ATP! Album Review: Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP 2
Well, of course.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is great. The biggest problem with the rapper’s latest release is that it sets itself up to be viewed as a sequel to third studio album. Sure, he specifically stated that it wasn’t but it was created with the goal of going back to Eminem’s older sound in mind, and it does. The only problem is that fans get a lot of the same old, same old. Granted, the "If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It" argument can be made, because frankly, there are still some great moments on the album.
‘Survival’ is the first attention grabbing song on MMLP2, originally penned for Call of Duty: Ghosts and featuring Liz Rodrigues of The New Royales. With grungy guitars and heavy drums filling out the song over Eminem’s angry lines about surviving, it really shouldn’t come as a shock that it finds itself featured in a first-person shooter. As a sort of anthem that could get any listener pumped to end a war - or just take on the day - the 41-year-old rapper proclaims that he’ll “make this whole stadium erupt” and if there’s any song on MMLP2 that will get a stadium going, it’s this one.
The lead single ‘Berzerk’ follows shortly afterward, keeping to the same vein of high energy brought by ‘Survival.’ Sampling songs from Billy Squier and the Beastie Boys, critics noted that the sound was heavily influenced by old-school hip-hop, but what makes it so damn catchy is the fact that it has just been that long since we’ve even heard old-school hip-hop.
Unfortunately, Eminem falls short of his potential on the following track ironically titled ‘Rap God.’ Filled with homophobic slurs-- which has garnered a bit of media interest-- and a repetitive beat that is far from interesting, the track is remarkably stagnant, only worth the 30 second or so reference to ‘Lookin Boy’ by Hotstylz. Sure, Em, you can rap fast but we already knew that, and it certainly doesn’t save this doozy of a song from being six minutes of the same beat.
The highlight of the album comes in the form of ‘Headlights’ featuring fun.’s Nate Ruess where we see a side of Eminem that we hardly get to see at all, if ever. It’s a plea to his mother, apologizing for the songs he wrote about her, forgiving her for what she’s done and even thanking her for playing the role as both mom and dad. Most people wouldn’t go so far as to say an Eminem track brought a tear to their eye, but that was before he released ‘Headlights.’ It’s heartfelt, honest, and feels like the only moment that the words are coming straight from Marshall Mathers, not Eminem and not some other rap persona.
So in the end, does The Marshall Mathers LP 2 offer up scathing remarks, witty lyricism and catchy as hell beats? Yes, to all, and if that’s what you’re looking for no matter how many times it has been done before, this is most certainly the album for you. If you’re looking for a complete breath of fresh air, well, maybe you should keep on looking.
The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is available now via Aftermath Records.