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Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you The Marshall Mathers LP 2 from Eminem, the eighth studio album from the artist. It has been highly anticipated by many, as the singles have breathed a new kind of Eminem: The old one, who has grown and adapted, as he is, of course, an adapter.
In purple is The Midnight Novelist‘s opinion, who is a huge Eminem fan. She is eager to give this album a listen. We’re glad to have her, as there is no better person to help us out on this review. Her opinion should be valued and heard, as she undoubtedly speaks for the large, long-time Eminem fan base.
In green is my opinion. There was a period in my life a couple of years ago where Eminem was my primary artist. The phase has passed, though I am eager to hear and review this album, as I’m expecting some great things.
In blue is my cousin Robert’s opinion. He isn’t an Eminem fan, or a fan of rap, though hearing a new Em single on the radio convinced him to give this album a shot. He is willing to give this album an honest listen. He’s an Eminem noob, and so any informalities or out-of-the-know comments should be disregarded. Robert knows a ton about music, but rap simply isn’t his genre.
Not interested in this artist or familiar with him? These reviews will you give you a taste of his music. Let’s start our track-by-track review.
This song is one of the most obvious throwbacks to The Marshall Mathers LP. Part follow-up to “Stan” and part admittance that Eminem has caused a lot of his own problems. You believe Em may be rapping about Kim again. But, instead, “Bad Guy” is about Eminem bringing himself down, and it quickly delves into a deep and dark place that sends a shiver down my spine each time. Nothing sums up the song better than one of the final lines, “Final chapter in the saga / trying to recapture that lightning / trapped in the bottle twice / the magic that started it all / tragic portrait of an artist, tortured / trapped in his own drawings.”
The fact that Eminem returns to Stan on the first track of this album is mind blowing in itself. Stan was a story of truly grand proportions, and for Eminem to continue such a twisted story in this way is so intriguing and satisfying. The melancholy chorus helps the track to feel a lot like its predecessor, and so Bad Guy brings the story of Stan full circle in a cohesive way. I’m really impressed with the fact that the lyrics coming from Stan’s younger brother come off as being as amateur, littered with forced rhymes, as it separates him from Slim. Just like Stan disconnected the listener from Eminem and made it about a new character, Bad Guy tells us a fresh story. The Stan tie-in lyrical references were appreciated as well. The resurrection of Eminem in the end is straight up hardcore. Bad Guy was a heavy, exciting beginning to the MMLP 2.
I really cannot tell if Eminem is talking about his personal life or someone else on this track. It is really repetitive, which gets annoying quickly. What I do like in this song, however, is that his rap is not fast. You can actually understand the story he is trying to tell. When he said that the Broncos suck I laughed for a while, and I like how after 4 minutes into the song, it gets more serious. Towards the end of Bad Guy, the lyrics get much more powerful, and it sounds more like the Eminem/Slim Shady/ Marshall Mathers we have come to know. By far my favorite part is those last 2 minutes.
Parking Lot (Skit)
I’ve always loved the skits Em puts between his songs, and this one is no different. Superfans will understand why I laughed when he shot the dog, as tragic and horrible as that sounds. The throwbacks to the original album just keeping coming in, and I’m eating it up.
He shot the dog. I laughed. That is all.
There is not much to say here. It’s just an interesting little skit that makes no sense to me, but it seems like it is a continuation of some other skit or something similar.
Rhyme or Reason
This song makes me laugh. I love the sample of “Time of the Season” by the Zombies and Em’s answers to the questions. And he raps in a Yoda voice. I mean, who the hell does that? It’s genius, and only he could pull it off. One of the highlights of Eminem’s songs has always been his pop culture references; it’s like a little window into his mind whenever he does. I love how we start off with Star Wars, delve into Spider-Man, and leave off with Superman.
I dig the Q and A session in this song, as well as the subtle Without Me lyrical references. I feel as if conducting a job interview with Eminem would be something else. The beat is really groovy and chill, almost ironic when paired with the angry lyrics. I would have liked Rhyme and Reason’s Eminem “sung” chorus to be stronger, but it’s still a decent song. And he raps as Yoda. Are you kidding me? It’s hilarious. Still, this track the best of the album, it is not.
For some reason, the beginning of this song sounded like Supermassive Black Hole by Muse. I hear a keyboard, which is always nice, and it is great to hear Eminem remake a classic song, which is why it sounded familiar to me. This song is really catchy. Despite not being a fan of rap, this song is not bad at all. Eminem did a great job with it.
