November 6, 2013

My Gut Reaction: Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (November 5, 2013)

Eminem's eighth solo album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, is being publicized as a sequel to what many would refer to as the man's finest work, The Marshall Mathers LP (duh). While this might have excited a stan or two who haven't listened to any of the man's output post-Encore, I was left with a mixture of concern and dread. Concern because a lot of artists are running the whole “sequel” thing into the ground, and dread because, well, have you heard Eminem's music lately?


The man born Marshall Bruce Mathers III has evolved from an electric battle rapper to a pop-radio fixture with a solid blueprint, always involving some sort of sung hook, usually provided by Rihanna or from some different pop-radio fixture that he would have verbally attacked at the beginning of his career. A lot of this has been blamed on his failure to remain addicted to drugs. While there may be some truth to this, since his first two post-rehab projects, Relapse and Recovery, both, for lack of a better word because I'm tired, sucked, the fact of the matter is that the Slim Shady we all know and wish would miraculously reappear still exists within our host, as evidenced by some of his verbal acrobatics on the Bad Meets Evil album (his collaboration with fellow Detroit powerhouse Royce da 5'9”).

So when The Marshall Mathers LP 2 was announced a few months ago, rumors swirled around what direction Eminem was moving toward. Was he regressing to his youth, when his just-don't-give-a-fuck attitude and rampant homophobia threatened to eclipse his blossoming career? Or was this just a publicity stunt designed to move some quick units before people realized the bait-and-switch? Hip hop heads found themselves pleasantly surprised at the recent leak “Rap God”, which positioned the project as what could possibly be the most lyrical album of 2013, but those same heads were stumped by the album's lead single, “Berzerk”, and its Billy Squire riffs, so this really could go either way.

For what it's worth, I still feel that The Marshall Mathers LP is the man's best album (although my favorite song remains The Slim Shady LP's “Role Model”). It contains a cross-section of everything that once made Marshall Mathers one of the most exciting artists in our chosen genre: shock value (“Kim”), self-reflection (“Stan”, probably the best song Eminem will ever write), controversy (all of the gay slurs and references to the Columbine shooting throughout, although this could all also be referred to as “shock value”), a general sense of fun (“Bitch Please II” is possibly the most enjoyable random collaboration Eminem has ever been involved in, since it acts as his unofficial induction into Dr. Dre's crew), and, well, the album actually works as a whole (it's far better than the sum of its parts, anyway). So our host to name this project The Marshall Mathers LP 2, even though he has quickly diffused any argument by claiming that this isn't really what he would consider an actual sequel, courts some unreasonably high expectations that don't even make goddamn sense in 2013.

I mean, seriously, is anyone really checking for Eminem after fucking Recovery? You guys remember what that sounded like, right?

1. BAD GUY
No intro, no inane public service announcement, and no real warning: The Marshall Mathers LP 2 begins with our host rapping, in a calm manner, about plotting to murder someone. Lest you think he's back on his “Kim” shit, though, he throws in a goofy curveball that turns this into a direct-to-DVD sequel to “Stan”, kinda-sorta retroactively ruining that track's ending. Our host rhymes in several different affectations on “Bad Guy”, a bleh S1 and M-Phazes production that features a useless, nonsensical hook from Sarah Jaffe (to be fair, the hook on “Stan” also didn't fit the actual song, but as it was lifted directly from Dido's “Thank You”, which, as you'll recall, also served as the foundation for Mark the 45 King's beat, I'm prone to letting that slide). Em ends the tale (I won't spoil it for you two, but it's debatable whether you should spend the six-plus minutes it takes to sit through the track: maybe just look up the lyrics instead, as they are not bad) by shouting at the listener (over a StreetRunner beat that works a little bit better, but not much), effectively setting up the rest of the project. The attempt at recapturing his glory days is admirable: at least Marshall is trying. But this wasn't great: I liked Em's lyricism, and the actual story was alright, but the track as a whole was a bit empty. A different beat probably could have helped this one click.

2. PARKING LOT (SKIT)
A direct continuation of the skit that ended “Criminal”, the final song on The Marshall Mathers LP. And Em is trying to say that this isn't a sequel?

3. RHYME OR REASON
If Marshall (and producer Rick Rubin) had merely just rhymed over The Zombies' “Time Of The Season”, this wouldn't have been completely awful: our host can still fucking spit, and “Rhyme Or Reason” is a prime example of this. But then Em insists on singing the hook, and does so in the same fashion as The Zombies, which is embarrassing as shit, as are a good majority of his attempts at crooning. Our host still has no clue when to leave well enough alone. Eminem performs the three verses under three similar-sounding personas, and he even references “Criminal” on here, which now makes me believe that he had just finished listening to The Marshall Mathers LP before diving into the recording process for this album, so it was in the forefront of his mind. Sigh.

4. SO MUCH BETTER
Marshall exorcises his relationship demons over a sub-par self-production that at least sounds like it could appear on a true follow-up to the previous volume. (I'm sorry about all of the comparisons to The Marshall Mathers LP, but they became pretty much mandatory the moment Marshall announced the title of this album.) At least our host is focused on “So Much Better”: he isn't really hating all women, just the one that broke his heart. Apparently. However, even though Em reins it in on here, “So Much Better” isn't a must-hear track. I'm still waiting for something to grab me and make me give a shit.

