Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP 2 Review

the marshall mathers lp 2 review

Eminem’s highly anticipated album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, leaked to the internet yesterday to much fanfare, and some disappointment. The album is making the rounds, so if you really want to track it down you should be able to, but make sure you purchase the album if you like it. We will not provide download links so don’t even ask. With that said, let’s jump into the album, my impressions and my response to the impressions of some people on the internet.

the marshall mathers lp 2 review

The Marshall Mathers LP 2 Impressions

With a title like “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” Eminem was setting himself up for criticism. The Marshall Mathers LP is arguable Eminem’s greatest album to date. So does this album live up to the genius that was MMLP? In short, No, but let me elaborate a little bit. The Marshall Mathers LP will go down as one of the greatest albums in hip-hop history; it’s almost impossible to recreate the magic that you captured on an album that classic. So it’s not Em’s fault, but maybe he shouldn’t have been so ambitious with the album title. That being said, The Marshall Mathers LP 2 seems more like the back-side of MMLP, as opposed to a sequel. It’s Eminem revisiting the themes and verses on the original, 13 years later. He’s grown as an artist, matured as a person, and experienced different problems than he did in his early years.

He’s not the same person he was 13 years ago, he doesn’t have the same problems he did back then, but there are still some deep rooted issues that he wants to get off his chest. Right off the bat with Bad Guy we get a pseudo sequel to “Stan”. Em starts off the song reaching out against his mom and his father, who left him, only to bring it back around and bring Stan’s brother into the mix. Stan’s brother kidnaps Em in an act of revenge for his brother. Creative callbacks to “Stan” and the meeting in Denver between Matthew and Eminem, and Em snubbing him, are all abound. The song wraps up with a hard hitting comeback as if Em’s looking back at himself after being killed by Matthew. It sort of sums up the rest of the album in my opinion. We see Em still pissed at everyone in the beginning, but it finally takes death to make him realize some of the animosity he had towards some people wasn’t worth it. And for those questioning whether this is Eminem’s last album, based on the line in this song; it was Matthew telling Em it was his last album cause Matthew was about to kill him… Don’t read too far into it.

Songs like Love Game featuring Kendrick Lamar give us a better incite into his deeply rooted issues with women, stemming back to his mother, ex-wife and what sounds like other women in his life. Stronger Than I Was touches on these aspects as well as Em sings his way through this touching ballad claiming that despite what was done to him in the past, everything he’s gone through has made him stronger. Combine these softer, more heartfelt songs, with Headlights, and it’s clear that Eminem has matured as a person, but still wants us to know that he can rap with the best of them.

Songs like Rap God, Rhyme or Reason and Evil Twin are all evidence that Em can still reach back into his bag of tricks and rap circles around anyone whenever he chooses to. Throw in a couple pop-ish, radio friendly songs, like The Monster featuring Rihanna and Berserk and you’ve got a pretty well rounded album. There’s gritty, hard hitting lyrics combined with softer heartfelt songs that make this album a solid entry into Eminem’s catalog. But don’t get me wrong, it’s not a perfect album by any means; there are some misses here. I’m still not sure how I feel about some of the beat choices. I like Love Game, but the beat is a bit strange to me, but Kendrick absolutely kills his verses on the song. Asshole featuring Skylar Grey is just a straight miss for me; I’m really not feeling that song. And the classic rock sample on So Far… seems a little off to me. It’s not things he was going on The Marshall Mathers LP, but started to do more recently, which is why I can see why people don’t like the comparison.

And let’s talk about those people for a minute. I get all of the comparisons to The Marshall Mathers LP, it’s only fair that people would compare the two since this one is aptly named The Marshall Mathers LP 2, but I think people need to take a step back and look at the album as Eminem revisiting that album instead of a direct sequel. As I said above, it’s more so that Eminem went back and took the themes and messages within The Marshall Mathers LP and revisited them. The Marshall Mathers LP was an extremely dark CD that came to life due to the problems Eminem was going through in his life at that point. It tells the story of Marshall Mathers in 2000. That’s not necessarily how Marshall Mathers feels about those same situations now that it’s 2013. The animosity towards his mother has clearly subsided now that years have past… It’s the revisiting of themes that makes this worthy of the title The Marshall Mathers LP 2, not the tone of the album.

I’ve read a bunch of posts on Reddit and elsewhere saying how Eminem fell off after The Eminem Show, or how people think this album is too dark in some aspects and not the satirical, witty-ness of his earlier work… First of all I should probably take into account the age of these people before I come at their opinions. Lots of the comments were coming from people saying they were 12-14 when The Eminem Show came out, which was their first real experience with Eminem. And I get that if The Eminem Show was your first introduction to Eminem, then you probably thought The Slim Shady LP and The Marshall Mathers LP were “different” than what you were used to, but for those of us that were 18-20 when The Slim Shady LP came out, we were a bit disappointed with The Eminem Show. His style began to the more satirical, fun, Eminem that you guys have come to love; that’s not the Eminem I love. Don’t get me wrong, The Eminem Show has some of my favorite Eminem tracks of all time in Till I Collapse, White America, Say What You Say, but songs like Business, Square Dance and My Dad’s Gone Crazy, are evidence that his style was changing a bit.

Don’t even get me started on Encore, we’ll just pretend that album never happened, although I do enjoy Mockingbird. Relapse took a weird turn as well, bringing out the “horror-core” side of Eminem. It was as if he was trying to go back to the dark side, but he just went in the wrong direction. Recovery was a solid album, despite what you all will say. It ditched the stupid accents, lost the horror-core aspect of everything and just came out swinging. I would compare Recovery more to The Eminem Show than anything else; it had it’s poppy hits, but also had it’s hard hitting tracks.

So no matter what you think of The Marshall Mathers LP 2, give it another listen and think of it more as a response or an artist revisiting old artwork in a different mindset than they were at the time they created the original piece. Don’t think of it as a direct sequel because you’re going to be disappointed. People grow up and change, artists grow up and change. I think Jay-Z said it best, when he said “… want my old shit, buy my old albums”. Artists need to change and evolve as they grow, Eminem isn’t in his twenties anymore, he’s 41 years old. If I acted or held myself the same way I do now at 31, that I did at 21, I’d be embarrassed…. Although I still dress the same and listen to the same music… maybe I should grow up.

So those are my opinions of the album, and the people bashing it before really giving it a chance. If you don’t like it, that’s your opinion, I’m not trying to tell anyone they are wrong or right; everyone has different tastes in music. Just please, for the love of god, don’t say this album sucks and tell me your favorite album of his Encore… Just don’t.