So Much Better
This song doesn’t do too much for me, unfortunately. As a self-proclaimed Eminem superfan, it pains me whenever I have to admit that I don’t like something he’s done. His entire Encore album, save for a few songs, falls under that category, and “Puke” is at the top of that list. It was funny at the time, but it doesn’t really hold up to repeat listening. While this one does a better job with the actual song part of the song, it feels like “Puke 2.0” to me. With that said, I love when he says, “I’m just playing bitch, you know I love you,” which harkens back to both “Kill You” and “White America.”
I almost feel guilty saying anything positive about this song, but I was really amused by it. For those who can’t get behind the lyrics, look at it with humor. As for the song, it resembles Puke, which I wasn’t fond of. So Much Better does Puke better than Puke does Puke, however. The singing has improved, and the lyrics are so disturbingly well-crafted and meticulous despite the hate behind them. So Much Better was undoubtedly so much better than Rhyme or Reason, as it’s Eminem in his element: angry.
I really like the chorus in this song. So Much Better is funny to me. It seems that Eminem has a problem with female dogs, and I could not stop laughing to the lyrics of this song. The sound resembles something from his Slim Shady days. The track is straight up weird, but I have to admit that the lyrics are creative despite how crazy they are. But hey, I guess they’re acceptable in the rap world.
This is my favorite single that Eminem has released so far. He’s done rags-to-riches songs so many times you’d think they’d get less compelling. Quite the contrary. The best part about this one is the excitement in his voice as he raps. After generally more subdued songs from Recovery, it’s nice to hear him so amped up again. It’s so hard to decide which parts of the third verse are my favorite, but it has to be a tie between the final lines and when he says that if he doesn’t do his music, he loses his mind. Let’s hope he never does either.
Eminem isn’t simply rapping fat, he’s rapping with enthusiasm. The electric guitar compliments his edgy, exhilarated vocals. The chorus, while at first listen may seem too comfortably Recovery-esque, fits both this track and this album. Survival is a strong single, both musically and lyrically.
The guitar intro in the beginning got me hooked to the song right away, as it was a breath of fresh air for a guy like me. I like the rapping on this track, and the female vocals are a wonderful addition to the song. I can easily listen to this song when playing FPS games like CoD and Battlefield. It can easily pump me up.
I love songs that talk about Em’s childhood. There are so many raw emotions there, and it actually reminds me of The Eminem Show (which I think is his best album — gasp!) more so than The Marshall Mathers LP. I like that the hook is so calm and fluid, and is in direct contrast to how he’s rapping. The subject of his raps is sad, and yet this song leaves me with hope and reminds me how far he’s come since those fateful days.
Does anybody know who the chick singing is? She’s just as great as Eminem on this track, and that’s not usually the case when he collaborates with other artists. They compliment each other in a really special way. Eminem’s distant-sounding lyrics as well as the stormy ambient noise establish a very eerie, almost sad tone. The piano helps to drive the song as it does with so many of Em’s songs. Legacy is a nice, wholesome song.
Once again I love the intro, as well as the abundance of piano. The beat is what you would expect from Eminem, but the back up vocals add a nice touch. They help to make the song enjoyable and easy to listen to. Eminem definitely has a legacy, and this song reminds us of it.
A*****e (feat. Skylar Grey)
Eminem’s flow on this song is so interesting. It’s relentless, and I love the contrast with the hook sung by Skylar. Eminem has always been a controversial artist, and he’s never backed away from that. After eight albums, it’s nice that nothing has changed and that he’s still calling his critics out on helping his fame along. Take that, assholes. Oh, and let’s be honest: the Optimus Prime line is the best part of this song.
The name of the song is a turn off initially, and the context of the song doesn’t help to win me over. The My Name Is reference is appreciated, of course, but it’s not enough to save this song. I’m struggling to find a meaning to this track. To make matters worse, the chorus and beat aren’t complementary to my ears. This song isn’t a favorite of mine.
Fast rapping included. The chorus is great, which has been the case thus far into the album. The lyrics are interesting, but this track is not one of my favorites on the album. Does that make me a butthole? Probably not, but I would prefer to listen to another song.
Berzerk” is a great song; it’s just not a great song for me. I love that it’s a throwback to the Beastie Boys and old school hip-hop, and the music video is great. But it’s just not something I find myself wanting to jam to. I still like it, and I’ll definitely be listening to it over and over again, but it’s not going to make my favorites playlist. Still, this was the first single he released, and from the beginning I have loved that his voice has returned to his older sound.