5. SURVIVAL
The first song announced from The Marshall Mathers LP 2, but not the first single: that distinction went to “Berzerk” (which appears later), while the DJ Khalil-produced “Survival” was swept under the Call Of Duty: Ghosts rug as an “exclusive” but not really. (The actual exclusive, an Eminem cover of Black Moon's “I Gotcha Opin” called “Don't Front” that features Buckshot himself, sounds intriguing, but I didn't get a chance to listen to it before writing this review.) “Survival” is more rock-tinged than everything else on here thus far, but reminds me of the stuff he recorded for Relapse and Recovery, especially since our host's lyrics are generic platitudes while uncredited frequent Shady Records collaborator Liz Rodrigues delivers a hook that doesn't suck, but isn't really necessary, either. You two already know where I stand on Eminem: I prefer Slim Shady to his rehabilitated self. I don't want him to get hooked on drugs again (that would be an odd request for me to make), but I can do without the shouting of every. Fucking. Bar. Please?

6. LEGACY
A sort-of prequel to 8 Mile, allowing the listener a peek into why Rabbit Marshall started writing rhymes in the first place. The hook, performed by something called a Polina, is pure placeholder (especially during the times she isn't even singing goddamn words) and disrupts the flow, but Em's bars are pretty good, as he describes in great detail how he found his salvation through our chosen genre, where, within his lyrics, he could be the type of person who would stand up to his bullies. Pretty deep stuff, actually, and Em's still a good enough writer to make it all feel genuine. Emile's instrumental is simple, but unobtrusive, as well. The only thing that caught me off guard was his claim that he was signed to Rawkus Records in 1999 (also the year The Slim Shady LP was released by Aftermath). This helps make sense of his cameos on Soundbombing II and on DJ Spinna tracks. Huh.

7. ASSHOLE (FEAT. SKYLAR GRAY)
Some of the bars were kind of amusing, but Skylar Grey will never be a thing, Em. Stop trying to make “fetch” happen.

8. BERZERK
The first single, which, as expected based on all of Eminem's lead-off singles, isn't very good, but also sounds nothing like the rest of the album, so. I appreciate that Marshall was trying to create an throwback-sounding joint that embraces the old school, even going so far as to recruit legendary producer Rick Rubin to produce, and that sample from Billy Squire's “The Stroke” is pretty prevalent: hell, the Beastie Boys (R.I.P. MCA) or Run DMC could have actually used this beat back in the mid-1980s. But Em's lyrics are all over the place, and the dated pop culture references are a travesty. (K-Fed? Really? Why not just dis Lance Bass and Monica Lewinsky while you're at it?) The hook is also awful, as each individual component seems to have been mastered at a different volume level, making for a disorienting listen, and, you know what, fuck it, this shit blows. It's not worse than “The Real Slim Shady”was, but it's still pretty corny. So, of course, this is a hit, because fuck Max, that's why.

9. RAP GOD
A lot of folks on the Interweb compare Marshall's lengthy bars on “Rap God” to Kendrick Lamar's scene-stealing performance on Big Sean's “Control”, but this is really more like Em's version of Lil' Wayne's “A Milli”: shit-talking, but with a lyrical focus. The DVLP beat was kind of dull to me, but Marshall works twice as hard to make this shit work, as he rhymes his fucking ass off (once again, he's always been able to spit: his creative direction is why he's lost me over the past few years). I appreciated his self-awareness, knowing that he isn't as big an artist as he once was (which is why he slips a particularly controversial line through uncensored, in direct contrast to when he tried to use the exact same line on The Marshall Mathers LP). This wasn't bad, but this isn't a real song: it's merely a long freestyle with a hook of sorts, and it should be treated as such. The replay value is low, is what I'm saying.

10. BRAINLESS
Ruins “Legacy” by talking about pretty much the exact same subject matter, except in a crass and unappealing fashion. Groan.

11. STRONGER THAN I WAS
Marshall's Drake song. You know what I'm talking about.

12. THE MONSTER (FEAT. RIHANNA)
Oh fuck, this is going to be a huge hit, isn't it? Frequency's beat and the fact that Rihanna belts out the chorus all but guarantees that people will like this shit. So let's talk about what I liked about “The Monster”: that instrumental wasn't bad for a poppy rap song. It definitely could have been worse, like Alex da Kid / Skylar Grey worse. And, obviously, Aftermath needs to actually sell copies of The Marshall Mathers LP 2, so of course they would push this as a possible single. However, while I didn't hate the song, I sure as fuck didn't care much for it, either: I'm not a fan of the radio-friendly (relatively speaking) Marshall, and he may as well have wrapped this track in silk and had it hand-delivered by courier to clubs nationwide. I'm pretty sure I won't be able to avoid this shit. It isn't as bad as a lot of other bloggers may have led you to believe, but trust me, you won't like it. (Side note: My favorite bit of “The Monster” trivia relates to underground weirdo Kool Keith, who gets name-dropped by our host. Keith has never heard the track (still hasn't, as far as I know), but when someone informed him on Twitter about the reference, he started promoting the shit out of it on his own feed. Marshall appears to be at least tangentially aware of Kool Keith's work, since he's a fan of old-school hip hop (and has undoubtedly bumped some Ultramagnetic M.C.'s in his lifetime) and even mentioned Dr. Octagon during his verse on former crew Tha Outsidaz' “Macosa”, for those of you who remember Tha Outsidaz and shit.)

