Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP2

Posted November 12, 2013 by in Hip-hop



3.5/ 5


Producer: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Label: , ,
Genre: Hip-hop
Producer: Aalias, Alex da Kid, Cardiak, DJ Khalil, DVLP, Emile, Eminem, Filthy, Frank Dukes, Frequency, Jeff Bhasker, Luis Resto, M-Phazes, Rick Rubin, S1, Sid Roams, StreetRunner
Label: Interscope, Shady, Aftermath
Format: Digital download, compact disc
Time: 78:13
Release Date: 5 November 2013
Spin This: "The Monster," "Berserk"


Eminem is still brilliant at rhyming and storytelling, shows off every corner of his multiple personalities. "The Monster" and "Berzerk" are exceptional standouts


World of genres and barrage of rock samples overtakes Eminem's performance; cuts at the tapestry of cohesion

‘Em is still rough and tough, but the musical palette on MMLP2 feels a bit wacky and all over the map

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

‘Em is still rough and tough, but the musical palette on MMLP2 feels a bit wacky and all over the map

There’s no question that Eminem will go down in history as a rap genius. His lyrical flow and dramatic battle rhyming impulses has left many hip-hop champions dumbfounded by his amazing gift of verbal spin. But today, Eminem is a different guy since he dropped The Marshall Mathers LP in 2000. He’s sober, he’s mature and he’s obviously older. He hasn’t lost his dark humor, his rapid pace or his non-apologetic use of the f-bomb. Even though he’s found himself embracing more mainstream associations (Rihanna, Bruno Mars, etc), none of this has slowed him or his fiery execution down. Evidence of that can be heard on the Beastie Boys-sampling “Berzerk,” the first single to drop from his eight solo album, The Marshall Mathers LP2. Here album producer Rick Rubin teases rock heads with a small piece of Billy Squier’s “The Stroke” while paying homage to the Beasties’ “fight for your right” style as if ‘Em is trying to crash the party. It’s very hard to suppress ‘Em’s rage, even with him embracing his sobriety. He’s still at the top of his game, even if he’s apologizing to Momz on the Nate Ruess-guested “Headlights” or carving Dad another asshole on the Zombies-sampled “Rhyme or Reason” (“What’s your name? Marshall/Who’s your daddy? I don’t have one”). What ultimately causes the album to feel like a cheap shot is the abundance of musical styles ‘Em is trying to wage war on. Jumping from synth-rock-laden EDM (“Asshole”) to country (“So Far…) to urban club attacks (“Rap God”) isn’t always a smart move when looking for cohesion on a rap album. Some of these genre-bending expeditions work in favor for ‘Em; On the pop-ready “The Monster,” he’s obviously aware that he’s discovered one of the hookiest pop songs of the year, and so he spits out swift poetry about the boogeyman around Rihanna’s vocal supported chorus as if 2010’s “Love the Way You Lie” was just a rehearsal: “No, I ain’t much of a poet but I know somebody once told me/To seize the moment and don’t squander it.” On the bonus track of “Beautiful Pain,” he collaborates with Sia on a track that proves it can be a neat balladic crossover-ish follow-up to “The Monster.”

Although Jeff Bhasker, Alex da Kid and DJ Khalil have their respective responsibilities on the album’s load, Rick Rubin’s production (taking four of the tracks) promises a different obstacle for ‘Em since it flashes back to the glory days of golden hip-hop. The name excites the ear instantly, but the famed producer boggles the album with a junk load of rock samples. As enjoyable it is to hear him spitting rhymes on “Time of the Season,” everyone’s done it. Hearing Wayne Fontana & the Mindbender’s “Game of Love” skewered across the Kendrick Lamar-guested “Love Game” isn’t all that glamorous either. For the most part, it sounds like a miniature version of “The Real Slim Shady” while also exposing some of the weaknesses in Lamar’s excitability when placed up against the beefier Eminem. But The Marshall Mathers LP 2, a juggernaut sixteen-track voyage (21 in deluxe form), reveals Slim Shady to be in strong form. Surely things would have been a bit different if Dr. Dre wanted more than just an executive producer credit. Despite the situation, ‘Em still entertains as he carves out exciting storytelling and decent sequels to his past hits. He’s also “not afraid” of playing with the genres. With the right stroke of balance, the 2013 album would have been close to flawless as its namesake.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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