177 of 200 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (Audio CD)
When Eminem first announced the title of his upcoming album in August by way of a clever advertisement, I had qualms and was concerned that he had made a mistake. How could he make a sequel to his most highly acclaimed work, especially after releasing "Recovery", an entire album that chronicled a maturing Eminem and showcased the destruction of a drug addiction that fueled a majority of "The Marshall Mathers LP"'s content? He even dyed his hair blonde again. Was this going to be a truthful return to a magnum opus, or was it a middle-aged man's last attempt to stay relevant in an evolving genre that now prides itself more on fashion than it does lyrics? I pondered this briefly and felt that he had made a mistake. As the singles were slowly released, I was pleased but not appeased. I found them enjoyable but did not see how they were in line with the content from "The Marshall Mathers LP". Then, on October 14, 2013, "Rap God" was released and it derailed all of my lingering preconceived notions. The track evinces a wild-throwback to the original "Mathers". Not only does it feature tantalizing wordplay, a ridiculously fast verse, and a versatile repertoire of lyrics, it is littered with homophobic and misogynistic lyrics, features that were heavily prevalent on the original. I don't mean to condone these lyrics, however, they were rather satisfying in the sense that they truly alluded to just how far Eminem went back. They're art and not mean to be taken literally. Additionally, there are references to the original album strewn all over the song; the opening introduction features the same words as "Remember Me", he repeats the Columbine line (uncensored this time) from "I'm Back" and the rest of the song features other blasts to the past. I was feeling much more confident for the direction of the album after the release of "Rap God"
All of my feelings were cemented further when I heard the rest of the album. This is his best one in years. I can't even begin to describe how blown away I was by it, and it sounds even better with each listen. For one, he isn't just a talented lyricist anymore like he was back in 2000. In addition to still being the best lyricist in contemporary hip-hop, he's also become quite the king of metaphors. Though this crown may have rested on Lil Wayne's head for a (well-earned) period of time, it's easily been shifted to Eminem's. The amount of double entendres ("How could I not blow, all I do is drop F-bombs?" and "If I can't 'batter' the women, how the f--- am I supposed to bake them a cake, then?" are just a few), metaphors, similes, rhyme scheme and sheer wordplay propels him to tip-top form, as he shouts on the album's magnificent closer, "Evil Twin".
My concerns as to whether or not this would be a throwback were swiftly alleviated the instant I realized what was going on in the seven minute opener, "Bad Guy"; Stan's younger brother, Matthew, has returned and is hellbent on slaughtering Eminem for causing the death of Stan. One of the best tracks I've ever heard, and the lyricism here is pretty startling at times. If this wasn't enough, the skit that follows this, "Parking Lot", picks up immediately where the bank-robbery skit in "Criminal" left off--Eminem shoots and kills the teller, and darts into the parking lot, attempting to evade the oncoming onslaught of police. The rest of the album is laden with throwbacks and references each copacetic in its own right. Even frequent longtime collaborator Luis Resto is back at work, and while his absence was duly noted, his return is generously welcomed. The track "So Far" incorporates interpolations of both "I'm Back" and "The Real Slim Shady" directly into the verses. Another track has him pondering his longevity in the game when his rivals seem to have vanished ("I'm all out of wack/I'm out of Backstreet Boys to call out and attack") while a track on the deluxe edition has him tossing out ICP member Violent J's name. Yet another track has Eminem spewing, "I'm still a criminal/ten year old degenerate grabbin' on my genitals/the last Mathers went diamond, I'm predicting this one'll go emerald!" Meanwhile, at least two tracks (one featuring label mate Kendrick Lamar) are entirely dedicated to the grotesque brand of misogyny that made him the archenemy of feminist groups worldwide. The deluxe edition even closes with Ken Kaniff!
However, and perhaps most interesting, is the fact that despite the album's retrospective outlook, it still manages to remain undeniably fresh and new. None of the tracks sound recycled or unoriginal, even ones that seem to be direct continuations of songs from the first LP. In addition, he continues to touch upon familiar subject matter (his father's departure, his wrestling with fame, his addiction, etc.) in a new light, still retaining the content that makes his sales soar while opting for original sounds and delivery. He's a 41 year old man who still has a story to tell and can still do so remarkably well, with an effervescent style that still lurks when other mainstream artists have gravitated towards braggadocios displays of wealth and inept characterizations of their sexual escapades. We still want to listen, we're still interested and we still stay put.
Overall, this was a phenomenal album. You don't even need to be a die-hard Eminem fan to appreciate it. If you just compare this to recent offerings from the likes of 2 Chainz, A$AP Rocky, Drake and even J.Cole, this blows them all out of the water. The beats are better, the content better, the lyrics better and the feel of the album better. For those of us, like myself, who have been fans of his for over a decade or more, this will be even more enjoyable as his material will resonate with us more soundly. For instance, the moving track "Headlights" features a powerful apology to his mother, who he's been insulting since "My Name Is" all the way down to "My Mom" from "Relapse". We've journeyed with him and listened to the tale of his mother for enough time that this track will be particularly hard hitting.
I urge you to buy this album. It's the best release of the past few years, and though I may be a bit biased since I am a huge fan of his, I'm also not oblivious--if he made an awful album, I'd be the first to call him out as I did when "Encore" was released, even though its sub par lyrical content was still better than that of most other artists. Thankfully he didn't make an awful album and "The Marshall Mathers LP 2" is an extremely worthy successor to a predecessor that introduced millions to Slim Shady. Speaking of Slim Shady, the closing song, "Evil Twin" is a devilishly devised track in which Eminem and Shady trade jabs at one another, and the rest of the track consists of raw, pure, unadulterated Slim Shady at his finest. The critics have agreed with my assessment, lauding the album with rave reviews, while only a select few are criticizing it for its homophobia and misogyny, to which Elton John aptly responded, "If they aren't intelligent enough to see his intelligence, that's their problem."