13. SO FAR...
Alright, if you had to run with a Rick Rubin-produced track as the lead single, “So Far...” should have been at least up for consideration. Far better than “Berzerk”, “So Far...” explores Eminem's love/hate relationship with fame, using humor and honesty and managing to actually be funny and genuine, so even though the beat sounds like five random rap songs mashed together and Marshall's singing rivals Train's Pat Monahan in sheer annoyance, this still worked for me. And the fact that he isn't outright dissing fame and fortune is a plus, since there are already plenty of songs in our chosen genre that travel down that path in a golden Maybach: our host still thinks of himself as the same guy he was before he hit it big (which is so cute), and lives his life accordingly, which is quite refreshing, actually. Now that I think about it, Em hardly ever rhymes about material possessions unless he's trying to make a point. Huh. A nice late-album surprise.

14. LOVE GAME (FEAT. KENDRICK LAMAR)
Fucking awful.

15. HEADLIGHTS (FEAT. NATE RUESS)
This Emile produc...wait, you want me to expand on “Love Game”? Okay, I guess. Just this once.

14. LOVE GAME (STILL FEAT. KENDRICK LAMAR)
I'm pretty sure that, the moment it was revealed that Aftermath labelmate K-Dot was the only guest rapper on The Marshall Mathers LP 2, nobody expected their collaboration to be a dumbass love rap that morphs into random bullshit throughout. This is what wasted potential sounds like in song form. Rick Rubin's beat liberally steals from Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders' “Game Of Love” (hence “Love Game”), which itself isn't bad, but this track just makes no goddamn sense. Em clearly has fun with his tongue-twister bars, and Kendrick is enjoying his moment, but none of this translates into an entertaining experience for the listener who was most definitely expecting more, even though, admittedly, the listener wasn't given any real reason to expect any more than this. Hell, this would have worked better had Em and K-Dot actually covered the Lady Gaga song of the same name: at least that would have had some novelty kitsch to it. Meh.

15. HEADLIGHTS (FEAT. ARIANA GRAN...NO, WAIT, STILL NATE RUESS)
This Emile production holds the highly-publicized “Eminem sort-of apologizes to his mother” verses. While it is pretty big of him to admit that his verbal attacks were spontaneous bursts of anger and that he does actually love her, I only wish the music itself was more compelling. fun.'s Nate Ruess croons the hook and such, and while he doesn't do a bad job (hey, I actually like a couple of fun. songs), he only makes “Headlights” sound even cheesier than it already is. Still, kudos to our host for his honesty and admitting he was wrong all this time. Also, if you'll notice, Marshall takes a lot of shots at his deadbeat dad throughout The Marshall Mathers LP 2, which is something I don't really remember him doing that much before now: maybe the entire album is an extended apology card.

16. EVIL TWIN
The final track of the regular program is a self-aware mess. The Sid Roams production is a bland exercise in futility, carried by Marshall's delivery and not so much his actual lyrics: Eminem is alert enough to pay attention to his craft (and make fun of the fact that he's relied so often on attacking fellow pop stars in his songs), and the bars reflect that. And then he sings. Again. Why, God, why? The concept of “Evil Twin” is weak, as well: just who is the twin supposed to be? Because all the verses sound like they were performed by the same guy, a rapper who switches cadences and flows all to keep himself entertained and engaged. I'm losing steam, so I'll just end this paragraph now.

And, of course, we're not done yet. The deluxe edition of The Marshall Mathers LP 2 comes with a whopping five additional songs (available on a bonus disc for those of you who still purchase actual CDs). So, on one hand, five bonus songs! But then you remember that there's probably a reason why these songs weren't included on the actual album, and then the panic tears start to well up..

1. BABY
Marshall's five-track encore (no pun intended) begins with the self-produced “Baby”, which has the gall to quote motherfucking Dirty Dancing during the hook. I only wish I were joking. Em's elastic flow rides the beat like a pro, but he he doesn't say anything, and that chorus is enough to make me skip to “Desperation”. Okay, I didn't actually skip it: I sat through all of this like the goddamn hero I am. But that doesn't mean you have to.

2. DESPERATION (FEAT. JAMIE N COMMONS)
The fuck was this shit? And are we sure that isn't the dude from fucking Nickelback performing the hook?

