Eminem’s ‘The Marshall Mathers LP 2’: What you need to know
What do you do when you’ve sold over 100 million albums and won just about every award that it’s conceivable to win? When you’re a man who has derived his inspiration from his difficult upbringing and personal turbulence, how do you find topics that anger you? When everything you want is a click of your fingers away, what drives you?
Well, Eminem has clearly decided that the best way to find inspiration is to go back to what spurred him on in the first place and has produced a sequel to his 2000 third album The Marshall Mathers LP.
Here’s what you need to know about the rapper’s eighth record…
What’s The Background?
Eminem’s last two studio albums Relapse and Recovery chronicled the rapper’s battle with his addiction to prescription painkillers and excessive weight gain, which he successfully kicked after rehabilitation. After this, he worked with fellow Detroit rapper Royce Da 5’9’ as duo Bad Meets Evil to produce the nine-track EP Hell: The Sequel, a release that was hailed by many fans as the best thing he’d done in years.
With the slate clean, Eminem has instead decided to look back and dig into his past again for lyrical inspiration.
Who’s At The Controls?
As you’d expect, Eminem has once again turned to his old friend Dr Dre, who shares executive producer credits with super producer Rick Rubin.
Are There Any Guests?
Loads. As well as Dre and Rubin, Eminem has called on the help of fun frontman Nate Ruess for the track ‘Hedlights’ as well as regular collaborator Skylar Grey for ‘Asshole’. Rihanna, who guested on the rapper’s huge hit ‘Love Like The Way You Lie’, makes another appearance on new single ‘The Monster’. Fast rising rapper Kendrick Lamar also appears on a song titled ‘Love Game’ as does relatively unknown songwriter Sarah Jaffe, who guests on ‘Bad Guy’.
What’s He Sampled?
Slim Shady has cleared been on something of a classic rock tip as a lot of the samples he’s brought from the crates date back to late 1960s and 1970s rock. Among the samples are a slight reworking of The Zombies’ ‘Time Of The Season’ on ‘Rhyme Or Reason’ and Joe Walsh’s ‘Life’s Been Good’, which features on ‘So Far…’. Early single ‘Berserk’ has three samples, in the shape of Beastie Boys' ‘The New Style’ and ‘Fight for Your Right’, and Billy Squier's ‘The Stroke’.
Does It Deliver?
The first thing to be said about this record is it’s very dark indeed. Eminem might be rich and successful, but he’s still as full of piss and vinegar as the day he found fame. The rapper is candid about his troubles with fame, women and the shadow of his own legacy. He’s also in a more reflective mood, even apologising to his estranged mother on ‘Headlights’, a tenderness he’s seldom shown before.
It really feels like the rapper has got the bit between his teeth again on this record, and, as a result, we get some of the wittiest and wackiest rhymes he’s delivered in years. Normally falling back on old glories is a sure sign of a tired record, but this has had the opposite effect, it has revitalised Eminem. An amazing return to form.