Eminem goes berzerk on this track. The Beastie Boys vibe that resonates from Berzerk is mostly due to the excited vocals. Eminem’s energy is the driving force on this track. Not only are the lyrics both humorous and self-indulgent, fitting the beat, but the vocals are very animated in their delivery. The chorus is extremely catchy, and is among the best that the MMLP 2 has to offer. Berzerk is a single that won’t be worn out after its first play.
This is by far my favorite song from the LP 2 so far. This song reminds me of the Beastie Boys, and I fell in love with it the moment I heard part of it on TV commercials. To me it’s very creative and catchy. I can actually see myself headbanging to this song and blasting it with the windows down in my car. Overall, Berzerk is a solid track, and by far one of the best!
What is there to say about “Rap God” other than it slams you against the wall and doesn’t let you go until all six of those minutes are over with. This isn’t like so many of Eminem’s other songs in that it doesn’t tell us a story, but my God, it is a lyrical masterpiece. Eminem has never had to worry about rapping fast to prove his skill, but it’s still nice to know he can give Busta Rhymes a run for his money. It’s too bad that there’s so much controversy around this song for his “blatant homophobia.” Come on, guys. I thought we were past this. Go watch his live performance of “Stan” from the 2001 Grammys and then we can talk. But maybe something even worse than that is the fact that Em believes he’s not as big as he was before. You won’t catch me thinking that for even a second.
The beat on Rap God, first off, is ridiculously heavy. The piano, the electronic sounds, and the bass are overkill in the best way possible. Eminem’s flow is incredibly smooth, and it meshes with the beat like peanut butter does with jelly. Hearing others rap about how great they are is a huge no for me, but Eminem is allowed to do it, and the reason as to why is simple. He is great. You’re on his side. Rap God is a lyrical feat, and the song doesn’t go downhill after the supersonic lyrics. It keeps on going and doesn’t cease. I love every minute of Rap God.
We get another nice piano intro and some more fast rapping on this track. I, however, do not like this song. It sounds boring to me, and it’s repetitive. I really don’t get why this track is 6 minutes long. If he was going to name a song Rap God it should have been better sounding than this. Sadly, this song reminds me why I am not a fan of rap. It’s unfortunate, because other songs that I’ve heard so far make me want to have this be the first rap album I ever buy.
“Eminem has a full line of chainsaws.” I wasn’t expecting to laugh within the first two seconds of this song, but there you go. This is a hard-hitting song and it’s lyrically well-written, but beyond that it doesn’t do much for me. The beat is great, but I just don’t connect to this song like so many others on this record.
Brainless is well put together. The piano beat goes hard in the paint, and the lyrics are constructed very well, but it’s not a song that stands out to me. Maybe I should create my own chainsaw line in an effort to relate to this song.
This song does not show how brainless Eminem is, but rather how creative he is. I love all of the seemingly random rhymes Eminem makes in this song. Who knew you could rhyme all of these words? Eminem is pure genius, and this song shows it. I feel like no matter how old Eminem gets, he can still rap and make it sound good.
Stronger Than I Was
“Stronger than I Was” reminds me of “Mockingbird.” Eminem doesn’t sing often, and when he does it’s something special. His singing isn’t the strongest, but it doesn’t matter when the lyrics are as beautiful as this. This is a slower song until the end, when he reaches the rap portion. But even then, this is a song filled with an honest dose of hope and confidence we haven’t heard from him in a while.
This track is a nice cool-off from Brainless, and so it’s well appreciated. Eminem clearly put his soul on this track, and it’s almost touching. I recall an interview from a while back where Eminem explained how dangerous it was to seem weak or vulnerable in hip hop. Despite that, Shady exposed himself for a few minutes here. I feel like he did this song for himself. You can tell that he really needed to get this message off of his chest. While it may not be a song I suggest to my friends or would like to hear over and over, I’m glad that I could be on board to hear him get these weights from his shoulders.
Stronger Than I Was is surprisingly a slow song in which Eminem is singing rather than rapping. To me it is mind blowing, because I really love this song. It’s honestly pure and deep. I never knew that this was possible, but Eminem once again shows how he is a rap genius. The meaning is great, and anybody who loves music can love this song. Eminem does eventually rap on the track, but the words are easy to understand, and do not change the song for the worse. I wish he did not curse as much, but if he’s simply pouring his emotions out then it is okay with me. Stronger Than I Was is definitely one of my favorites, and I like how he decided to sing on this album like a normal person.
