds, Eminem proves that he is what the track title suggests to us. It took me by surprise and is sure to blow anyone away listening to it. It is one heck of a great song and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t amaze anyone that listens to it.
It is pretty hard to be amazed by any other track here after that performance and the next two tracks, ‘Brainless’ and ‘Stronger Than I Was’, aren’t the strongest on here. Not weak but, compared to most tracks before hand, they aren’t really breaking any new ground but they at least help fill the album, providing some decent hooks to keep the vibe up.
'Monster' is the next track, another single, this time featuring Rihanna. Last time these two collaborated together was with 'Love The Way You Lie', a song which explored their darker demons. The same formula is here, again, exploring their darker sides. However, the tone
is a little different and it proves that these two know how to make fantastic collaborations together. A solid track, it is well worth the listen and reinstates the epicness of the album once more. ‘So Far’ and ‘Love Game feat. Kendrick Lumar’ are good tracks, although the latter not being as good as the collaboration that was done previously with Rihanna.
But they keep up a good vibe, still maintaining the overall effect the album has on you. The second to last track is another great collaboration, this time with Nate Ruess. This collab is entitled ‘Headlights’ and features the best lyric writing on the entire album. It is a moving portrait of how Eminem admits to loving his mother, a person who he seemed to despise in his earlier works. It is sung with heartfelt dedication and it is one of the most touching tracks throughout his entire career. My personal favorite collab on here, it is beautiful, upsetting and amazing.
The final track is ‘Evil Twin’, a great closure to an album that had built up a lot of hype. It has a great vibe that features Eminem’s signature rapping style used to its full potential. A perfect ending to an album that started off being rather disappointing to suddenly blowing your mind. The beats here all work, fitting in with Eminem’s rapping style and switching between the typical beats Eminem has used over the years to beats that will take people back to the days of classic hip-hop. The mix is great too, making sure that Eminem and his guests are the main focus of the album. Overall, this is superb work and, if it is his closing album, then damn… it is one way to finish a career.
To finish up this lengthy review, it is safe to say that this is one of his best albums to date. With an incredibly powerful range of songs, dealing with so many different things, this has to be something that will help define his legacy. So there are some minor faults but they are so easy to ignore because the songs that help build back up the hype do it so damn well, doubling the hype you started out with.
As a stand alone record of his, this is one of his best but, as a sequel to his critically acclaimed masterpiece, ‘Marshall Mathers LP’? Does it deliver the same feel? Not quite. However, this is still a perfect sequel to an album that was hard to beat. If this really is the album to end his career on, then it is the best career-ending album made. Period. Eminem, I applaud you for this, you are truly a rap god.