3. GROUNDHOG DAY
It's nearly impossible to read the phrase “Groundhog Day” and not think of the Bill Murray classic film (yeah, I said “classic”, and you know I'm right, we won't be debating that today). But the only thing that feels like it's repeating itself in an existential cycle is how Marshall uses his first two verses to tell the same fucking story already extrapolated upon with “Legacy” and “Brainless”: he just dives a bit deeper into his love of hip hop on here. Nobody's questioning the authenticity here, but the Cardiak / Frank Dukes instrumental plods instead of banging, and Marshall's energy isn't enough to distract the listener from being freaking exhausted as fuck at this point. This is an extraordinarily long-winded project, folks.

4. BEAUTIFUL PAIN (FEAT. SIA)
I'd like to think that Marshall called guest vocalist Sia directly after finally having caught up with all of Six Feet Under (her “Breathe Me” figures prominently into the finale), or maybe he's secretly a huge fan of early Zero 7 material, but in reality, this collaboration probably came about merely because Em's manager Paul Rosenberg thought it would be a good idea to work with the woman who sang on David Guetta's “Titanium”. While I actually like “Titanium” (it serves its purpose, and chicks dance to it at clubs, which is always fun), this is hardly a collaboration: Sia only sings the hook, and there's no proof that Marshall even knows that she ended up on the final version of “Beautiful Pain”. Also, this shit was booooooooring.

5. WICKED WAYS (FEAT. X AMBASSADORS)
This also failed to make any impact on me. Although I'm pretty sure a song just played, I have no real proof, and I don't feel like rewinding, because that would be a waste of my valuable time, unlike this overlong post, which is apparently nothing but worth my while. The only memorable aspect of “Wicked Ways” is also pretty fucking atrocious: the track, and the bonus disc, ends with a skit that resurrects the insufferable Ken Kaniff character, a homophobic release that Slim actually stole from former underground rapper / current underground Staples assistant manager Aristotle (who originated the persona on The Slim Shady LP back when the two were friendly). Which is one of my biggest takeaways from The Marshall Mathers LP 2 as a whole: Eminem tried so hard to replicate the feel of the first volume that he even went so far as to bring back all of the gay bashing. It's nearly 2014, dude, and you know how to write: if you're not homophobic, then fucking come up with a better goddamn insult. Otherwise, you're just lying to your audience, and you can't bullshit me: I actually listened to The Marshall Mathers LP, and you're not using the term "faggot" to mean "idiot".  I don't buy your shit, Marshall.  And now back to our program.

THE LAST WORD: The Marshall Mathers LP 2 left me in a curious position: in my history writing for the blog, I don't think I've ever come across a project where the lyricism present left me simultaneously intrigued and indifferent. Eminem is a terrifically technically-proficient rapper: he's going to go down in history as one of the top ten that ever did it, if not top five, and I mean that without irony. He knows what's he's doing, whether on drugs or not, and he's great at it. What worries me is his overall career direction: through Relapse and Recovery, Marshall seemed to be overly concerned with making sure people thought of him as an “artist” and not as a recovered shock-rapper prone to excellent punchlines and not much else. He's dug deeper into his psyche, and what he's come up with on here (his ongoing parental issues; his need for some sort of companionship, even if it's just with his kids, who, surprisingly, don't really factor into much on the project; his need to prove himself in the hyper-competitive world of hip hop) help make this his best album in a long while. Here's the caveat: while the lyrical content is impressive, The Marshall Mathers LP 2 isn't a fucking novel, and in order for this to work, the music has to be good, and that consistently failed both our host and myself. Em's narrow focus causes his contributors to all throw in similar-sounding beats that don't work (except for Rick Rubin, who tries to inject some energy, with mixed results, and by the way, where the fuck is Dr. Dre? Not that he would have helped: Dre beats in 2013 are pretty lacking. But I still expected to see him. Then again, he didn't produce any of Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d. city, either), dragging down the entire project. This overlong (twenty tracks and an interlude – in a time where more and more rappers believe that less is more, this shit is for true believers only) quasi-sequel isn't horrible: it definitely has more of a reason to exist that either Relapse or Recovery, and our host sounds like he's at least enjoying himself again. But Eminem hasn't interested me as a rapper for quite a while now, so although I appreciate that he's still making an effort, this shit ultimately did nothing for me. I've officially outgrown Marshall Mathers, and I'm willing to bet that a lot of people who grew up with The Slim Shady LP or even Infinite have done the same. He'll always be one of the best rappers ever, but wake me up when Bad Meets Evil releases another album.

-Max

RELATED POSTS:
Leave some hate mail regarding my take on the rest of Marshall's catalog here.

51 comments:

  1. divan-i hayatNovember 06, 2013

    One of the realest reviews your going to find out there. 'Sincerely yours, your biggest fan, this is Stan.'

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  2. I swear to God Max, I love your site but sometimes you drive me crazy (like "bashing my screen while reading" crazy)

    I was expecting this review and always respect your opinion, but reading this I got the impression you didn't pay a lot of attention to it or you just gave it a quick listen. My first listen? Shit I had almost the same reactions (although I instantly loved Brainless). Why so much singing, is that it, that is all Em and Kendrick did? But on my second and third listen I ended up loving most of it. I mean, I hope Em and Kendrick make more songs but that's the most unexpected, funny, creative and catchy at the same time track I've heard of him since he came back.

