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Album Review: “The Marshall Mathers LP 2″ by Eminem

Written by: Julian Levine
ALBUM_eminem
 
Release Date: Nov. 5, 2013
Rating: 5/10

Eminem sounds hit-and-miss in his sequel to the Marshall Mathers LP

Eminem, now in his 40s and obviously past his prime — his albums have gotten progressively worse — set the bar high for himself releasing a follow-up to his 13-year-old magnum opus. Covering all sorts of ground and occasionally revisiting its predecessor in 78 minutes, his eighth studio album, “The Marshall Mathers LP 2,” offers a lot to absorb. Eminem explores new instrumental and lyrical territory with moderate success — which, frankly, is more than he did on his two most recent albums, “Relapse” and “Recovery,” which both lacked lyrical substance, filled instead with lame jabs at rival celebrities.

Production-wise, the album is decent, with a variety of instrumental backings that range from dubstep to arena rock. Some tracks sound like homogenized, already-done, built-for-radio junk: In particular, “The Monster,” his collaboration with Rihanna, drags with a formulaic build-up and tired melody. Other tracks, like “So Much Better,” feel like they belong on a vintage Eminem LP. “Rhyme or Reason” and “Love Game,” two of the strongest tracks on the album, sample British Invasion artists, showcasing Eminem’s ability to borrow from a completely different genre to build something wholly new and riveting.

Eminem flaunts his usual flow and cadence: In the boldly- but perhaps justifiably-named single “Rap God,” he effortlessly rifles off 101 words in a mere 16 seconds. He sometimes compromises lyrical integrity and coherence for the sake of preserving rhymes — leading to a few nonsensical streams of onomatopoeia. But beneath the confusion lie some unexpected, self-aware pearls: In “Rap God,” for example, Eminem raps, “So I wanna make sure somewhere in this chicken scratch I scribble and doodle/ Enough rhymes to maybe try to help get some people through tough times.”

His most honest and touching track, “Headlights,” is held back by collaborator fun. frontman Nate Ruess. Eminem gets as real as ever on the song, forgiving his mother and expressing true regret over their distant relationship: “‘Cause to this day we remain estranged and I hate it though/ ‘Cause you ain’t even get to witness your grandbaby’s growth.” But Ruess’ contributions feel invasive: He sings loudly on the hook — sounding so processed that it’s grating — and he undermines the way Eminem pours out his emotions in each verse.

“The Marshall Mathers LP 2” doesn’t live up to the original, but Eminem does what he can, providing a sense of nostalgia while managing not to linger. He produces an adequate record — certainly a respectable addition to his discography — and at this point, that’s as much as you could ask.

8 Responses to Album Review: “The Marshall Mathers LP 2″ by Eminem

  1. Shady

    December 1, 2013 at 3:06 AM

    How can I report this page as spam for the horrible review ??? You failed to deliver.

  2. Anthony

    November 28, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    First of all you must have not listened to the recovery album, that album was one of his best and it had nothing to do with throwing jabs at other artist. That album was about making his recovery on good rap and music again and it was a million times more lyrical then 95% of these weak fucking illiterate rappers now and days. Now the mmlp2 album was also great which I give it a 8.5 out of 10. No one is on eminem a level right now not even close. I have to admit eminem did fall off after his eminem show and 8 mile albums but since the recovery he has been on top of his game again. Who ever wrote the top review must not know to much about hip hop for trying to hate on the recovery and mmlp2

  3. Nikki

    November 27, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    “He sometimes compromises lyrical integrity and coherence for the sake of preserving rhymes — leading to a few nonsensical streams of onomatopoeia.”
    I firmly believe that Em is far from the first rapper to do this. Wayne and Busta Rhymes have been part of this trend for a while. I miss coherent rap music.

  4. James

    November 27, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    Okay for me he has never released a bad song, his albums are incredible, what are you on about? Eminem will never be past his prime he is a “Rap God”…

  5. Deshawn Johnson

    November 26, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    tat nigga em is maaaaad pussy cring for pain nd shiit!! fuk em it ain a reall rap nigga!!!!!

  6. jamie

    November 26, 2013 at 3:06 AM

    Eminem show was his best album, I still enjoyed MMLP2, Best track was Headlights

  7. nick

    November 25, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    I don’t understand why everybody hates recovery. I personally thought it was one his best albums. With tracks that had more than enough lyrical content. I also totally disagree with your statement that em is past hos prime. He is still putting out quality music far ahead and much better than anyone else dropping records now. He’s the Elvis of rap. Nobody can touch him despite the fact hes had a couple lesa than great records, but with 8 studio records it not hard to have one not be as good as the others.

  8. Joshlm

    November 25, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    I think you’ve seriously under sold this album. A former, huge MNM fan I’d all but turned my back on his music disappointed with his recent albums. This album is a return to glory. What he clearly missed in his recent work is that ‘I don’t give a damn’ attitute which his failures if late have revived. This, like his other better albums, has poppy gimmick tracks that will sell, trouble making tracks, tracks that look back on his childhood, tracks that are designed to show off his flow, all at great quality. What a return!