Rolling Stone review
The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is the kind of sequel that gets people shouting at the screen in disbelief before their seats are warmed up. The first song, "Bad Guy," is seven white-knuckled minutes of psycho-rap insanity in which Stan's little brother comes back to chop Slim Shady into Slim Jims, tossing him into the trunk and driving around Detroit – listening to The Marshall Mathers LP, of course. "How's this for publicity stunt? This should be fun/Last album now, 'cause after this you'll be officially done," Em raps, playing his own killer.
Eminem could use a publicity stunt, and The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is just what the therapist ordered. During the 13 years since The Marshall Mathers LP, he's never lost his acrobat-gremlin skills on the mic. But some subsequent albums felt hermetic, perverting rage into rock-star griping on 2004's Encore, horror-show shock tactics on 2009's Relapse and 12-step purging on 2010's Recovery. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is about reclaiming a certain freewheeling buoyancy, about pissing off the world from a more open, less cynical place; he even says sorry to his mom on "Headlights," where he's joined by Nate Ruess of fun.
Nostalgia is everywhere. Em surrounds himself in allusions to classic hip-hop, like the Beastie Boys samples producer Rick Rubin laces together on "Berzerk." It's telling that the only guest MC is Kendrick Lamar on "Love Game," probably because his slippery syllable-juggling owes a lot to Eminem.
Yet Em's former obsession – his own media image – has been replaced with a 41-year-old's cranky concerns. He's still a solipsistic cretin, but in a more general, everyday sort of way. He raps about how he can't figure out how to download Luda on his computer and waves the Nineties-geek flag with references to Jeffrey Dahmer and the Unabomber. He's playing his best character: the demon spawn of Trailer Hell, America, hitting middle age with his middle finger up his nose while he cleans off the Kool-Aid his kids spilled on the couch.
Much of the album hews to the stark beats and melodies he loves rapping over. But the tracks that lean on classic rock are loopy and hilarious. "Rhyme or Reason" brilliantly flips a sample of the Zombies' "Time of the Season"; when the song asks, "Who's your daddy," Em answers, "I don't have one/My mother reproduced like a Komodo dragon." "So Far . . ." shows some love for a Rust Belt homey by rhyming over Joe Walsh's "Life's Been Good": "Jed Clampett, Fred Sanford, welfare mentality helps to/Keep me grounded, that's why I never take full advantage of wealth/I managed to dwell within these perimeters/Still cramming the shelves full of Hamburger Helper/I can't even help it, this is the hand I was dealt to."
MM LP 2 fits in well in the year of Yeezus and Magna Carta . . . Holy Grail, records by aging geniuses trying to figure out what the hell to do with their dad-ass selves. (It's like hip-hop is the new Wilco or something.) Since Em has always been a mess, he'll probably still be able to give us pause when he's rhyming about retirement ventures through dentures and cleaning out the colostomy bag he wears up inside his saggy drawers. MM LP 3, 2026. Let's do this.
Artist Direct Review
"Fuck your feelings," Eminem spits on "Evil Twin" the devilishly divine final gasp of his new classic, The Marshall Mathers LP 2.
Feelings aren't safe from Mr. Mathers and no one else is either as he fires off the kind of witty, wild, and wonderful verses that made him an icon on The Slim Shady LP, The Marshall Mathers LP, and The Eminem Show. He reverses the word "motherfucker" on "Evil Twin" in hilarious fashion, and he announces, "My suicide note's barely legible. Read the bottom. It's signed by The Joker". His knack for imagery remains unparalleled, twisting writhing rhymes from hellish to heavenly. "Evil Twin" will go down as one of his most corrosive confessions ever, especially as it skewers everybody around him. He assures, "Still Shady inside", and you can hear an entire nation fans gasp.
That's just the conclusion though. The seven-minute plus "Bad Guy" starts this ride. The production could've been ripped right from a slasher flick, and it fits the razor sharp rapping strewn throughout the sprawling epic. He nods to some past hits, while forging right into the future at full speed ahead, knives out, guns drawn, and fists clenched—punctuated by an eerie little hook.
For "Rhyme or Reason", he chops up The Zombies' "Time of the Season" and even does a spot-on Yoda impersonation, making for one of his most memorable—and genius—cuts yet. "So Much Better" creeps out with horror movie tension as piano bounces and the MC once again shows why he's in top form. Then, there's "Survival" and "Berzerk", both of which have done a fitting job of introducing the world to The Marshall Mathers LP 2. However, more often than not the rest of the album reflects the violent, vicious vibrancy of "Rap God", a pastiche of his sense of humor, anger, and passion all rolled into one.