    And that's the thing we have to accept that nothing he makes will top his first albums.He cant go back he can only move forward, different direction.And I agree sometimes these directions with the silly choruses and shit make me cringe too but what rapper nowadays doesn't?

    We have to respect Em even if he has nothing to prove.These days, hist most memorable moments will come when he feautures on others songs and thats when you'll know he's on top.There isn't another presence in the game that can match his ( maybe kayne but not in the same level )

    Anyway Im saying all this because I respect the site and always read it but I expected more in depth thoughts especially on Rap God, Brainless, Love Game and Evil Twin. I see so much praise on fucking Jay Z and none on some others who deserve it more

    ps. You should listen to the whole Dont Front track it's really cool, plus he mentions Proof

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  3. Great Review, however I'd give the album a 8/10, at least he is enjoying himself again, and the beats are actually quite ok!

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    1. THIS ALBUM IS TOTAL SHIT WAS A FAN OF HIS VUT HE HAS NOW BECOME OLD HAT. iN HIS MID LIFE CRISIS TO TRGAIN HIS YOUTH IN THESE ALBUMS. HE CAN ONLY WORK ON HATE LYRICS DISSING PEOPLE AND CLOSE FAMILY ALL THE TIME. REANA MAKES HIS SONGS, SYLER GREY IS A DESPERATE GROUPIE AND THAT BIKE SONG WAS TOTALLY EMBARESSING AND CRINGFUL. USED TO HAVE RESPECT FOR THE BOY, BUT AFTER SEEING WHAT HE HAS DONE IN DUETS RUINING HIS MUSIC, AND ALWAYS DISSING HIS FAMILY. WATCHED THE INTERVIEW WITH KIM MATHERS GREAT ATTRACTIVE LOVELY PERSON, HE WILL NECER GET HER BACK SHE HAS EVOLVED SO MUCH MORE THAN HIM, AND HE TREATED HER LIKE SHE WAS NOTHING. HE IS SEEING SKYLER GREY BUT IT WONT LAST BECAUSE HE NEEDS BAD EXPERIENCES TO DISS PEOPLE IN HIS MUSIC/ SHE IS A DESPERATE SKANKY YOUNG GROUPIE WHO HE WILL EVENTUALLY DISS ALSO AFTER THEIR INEVITABLE BREAKUP. KIM WILL HAVE MOVED ON AS HER EGO IS NOT BIG LIKE HIS AND HE WILL SING ABOUT WANTING HER BACK. BAD KUCK MARSHALL YOUR ALUM IS SHIT AND SKYLER GREY WAS A BAD MOVE, SHE IS THE REASON YOU DIVORCED KIM, WHAT CAN I SAY SAD BUT YOU HAVE FAILED MARSHALL MATHERS CARMA WILL PREVAIL, U WILL GET SICK OF SKYLER PUTTING U ON A PEDISTOOL AND PAYING HOMAGE TO YOU. ITS INATE YOU WILL WANT KIM BACK BECAUSE SHE DOES NOT TREAT YOU LIKE A GOD. BUT SHE WILL HAVE A STRONG REAL MAN. NOT A FAN OF MINE ANYMORE 2 PAC SHAKURE MORE PURE, YOU USE DESPERATE ILLUMINATIE SIGNDS IN SOME OF YOUR PICTURES WATCH YOUR BACK LOSER

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  4. Just like Recovery, I'm not a fan of this album at all. Dude can still spit, but the beats/hooks are terrible just like they were on Recovery. I actually kind of like Berzerk, but other than that I pretty much agree with everything you wrote. I think I'll spend my free time listening to his old stuff or new stuff that is actually good.

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  5. Hmm...loved your review (btw this is coming from an 'Eminem is overrated guy') but I honestly can't see myself buying this and really? Top 10 maybe, I wouldn't but ok. But Top 5? For real? I hugely disagree on that. So, to sum up Max, after this do you still give a fuck about Eminem?

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  6. I actually liked this project although I think some beats were bad, specifically the rick rubin beats, I just dont like that style of rap, unless it was on ll cool j's radio. I also felt Rick Rubin ruined Yeezus, although to be fair it was also Kanyes fault for letting him near the project and giving lackluster lyrics. If Em wanted to do old school tracks he should have hired marley marl and for the more modern tracks he shouldve hired hit-boy or boi-1da because I feel they would be great producers for em to work with and those 2 producers are popular with the big names in hip hop like jay z and kanye.

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    Replies
    1. I agree with the Boi-1da comment: I think Eminem's would sound pretty good over beats that could have also gone to Drake. Throw Noah "40" Shebib in, and you've got yourself a stew.

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  7. Listen up Max.

    Your website led me to buying Doc's Da Name 2000, so there's THAT.

    but I definitely agree with the aforementioned idea that every body is absolutely sick of you bashing mainstream artists that deserve so much more credit and praising ones that were so undeserving of such.

    No names will be mentioned here. but regarding Em, I will concede that he somehow found himself suffering from a mainstream strain of the Ras Kass Syndrome.