I'll close with a minute comment; I'm not sure why he didn't include the deluxe tracks on the standard version. They're all good enough to have made it, and I would've swapped one of them out for a track like "Stronger Than I Was" which I wasn't too fond of. Nevertheless, enjoy!
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Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 5, 2013 9:37:07 PM PST
T. Flesher says:
all the songs couldn't fit on one disc since it can only hold close to 80 minutes worth of songs. thanks for the review! i'm enjoying the album as well.
Posted on Nov 6, 2013 12:21:21 AM PST
Kabol, Johnathan N. says:
harrison: i was going to write exactly what T. Flesher commented. aside from that, i'd like to comment an agreement that wayne did earn the time he did have in the spotlight.
ive listened to the album in sections. i dl'd the album because it was out there, but i cant vibe to a whole album for the fist time without the pamphlet. i'm old school like that i guess, i like to read who produced what and see the words from the artist. it's like adding to the overall dynamic, or something. i'm off work today and will pick it up in the day while going to the grocery store for dog food and bell peppers and whatnot....
youre review is well thought out and concisely written. i know about seven of the tracks. bad guy and evil twin are among those. i played bad guy for my wife sunday night, that looooong seven minute song. she's a fan as well and we were listening to music at the time. she was born the same day as em and has a gravitational allegiance to libras lol and by the end she was pumped and emotional. it's effn amping, that track. if you listen with your eyes closed in the dark, when he goes all in, it can bring tears. that is amazing. i too didnt expect a "sequal" album, be he definitely pits eminem against slim shady against marshall mathers very well. i've been blown away, but i cant craft my thoughts on the album until i seriously vibe to it in full. so i read a few other reviews and yours stood out.
Posted on Nov 6, 2013 7:05:02 AM PST
Kyle B. says:
I agree with pretty much everything you said. I'm glad that you mentioned that you would've swapped one of the deluxe songs out for "Stronger Than I Was." I was thinking that all day yesterday!
Posted on Nov 6, 2013 7:13:56 PM PST
Posted on Nov 8, 2013 11:35:30 AM PST
a G. For you says:
j cole ? come on now man them other fools dont even compare to j cole. dude raps about real life. anyways this album does blow the rest of the albums away. Em skills is just to good. one of my top 5 artist.
Posted on Nov 12, 2013 4:55:39 PM PST
Chandis Ramon Carpenter says:
They couldn't get the approval for a sample in "Stronger than I was" in time for the release.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2013 3:01:55 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 13, 2013 3:02:10 PM PST
Kabol, Johnathan N. says:
@chandis that was a different track, "stronger than i was" is on the album. but i did read about that, the track em wanted to put with the extra cd with the deluxe version. i cant remember the name of the track at the moment, but it'll come to me.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2013 10:50:29 AM PST
That's right. It was Don't Front ft Buckshot. It was meant to be on the deluxe, sample wasn't cleared, it's now a special download for buying COD Ghosts
Posted on Nov 17, 2013 6:27:07 AM PST
Reel life says:
This was a bad ass album, I havent even finished listening to it yet. I was an eminem fan in 97, but I was also a juggalo back then and of course the hate made me steer the other way. Then his music went downhill and he feel off. well he is back and this is better than any mainstream album that has dropped.. oh and lil wayne sucks but thats just my opinion. He should have reached out to the real detroit icons of natas if he wanted to make this epic.
Posted on Nov 20, 2013 5:00:20 PM PST
I think the Deluxe Edition/Bonus Tracks was a very clever marketing ploy. People who hadn't heard the album will opt for the Standard LP. Then, they start hearing the bonus tracks like "Groundhog Day", "Beautiful Pain", "Wicked Ways", etc.- and they do one of two things- they a). buy 1 to 5 of those bonus tracks at $1.29/ea (which equates to more revenue) or b). Say to heck with it and buy the Deluxe Version as well.
$19-$20 per copy brings in more cash than $16 or whatever I and others paid for the Deluxe MMLP2 (price was not even a factor- I would have bought this Deluxe LP for $30- no friggin' lie, Ricky! LOL. Yeah- dude is definately right- rap fan or not- see for yourself. I also implore you to buy this amazing LP. Brings back chilling/awesome memories from the early 1999 and the 2000's Slim Shady days....
I'm old- but I'm promoting my past until I'm passed out! ;) Trust the consensus on this album folks- it's an Emerald. Likey to sell 10 million copies in the next few years (already over 1 million)- and that doesn't count iTunes sales as iTunes doesn't release their sales figures- SoundScan only counts hard copies. So the sales of MMLP2 are probably closer to 2 million. Without piracy? Closer to 4-5 million worldwide. And that is in less than 3 weeks after release.
This album is off the chainsaw- grab it up if you know what's good fer ya! If you don't like it, I guarentee you can gift it to a fam member or friend who will love it. It's crazy good- I'll be the 1st to say I like it even more than the original MMLP. Why? Eminem is grown. He's sober. He's more intelligent with his rhymes and understands how he can "take the whole culture and reupholstry it". The man deserves the credit he is gonna get with MMLP2.
Only 1-2 songs out of 21 that I (didn't dislike but) thought were just sorta "OK". Everything else is mind-bogglingly awesome.
PS: It helps if you have speakers like Jessie from Breaking Bad. Haha. This LP is on repeat for at least another 4 weeks for me.