Letter Grade: B+
It’s been 13 years since Marshall Mathers, a.k.a. Eminem, released The Marshall Mathers LP, and in that time “Slim Shady” hasn’t lost his touch. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is insane and psychotic, yet as well-produced as past Eminem albums, and is a welcome return for the rapper.
The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is a long album with 21 tracks, the majority of which are over four minutes. However, just because the album is long, doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting. Even at 41 years old, Mathers has a lot to talk about, from playing his own killer on opening track “Bad Guy” to apologizing to his mother on “Headlights,” to even just being pissed at other MCs and celebrities ranging from Justin Bieber to Sarah Palin on “Evil Twin.” Eminem is looking to regain his place at the top in the rap genre, especially on tracks like “Rap God,” and he’s and pissing off everyone he can in the process, only this time in a slightly more mature manner with fewer horror-show shock tactics and plenty of fantastic rhymes. If it was anyone else other than Eminem this approach would seem offensive, and still does at times (I lost how many times he said “faggot” on the album), but by now Eminem being offensive should be nothing new.
Musically The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is incredibly solid, with some incredible beats backing up Eminem’s lines, but it’s pretty obvious Mathers is nostalgic for the 90s. From sampling Beastie Boys on Berzerk to referencing Jeffrey Dahmer and the Unabomber, the 90s references abound throughout The Marshall Mathers LP 2. However, the album also samples classic rock such as Zombies’ “Time of the Season” and Joe Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good,” and it mixes really well with Eminem’s vocals. Each track seems to offer something new, and serves as a fantastic backing to Eminem’s crazy “Slim Shady” persona. In a year of incredible rap albums such as Yeezus and Magna Carta . . . Holy Grail, the variety of sounds in The Marshall Mathers LP 2 helps it stand out.
13 years later The Marshall Mathers LP 2 stands up as a worthy sequel to the orignal, but also as one of the better Eminem albums in his discography. “Slim Shady” is back, and better than ever.