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  8. Dude. Granted that most of the mainstream sucks warthog ass...

    But seriously, NOT ONE is worthy of a good review unless his daughter's name is Blue?

    What the fuck?

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    1. You guys are doing it again. I can only compare Eminem to Eminem (a point I, upon re-read, made abundantly clear throughout, apparently), so why are you all comparing him to other reviews I've written? And why just Jay-Z? I seem to remember saying that Drake's Nothing Was The Same didn't entirely suck, and Drake's not a basement-dwelling backpacker. Dude's touring stadiums and shit.

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    2. Max, it's coming up to the 20 year anniversary of 36 chambers (and midnight marauders). Could you possibly give us a second, better written review of that album? That would be awesome if you could.

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    3. I second this

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    4. Sorry, no. I don't have any time to continually rewrite reviews: I'll never finish anything if I start doing that, and besides, you two would have no reason to buy the book that probably won't happen but I can dream.

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    5. I agree with Max, if he started rewriting reviews nothing would get done.

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    6. I disagree with Max, if he revisited this older shitty 'classic' reviews like Illmatic or The Sun Rises In the East then I guarantee he will get page hits

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    7. FUCKING DRAKE GETS A PASS AND EMINEM DOESN'T???!!!


      The ENTIRE ymcmb roster is simply one stinking pile of pigeon bile...

      (See what I did there?)

      That's why I didn't mention Drake. Whereas Jay is a legitimate credible hip hop artist who was infected with the 2Pac syndrome after ONE classic album.

      What's the 2Pac syndrome, you ask?

      A few good songs. One big fuckup of an album.

      One more thing,

      I LOVE THIS FUCKING BLOG!!!!

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  9. Oh dear you seem to have annoyed the teenagers with this one Max. I actually shuddered when you mentioned Groundhog Day wondering how much folk that have read this even knew of its existence beforehand.

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    1. You're probably not wrong. I would like to hear from someone who's been an Eminem stan from the very beginning (ideally Infinite, but I'll take The Slim Shady LP) that still thinks he's as relevant as he once was. THAT would be an interesting take. But I do admire Em's ability to reinvent himself for a new, annoying generation of hip hop fans, as not every artist has that superpower.

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    2. My introduction to hip-hop was the Monstars' Anthem back in 96...

      Since then I've been all about the Gang Starr Foundation & the BEST material of Public Enemy, Run DMC, Kool Moe Dee, Slick Rick, BDP, Juice Crew, Eric B & Rakim, Ultramagnetic MC's, EPMD's original Hit Squad, Native Tongues, Wu, BCC, DITC, Dungeon Family, Soul Assassins, Organized Konfusion, Nas, Mobb Deep, Mad Skillz, Pharcyde, Cella Dwellas, Jay-Z, MF DOOM, Brother Ali, Celph Titled & most of Extra P, Pete Rock & Dr Dre's credible musical progeny..


      and I wholeheartedly agree with the anonymous above who says Max is bashing most of the mainstream artists who are undeserving of such and giving credit to some who are undeserving of such.

      To follow his lead,

      No names will be mentioned here.


      For the record, I have followed Eminem's path since Infinite & I am not a typical Stan ... I am of the opinion that he falls into the category of "classic songwriter"...

      Just like 2pac before him, the man has simply been incapable of writing an all-round consistent ALBUM. Most of his cronies fall into that category as well: D12, Slaughterhouse, Royce da 5'9" with Yelawolf as the lone exception...

      His only consistent attempt was Hell: The Sequel, and, let's face it, it was no classic.

      Yet, in that horribly inconsistent career, he still is to me one of the best who have ever touched the mic. His catalog is chock full of CLASSIC songs, and, yes, I am of the opinion that he still is as relevant as he once was.

      As far as where I would place him...

      I absolutely reject the idea of ranking in ANY art form. So, no top 10 MC's, no top 10 DJ's, no top 10 producers, no top 10 groups, no top 10 albums, no best years in hip-hop, none of that.

      The very idea is utter horseshit to me.

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    3. PS: I fucking agree with both of you on Groundhog Day. That movie shall not be touched by any douche in history.

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  10. I didn't like this album TOO much, but it's not surprising if I tell you I'm not an Eminem Stan (pun intended). That ode to his mother was so cheesy mice will DROWN in it.

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  11. Replies
    1. Back in the day, I thought they were about equal, but today, there's no question. That's why Royce remains one of my favorite underrated rappers.

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    2. If you both are talking about pure spitting...

      then both of you are absolutely tripping.

      When it comes to bars... Em will shit on Royce any fucking day of the week.

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  12. Wish you would've avoided this album all together. The singles said all they needed to to me from the get go. Agreed first Marshall is his most co-cohesive project to date, and almost everything after has rapidly just...has gotten worse and worse.

    Yet, the "Stan's/trolls" stay lurking for negative reviews. I really think that a lot of his fans, don't listen to the genre that heavily, and our your typical radio listeners that might have bout a few albums in college while "finding themselves" and see the hype, I mean promotion that entails a project like this and tune-in after their Macklemore albums have lost their replay value.

