Maybe I’m an idiot, but I like “The Marshall Mathers LP 2”. It’s one of the best records of 2013. I can understand the fury and I can feel the pain, taste the irony. This is not a revolutionary record? Eminem did not reinvented the rapping, the rap and the hip-hop? If a bicycle do not need a third wheel – metaphorically speaking – and rap/hip-hop don’t need to be reinvented, I believe Eminem has to be invented. Rap needs Eminem. Simply and plain, just because. Because Eminem is both electric-shock therapy and vitamin. He’s probably not a God as he like to present himself (“Why be a king when you can be a god?” he sings in the song called “Rap God”), but he’s definitively a king. Behind all of his jokes, rhymes and irony I can see a very lonely, very sad, very furious human being. Don’t really give a shit about the over 220 million records he sold worldwide and that make him one of the best-selling music artists of the world, I don’t really consider him one of the greatest artists as the Rolling Stone magazine which ranked him 82nd on its list of The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, but for sure Eminem got style and know how to say things. And his the eighth studio album, “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” it’s a really solid release.
We’ve got a couple of huge songs (Bad Guy, Rhyme Or Reason, The Monster, Stronger Than I Was, Love Game), and having 15 tracks, it’s really something these days. Only at track 10 – “Brainless” – I had a feeling of saturation and I was tempted to skip that one. But maybe that’s just me again!
Along Eminem, there is an impressive list of co-producers who worked on the album: Rick Rubin and Dr. Dre (both also as executive producers), Aalias, Alex da Kid, Cardiak, Frequency, DJ Khalil, DVLP, Emile, Filthy, Frank Dukes, Jeff Bhasker, Luis Resto, M-Phazes, S1, Sid Roams, and StreetRunner. Honestly, I’m not a fan of involving an army into a record making, but that tends to become mandatory in the American pop culture lately. The album sounding good, but not surprising, there are a few subtle production tricks and choices which make it really enjoyable, but from my point of view, still not justify the presence of that many producers. Eminem’s music and the arrangements are quite minimal stuffs, it’s not that complicated to mix and produce them. But then again, it’s his money, his choices, probably a record with a list of fashionable producers will sell better then an album – eventually exactly the same – produced by a no-name.
The album features guest appearances from singers Skylar Grey (Skylar Grey), Rihanna (The Monster), Sarah Jaffe (Bad Guy) and Fun frontman Nate Ruess (Headlights), with the only other rapper appearing on the album being Eminem’s Aftermath label-mate Kendrick Lamar (Love Game).
01 – Bad Guy
02 – Parking Lot (skit)
03 – Rhyme Or Reason
04 – So Much Better
05 – Survival
06 – Legacy
07 – Asshole (Ft. Skylar Grey)
08 – Berzerk
09 – Rap God
10 – Brainless
11 – Stronger Than I Was
12 – The Monster (Ft. Rihanna)
13 – So Far…
14 – Love Game (Ft. Kendrick Lamar)
15 – Headlights (Ft. Nate Ruess)
16 – Evil Twin
With samples from the Beastie Boys’ “The New Style” and “Fight for Your Right”, and Billy Squier’s “The Stroke”, the track “Berzerk” produced by Rubin was the lead single of the album. “Bad Guy” is produced by S1, M-Phazes and StreetRunner, with a chorus sung by Sarah Jaffe. “Rhyme Or Reason” it’s build upon Rod Argent’s hit with The Zombies in 1969, “Time of the Season”. “The Monster” is produced by Frequency and Rihanna’s chorus was ringing in my ears for days while the song features backing vocals from Bebe Rexha. “Survival” features a chorus sung by Liz Rodrigues and production by DJ Khalil.
Speaking in October 2013, with Rolling Stone about the album’s title, Eminem said: “Calling it The Marshall Mathers LP 2, obviously I knew that there might be certain expectations. I wouldn’t want to call it that just for the sake of calling it that. I had to make sure that I had the right songs – and just when you think you got it, you listen and you’re like, ‘Fuck, man. I feel like it needs this or that,’ to paint the whole picture. So there’s not gonna be, like, continuations of every old song on there or anything like that. To me, it’s more about the vibe, and it’s more about the nostalgia.”
I’m not a rap/hip-hop consumer, but “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” it’s that type of record you can hardly take off from your player once you put it in and pushed play. And I was not impressed by Eminem since “The Slim Shady LP” in…. 1999.
Eminem – Official Site