In 2000, rapper Eminem released a CD filled with boasts about drugs, killing and hating gay people and women. This album, known as “The Marshall Mathers LP,” sold more than 21 million copies worldwide and is, in my opinion one of the most brilliant hip-hop albums of all time. After 13 years, seven albums, and a couple relapses, Eminem is back with “The Marshall Mathers LP 2.” All the talent and wit is still there, but MM2 seriously lacks the beats and “I don’t give a damn” attitude that allowed the original Marshall Mathers LP to reign over pop culture back in 2000.
“The Marshall Mathers LP 2” has been a wild commercial success. Eminem is the first artist since The Beatles to have four songs on the Billboard top 20, with the songs “Berzerk,” “The Monster”, “Survival” and “Rap God.” Though that’s an impressive feat, none of these songs reach the expectations I have for Eminem. “The Monster” and “Rap God” have annoying electronic beats instead of the simple, ‘90s West coast-style beats we bobbed our heads to earlier in his career. “Berzerk,” Eminem’s attempt at old school, sounds forced and his message is outdated.
Listening to the album, I missed the unapologetic, ruthless attack Eminem used to take on helpless celebrities, ex-wives, and his own family. I craved a song that would really make me laugh. My first taste of satisfaction came with the song “Rhyme or Reason,” which samples The Zombies’ hit “Time of the Season.” I immediately began bobbing my head to its beat. This is the Eminem I wanted. He explains how his lack of a father shaped him, while mixing in mad rhymes dripping with wit.
One song, “Love Game”, stood out beyond all on MM2. With a million rhymes a minute pouring from both Kendrick Lamar and Eminem, the track offers the most exciting, funny and skillful lyrics of the entire album. While Kendrick offers Slim Shady-inspired impressions of girlfriends, Eminem is brutally honest. “I got too much baggage, or I’m too f****** dramatic, man what the f*** is the matter, I’m just a f****** romantic,” he screams in comical frustration. This passion sounds like it could be directly off of the first Marshall Mathers LP.
“The Marshall Mathers LP 2” was disappointing, but it was not a bad record. Eminem is still one of the most talented rappers in the history of the genre. He just has gotten older and, unfortunately, matured. I am going to miss the crude, drug-addicted Eminem from the late nineties to the early two thousands, but I will always admire the man for his unmatched ability to rhyme. (2 out of 5 stars)