Eminem is back after three years with his latest album, “The Marshall Mathers LP 2”. This album came out thirteen years after “The Marshall Mathers LP”. It is Eminem's eighth studio album, which was released on 5th November this year and includes sixteen songs.
The album opens with “Bad Guy”, a sequel of “Stan”. The number shines for its storytelling; Stan's younger brother Matthew seeks revenge on Eminem for Stan's death. The skit, “Parking Lot”, is also a continuation from MMLP. “Legacy” and “Brainless” both talk about Eminem's childhood, about how he was bullied and how that rendered him to be who he is now. “So Much Better” and “Stronger Than I Was” are both about the rapper's unsuccessful romantic endeavours; the former is as angst-filled as any Eminem rap about a former lover who cheated on him, and the latter is an honest portrayal of a failed relationship. The track “So Far” is where a rather humble Eminem comes to term with his immature past self. It has reworked lines from MMLP's famed “The Real Slim Shady” and samples Joe Walsh's “Life's Been Good”.
The four singles leading to the album were pretty different from each other. Eminem's “Survival” in the more-competitive-than-ever rap industry is accompanied by Liz Rodrigues' chorus. Eminem and Rihanna ponder about the side-effects of life under the limelight in “The Monster”. Eminem pays homage to old-school hip-hop in “Berzerk”, which is considered one of the weakest tracks of the album. But he reminisces old conflicts and other rappers on the scene in “Rap God” which was critically acclaimed for Eminem's speed in the track, as well as for the lyrics.
“Headlights”, featuring Nate Reuss, is probably the shocker in this album. Any Eminem fan knows his turbulent relationship with his mother, Debbie Mathers. In this track, Marshall apologises to his mother for all the curses he threw her way all these years and especially for the verses from his old track, “Cleaning out My Closet”. He praises her for having played the role of both a mother and a father in absence of Eminem's actual father, stating that this struggle is what tore them apart. This is a very heart-warming song that witnesses Eminem's enhanced maturity and humility.
“The Marshall Mathers LP 2” has several guest artists and samples quite a few songs as beats or choruses. MMLP2 has been critically acclaimed, although many still wonder if making a sequel to one of his most celebrated albums was a good idea or not. Surely Eminem had foreseen that speculation when he said, “To me, it's more about the vibe, and it's more about the nostalgia.”
Personally, I didn't like the album on the first go as it seemed a bit incoherent to me but it slowly started making sense after consequent listens. Then again, I'm biased towards Eminem.