Slim Shady never fails to return to the easily, musically influenced atmosphere with a bang–literally.
Eminem released his anticipated album Marshall Mathers LP 2 on November 4th, 2013 and the deluxe version the next day, which includes 5 extra tracks. Just a few weeks before, his single “Berzerk” arose, a pleasant source of nostalgia for devoted fans as it brought back memories of “The Real Slim Shady” and “Just Lose It”, in which Eminem expressed his goofy, ignorant, and immature side. The mood of those tracks was carried onto the opening of this album. In “Bad Guy”, Eminem degrades what some could interpret to be his rotten history with his ex-wife Kim Scott, his resented mother Deborah R. Mathers-Briggs, or possibly the hip-hop genre in general, as he addressed in “25 to Life”, a 2010 track from his album Recovery.
In the short interlude skit (“Parking Lot”) following, Eminem acts like an obsessed fan whom wants to take over his life, “getting rid” of Mathers and burying him in a ditch. The song depicts him as a comical, humble, yet controversial guy, and the song “A******” clearly exhibits that, through his rhythmic couplets and belittling of not only what he thinks of himself, but what others think of him as well.
Despite having gone through a rough childhood and adult life, Mathers seems to cope with it all through his music as he has done previously in his hits “Mockingbird” and “When I’m Gone”, the foundation of his large fan base. He takes events and feelings about his life and briefly describes them to a head-bobbing beat that anyone can relate to, as in his song “Legacy” (“I am not compliant at home, at school/I’m just shy and awkward and I don’t need no God d*mn psychologist trying to diagnose me”). In “Stronger Than I Was”, he expresses the pain he feels after someone said he’d be nothing without them in a more mellowed out and serious tone, shifting gears from the choppy sentences and comically-themed tracks.
Approaching sentimental issues in a joking manner are what make “Rhyme or Reason”, “Survival”, and “So Much Better” such enjoyable tracks and frankly, it’s what has turned Eminem into the rapper that he is now recognized as. Rather than be snobby about the fact that his father abandoned him, he nonchalantly exclaims “No one!” in the catchy chorus for “Rhyme or Reason” after being asked “Who’s your daddy?”; and in the song “So Much Better” he gives tips to what you say to someone you hate and suggests repeating the phrase “My life would be so much better– if you just dropped dead/I was laying in bed last night thinking, and this thought just popped in my head.”
And believe it or not, Mr. Mathers isn’t exactly accepted by everyone in the world, therefore making “Brainless” a more sassy extroverted tale taking a more playful view on the claims made by society that he is vulgar, senseless, and flat out crazy. Within the first few seconds of the song a recording is played stating “If science could operate on this distorted brain, put it to good use/Society would reek of great benefit”.
Nate Ruess, the lead singer of the alternative band Fun., “Love The Way You Lie” goddess Rihanna, rising rapper Kendrick Lamar and a few others collaborate with Mathers on LP 2 to make it all the more memorable. “Headlights”, “Evil Twin” “The Monster” (featuring Rihanna), and “Legacy” are bound to be the next chart-toppers. These tracks satisfy long-time fans and attract the attention of those who don’t normally listen to this style of music. Spitting rhymes display why he remains one of, if not the, best rapper alive.
At age 41, Eminem doesn’t seem to back down. Confronting old issues and bringing up new ideas, Eminem creates a new atmosphere in his music. As far as disappointment, this album is far from it. At times it seems some songs have too much going on and it can be a lot for listeners to handle, but Slim makes sure to have diversity not only in the moods of his songs, but also in what he raps about. Is it the best album yet? That question shall always be debatable. But Eminem never fails to impress, and those who aren’t acquainted with Mathers’s magic should take a listen, and for those of you who are: he’s back! Score: 8.5/10.
Ricardo Morales/Graphics Department