    Nice job, sorry you felt the need to review this.

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    Replies
    1. Page hits make the trains run on time, is all I'm saying.

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    2. I respect this opinion but even if Pac and Big were alive and still making albums, they wouldnt be relevant either.But they'd still be respectable.I'm saying this Pac being my favourite artist ever."Relevant" will always be the new rappers of each time.I follow the hip hop genre from the '90s until now and still think this album is decent.not perfect but decent and better than most in 2013.
      Although it has the name and the retro nostalgia, it's still made in 2013 so you have to view it like that.Compared to the Drakes the Waynes and the Jays of the scene this is more honest and interesting I believe.
      Now compared to Kendrick or ASAP or Joey Badass etc thats something else.Plus people enjoy different stuff.One might enjoy a screaming eminem the other might like a non sensical wayne or
      a singing drake.opinions are opinions.

      My opinion is rap veterans cant throw a classic album, only a decent one.the classics come early in their careers

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    3. I'm actually of the opinion that, had 2Pac and Biggie lived to this day, Biggie would not be nearly as popular and Pac would probably be better known for his award-winning acting career and not so much his rhymes. And I'm a noted Biggie supporter over Pac. So you might be on to something here.

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    4. As if writing "noted" means anything...

      We all know you actually DO support Big over Pac.

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    5. To the first anonymous... I disagree, The Roots, Scarface (well... his last classic was The Fix but that was still late-ish in his career), Masta Ace and Ghostface Killah have all put out what I consider classics in the later stages of their career. Or maybe you're right and I don't want to accept it as it's a sad point you raised. Sigh

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    6. I second that. Big Time

      All you gotta do is look at Inspectah Deck….

      Czarface was the fucking pornstar's TITS.

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  13. Sigh... Eminem, you matter so much, but you mean so little.

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  14. i liked it a little more than you Max, with Bad Guy, (last 2 minutes edited out) Rap God, So Far, and Evil Twin having staying power. But 4 tracks out of 21 just isnt that awesome

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  15. I have had a listen to the new Eminem Marshall Mathers LP 2 what a great album i don't like every track on the album but there are a couple of the tracks i absolutely adore, he has some great lyrical content and shows a good variety of rapping styles what can i say once again a truly great album from Eminem and Dr Dre

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  16. Just downloaded this shit the other day, I kept two songs..

    Let me explain. The biggest flaw I find with Eminem are his ear for beats. Fuck, these beats were brutal. His flows are almost always fascinating, his lyrical content is usually decent (when he's actually motivated by what he's spitting about), but none of this matters if it's over top of sub par production. I'm sure some people dig the music on this album, it ain't for me though.

    What I think Eminem needs, is to bring a producer on board for his next album to give it cohesive musical direction. Think along the lines of what Organized Noise did for Aquemini and ATLiens. Whether Eminem would allow this is a whole other conversation, but I think it would fix the problem I'm having with his beats. Just PLEASE, don't pick Rick Rubin.. for fuck sakes, please

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    Replies
    1. I was the other anonymous talking about ems choice of beats too, and I fucking agree about Rick Rubin and how he needs to find a decent to great producer (Im still sticking with boi-1da for the albums tracks and Hit-Boy for the singles)

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  17. Will give this a listen later tonight. Seems Em has been getting worse.....and y'all have forgotten how good Canibus has been getting lol. (I was never an Em fan though). Uhm, some Digable Planets reviews please. Just two albums they had.

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  18. I don't give a fuck about the album or Eminem anymore, but damn... Groundog Day IS a classic film

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  19. Tupac sux ballz and so does maxes review choke on a chode u anti eminem slab of pulled pork... lets see how good u can spit.... u probably could spit pretty good on a tube steak u prick

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  20. Despite any and all of the bad that is in this album, it is still 110% better than most other established hip hop artists. I've listened to this album at least 12 times since it came out (that'st just how I am). I was bumping Tech N9ne since Something Else came out. The dude just knows how to make engaging music. Eminem and Tech N9ne both have that talent and I am absolutely dying to hear them both do an album or even just a song together. Speaking of Tech N9ne, you need to start delving into his catalog. He's got something like 12 albums and 4 EPs, and honestly, I can say 75% of it is genuinely good. Tech's strength has been his evolution as his following has grown in the last 14 years.

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    Replies
    1. hows it feel knowing Tech N9ne comments on your blog Max?

