Slim Shady released his new album, The Marshall Mathers LP2 on November 5th, 2013. Spanning over an hour and 30 minutes, the album is not to be taken as a sequel to The Marshall Mathers LP, but rather as a ‘revisitation’ as Eminem stated in his Rolling Stones interview. Many are calling this album the return of a ‘Rap God’, a title for which is eponymous to one of the tracks in the album.
In a world dominated by newbies like J. Cole, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar, it’s tough for a veteran rapper to stay relevant. While the new rap style is to be calm and monotonic in the midst of dance infused beats, Eminem fights the current by keeping it well, Eminem.
The album starts with Bad Guy, a continuation of Stan, spoken from the perspective of Stan’s brother, Matthew Mitchell. However, it seems to be a conversation between Eminem’s public persona and his private one. He bashes himself and brings to light the issues that makes him so controversial. From addressing his use of misogynistic lyrics, to his profanity, and even to his alleged homophobia, all of these are interwoven in the lyrics and placed against a backdrop of simple beats. This song is amongst one of the touching pieces in the album, alongside, Stronger Than I Was and Headlights ft Nate Ruess. Eminem also makes good use of the female voice such as in tracks, A**hole ft. Skyler Grey and The Monster ft. Rihanna, which stands as a stark contrast to his grunting and sclerotic vocals.
I have always been a fan of Shady’s authenticity and realness. He speaks his mind shamelessly without holding back. But after a while, that anger and bitterness can get quite old…quickly. Especially when there are 21 songs of anger to push through. I was kinda disappointed by the lack of thematic growth in this album. Sometimes I question, is Eminem really that unhappy? Or is it just the way the record company is selling him? If the latter is true then he must have a really tough time keeping that image…which can lead to even more frustration.
But! No matter what happens, Eminem will always remain one the greatest lyricist of the 21st Century and the only rapper who uses his vocal chords to create the cadences that other rappers rely on electronic syncopation for. From softening his voice, to crescendoing for emphasis, to slurring words to create the illusion of a rhyme, and to the small pauses in between lines, Eminem’s vocal acrobatics continue to flow well into his 40s. Oh and not to mention his newfound speed rapping to prove to the world and to those new in the game that he is still the rap god.
This album is obviously more of an attempt to knock on our doors to let us know, Shady is still here! and he has definitely gotten our attention. However, I really wish to hear an album where he is way past all the bitterness in his past and on to something new like: Girls, money, and bling. Ok no. I take that back. Eminem, find someone else to be mad at who isn’t your ex wife.
By the way, it will be really awesome if Hailie (Eminem’s daughter) decides to write an analytical biography of her dad one day. It’ll be curious to see a different side of him. One that’s more…sunny.