Rihanna adds a soulful shine to "The Monster", proving a worthy successor to "Love The Way You Lie", while Kendrick Lamar adds L.A. swag to "Love Game".
After this trip, it's clear that Eminem's still king. Marshall Mathers has returned and (thankfully) he doesn't give a fuck how anyone feels.
The good news and not as good: Eminem meets expectations raised by naming his new album after the landmark he released in 2000.
On The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (***½ out of four), he recaptures the original release's wild, clever, emotional brilliance in a flurry of caustic, brazenly honest, rapid-fire rhymes and aggressive beats.
So what's the problem? Once the bravest visionary in rap's underworld, Eminem spends much of MMLP2 gazing into the past, reworking early tricks and wading in nostalgia rather than forging a fresh path.
That's only a minor disappointment considering the undimmed power of Eminem's earlier works and the fact that he's sharpened his tongue and his skill set.
The 16-track album, which leaked six days ahead of its scheduled Tuesday release, began streaming Friday afternoon at iTunes.
Anger remains a dominant color on the rapper's eighth studio album, whether in self-lacerating spiels or snarling tirades against enemies both real and comically cartoonish. He whips up a searing storm of invective in Evil Twin and subverts The Zombies' Time of the Season for the theatrically evil Rhyme or Reason.
On Rap God, Em rhymes at warp speed as he toasts hip-hop icons and gloats with humor and spite about his rise to glory :
Everybody wants the key and the secret to rap immortality like I have got
Well, to be truthful the blueprint's simply rage and youthful exuberance
Everybody loves to root for a nuisance
Hit the earth like an asteroid, did nothing but shoot for the moon since
It's a killer song marred by another unfortunate throwback: his slinging of homophobic slurs.
The king of verse perversity spits wit and venom with remarkable fluidity throughout MMLP2 in a return to the sharp, fearless, high-velocity wordplay of 1999's The Slim Shady LP, 2002's The Eminem Show and, of course, the first Mathers outing.
A few guests join in with mixed results. Rihanna, his duet partner on huge 2010 hit Love the Way You Lie, returns in a similarly poppish The Monster, and Kendrick Lamar throws some swagger into Love Game.
Nate Ruess of fun. adds vocals to Headlights, which addresses Eminem's rocky bond with his mother, long the target of his bitterness and blame. Here he's apologetic and eager to mend ties. It's an admirable confession. And a so-so track.
Eminem is at his best when he's at his worst: tasteless, immature, psychotic, incensed. Not the most attractive traits in a 41-year-old father, perhaps. But it works for pop music's antihero poet.
'The Marshall Mathers LP 2': album review
Eminem kvetches through a classic midlife crisis on his latest CD. On this, the first album the rapper has released since he turned — gasp! — 40, just over a year ago, Em goes into full regression mode.
True to today’s holiday, Halloween, the new music — which leaked on Wednesday, six days before its scheduled release date — finds Em dressed in his scariest old clothes.
He signaled this direction early on. Two of the three songs released prior to the full disc referred to the past. “Berzerk” reverted to early white rap by sampling the Beastie Boys. “The Monster” recycled Em’s earlier hit with Rihanna on 2010’s “Love the Way You Lie,” offering a similar, dual salute to the dark side. Even the CD’s title sets itself up as a sequel, referencing Eminem’s 10-million-selling “Marshall Mathers LP” from 13 long years ago.
Luckily, “Marshall Mathers 2” isn’t a mere retread of the earlier album. It’s a portrait of a middle-aged man who has no idea how to grow up — as well as one who admits he wouldn’t want to, even if he could.
In the process, the album offers a resounding return to the gory comedy and free embrace of psychosis that first made Em the antihero of our age. It’s his funniest album in years, as well as his fastest, verbally. The speed rap in “Rap God” alone could make every other emcee tie their tongue in shame.
Vintage fans may find all this a relief after the heaviness of his last work, 2010’s “Recovery.” That disc found the star in his most earnest mode, as well as his most apologetic. He even stopped complaining about his mother.
I am so in love with this album. A lot of his hard core fans are so happy right now. Not going to lie all his singles worried me...so much! But then it leaked and omg- it may be my favorite album ever. It's an emotional roller coaster tbh. One minute I'm cracking up-the next minute I want to cry. I know most here will just diss it but I know I few here like Eminem posts so here you go.
Some of my favorites:
Stronger than I was
Rhyme or reason
Here is headlights:
Btw you can stream it on iTunes.