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  21. skyler grey has ruined your career and u will not get kim back. music good when with kim but embarrassing with skyler grey that bike song ruined you. not a fan of mine anymore crap abum plus your desperate illuminatie signs in your pictures. your album sounds like a mid life crisis. TERRIBLE BAD CHOICE TO MANY DUETS REMIXES U CANT WRITE WITHOUT KIM AND PICKING ON HER NOW SHE IS FREE OF YOU AND U HAVE SKANY TYLER GREY WITH UTTERLY KNOW TALENT, WHO WILL PAY HOMAGE TO U FOR A BIT BUT THEN GET BORED. YOU NEED KIM FOR SUCCESS SHE DOESN'T TREAT YOU LIKE A GOD. NOT BUYING THIS ALBUM YOUR MUSIC NOT REAL ANYMORE SOMEONE IS WRITING YOUR LYRICS AND RUINING YOUR ARTISTIC ABILITIES. THE SHAMANISTIC STAE FOR WRITING IN YOU WAS ONLY PRESENT WHENN YOU LOVED KIM ITS GONE AND SHE WONT HAVE YOU BACK. SORRY YOU HAVE A GIRL SKYLER GREY WHO IS NOT MUCH OLDER THAN YOUR DAUGHTER. SHE HAS RUINED YOUR ARTISTIC ABILITIES MAKING YOU CO DEPENDANT ON HER WHAT A LOSS YES U DO NEED A SHRINK NOW U HAVE LOST KIM WATCHED THE INTERVIEW A BEAUTIFUL LADY WITH PRIDE, NOW YOUR WITH SOMEONE THAT WANTS A HIKE ON YOUR BIKE, A TOTAL DISLIKE. KIM WAS GOOD SHE UNDERSTOOD NOW YOUR WITH SOMEONE THAT WAS IN THE WOODS. OKAY YOU HAVE GONE ASTRAY AND GOD HAS TAKEN YOUR GIFT AWAY, SO NOW YOU WILL HAVE TO PAY LIVING A LIFE OF EMOTIONAL DECAY BECAUSE YOU WANTED THINGS THAT WAY. KIM WAS STRONG AND HELPED YOU BELONG SHE KEPT YOU REAL BUT NOW YOU HAVE TO CONCEAL. GREY WILL NEVER STAY AND MAKE YOU PAY ALL SHE WANTS IS A LAY IN THE HAY, A BARN GIRL WITH AN UNFORTUNATE TWIRL. SHE HAS RUINED YOUR MUSIC BUT YOU WERE THE ONE THAT WANTED TO CHOOSE IT. YOUR LIFE NOW IS GOING TO BE DIM WITHOUT KIM, YOU WILL BE PRAYING THE BIBLE HYME TO GET HER BACK, BUT YOU WERE THE ONE WHICH DID THE ATTACK. SHE CUT YOU ALOT OF SLACK AND KEPT YOU ON TRACK. GREY WILL BEG YOU TO STAY BUT YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO GO AWAY BECAUSE SHE HAS KILLED YOUR ARTISTIC WAY, AND RUINED YOUR WEDDING DAY, WHAT CAN I SAY YOU DIDN'T STAY REAL SO NOW YOU HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO FEEL. KIM KEPT YOU ON AN EVEN KEEL NOW YOU HAVE A GIRL RIDING ROUND A TRAILER PARK LEADING YOU IN THE DARK, YOU MAY HAVE HAD A SPARK BUT THAT WILL DIE AND YOU WILL CRY AND ASK YOURSELF WHY, AND SHE IS NOT WORTH WRITING ABOUT BECAUSE UNDERNEATH SHE WILL KEEP YOU IN DOUBT. REST YOUR HEAD NOW, DON'T BECOME DEAD AND ONE DAY MAYBE YOU WILL RE WED FOR A THIRD TIME BUT GREY IS GIVING YOU THE WRONG SIGN. YOU ARE BORN IN OCTOBER DONT LET THIS GIRL ROLL YOU OVER WAKE UP BEFORE IT IS TO LONG TO MAKE UP.

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  22. THAT BICYLE SONG HAS RUINED MARSHALL MADE ME CRINGE LISTENING TO IT AND I HAVE BEEN A FAN FOR YEARS. I DONNT KNOW I AM A SHRINGE AND THIS SKYLER GREY IS MAKING HIS MUSIC SINK, AND DON'T THINK MARSHALL IS THINKING STRAIGHT HE NEEDS TO BE LED THROUGH THE RIGHT GATE. WHAT CAN I SAY THIS DARK GREY HAS KILLED HIS MUSIC DAY BY DAY HE NEEDS TO STAY AWAY. KIM WAS FINE SHE MADE HIM SHINE, NOW YOUR GOING TO HAVE TO WAIT IN THE LINE FOR A SIGN FROM ABOVE KIM WAS YOUR WHITE DOVE.AND TRUE LOVE. GREY IS STUPID AND NOT YOUR CUPID, KIM WAS YOUR SOUL NOW THERE IS A BIG DARK HOLE. ITS WRECKING YOUR ART WHICH ISNT A GOOD START GREY HAS NO HEART JUST HEAPS OF FARTS LIKE ALL THE OTHER TARTS. KIM IS THE SUN GREY HASNT ONE KIM IS NUMBER ONE GREY WILL MAKE YOU RUN BECAUSE IN THE END SHE WILL BE NO FUN SO RUN FOR YOUR LIFE OTHERWISE YOUR HEAD WILL GIVE YOU STRIFE. ,

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  23. Perhaps the above anonymous commenter's Caps Lock button has been clogged up with millilitres of anhydrous spermatozoa?

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  24. so .... i just relistened to this album for the first time since it came out ... and it doesnt hold up that well.

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    Replies
    1. That was to be expected from Em after the original MMLP.

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