Monster (feat. Rihanna)
I’m actually not the biggest fan of Eminem’s previous songs with Rihanna. Nothing against them pairing up, but I think I heard “Love the Way You Lie” one too many times on the radio and I’m just sort of over it. That being said, I love the hook to this song. The message of Em’s raps is great, too, especially when he admits he’s his own monster. I’m really loving the reflective side of this album so far.
Rihanna isn’t among my favorite artists. If anything, I’m not very fond of her work. Regardless, she did an exceptional job on this track. Unlike Love the Way You Lie, where both of the artists were loud, almost competing for the stage in your ears, Monster presents us with an almost relaxed version of their potential. Monster isn’t overbearing in the slightest, and is an enjoyable gem on this album. Easy, is what it is.
Right when I heard Rihanna sing I knew that I would hate this song. She is a horrible singer. It is so annoying, and I just feel like screaming at my screen to shut up and play something else. If this just had Eminem and his rapping then it would be fine, but Rihanna kills this song. She causes damage to my ears. I want to press the mute button every time I hear this song and skip it. This is not a good song to showcase why Eminem is a good rapper, and I wish it was never created. Do your ears a favor and skip this song. If you do not, well…God Bless You!
I love, love, love this song. It’s hilarious the way he incorporates “Life’s Been Good,” and raps to the beat of the song. There are a lot of throwbacks in this one, but my favorite might be the section that ends on “I think my karma is catching up with me.” Oh, and when he makes fun of himself for not knowing anything about technology. (Which is why I’ve seriously been side-eyeing his Twitter account. Are we sure that’s actually him tweeting?? I’m fairly convinced he doesn’t even know how to turn a computer on let alone figure out an app on a smartphone.) Or when he talks about how he’s a creature of habit and still buys hamburger helper. Yeah, I pretty much like this whole song from start to finish. I’ll be listening to it again and again for sure.
This song is hysterical. Eminem has not a care in the world. This grown man is rapping about taking a dump. In depth. The guitars, both electric and acoustic, work so well in unison, all in all helping to establish a very irresponsible and carefree tone. The lyrics are are right on. The whole album has impressive lyrics, but nearly every line of So Far is a punch line. The Real Slim Shady tune was icing on the cake. So Far is easily one of the best of the MMLP 2. It’s hilarious. Spy time with Eminem? Hilarious.
Haha I love how Eminem puts his own twist on another classic rock song, in this case it is Joe Walsh’s Life’s Been Good, and helps my ears heal from the hell they had to sit through before this song. Rap-Rock sounds great when done right, and this song is a prime example of that. At this point it is by far my favorite song on the LP. I can’t forget to mention that that belch was too funny. It’s awesome how he puts video games into his lyrics. (I was amused by the references). I also noticed that between 3:00-3:05 there is a familiar tune that we all know and love. Who would have thought he would have referenced his old work in his new work? Honestly, is there anything this guy cannot rap about? Once again, it is another funny song, and definitely not a disappointment.
Love Game (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
I had high expectations for this track with Kendrick Lamar. It looks like Kendrick is quickly becoming Em’s new prodigy (sorry I’m not sorry, 50), and a lot people are saying great things about him. I love the hook, but the song isn’t really my style. That being said, Em has a way of killing everyone that’s on a song with him — whether it’s his song or not (see: “Renegade”) — but Kendrick definitely holds his own. It reminds me of Royce da 5’9” in that their styles are complementary, which makes for an excellent transition between the two artists.
Love Game is a compilation of dropped lines from So Far. Or, at least, that’s how I interpret it. The little girl/doll refrain is funny, even though I can’t understand a word she’s saying. Kendrick Lamar did a fine job, a few lines very well delivered and well written, but I wasn’t even on board with this track when Em was rapping. Lamar surely didn’t restore my faith in the song. Love Game just doesn’t work.
This song has a cool drum beat to it, as well as some nice verses. The guitar helps it to have a rock-rap feel, and the chorus is also enjoyable. This song is very lyrical which makes it great, and adding the different instruments was a nice touch. With a multitude of songs in this world about love, you can slowly grow tired of the, but this song is absolutely an exception.
Headlights (feat. Nate Ruess)
I can’t even begin to tell you what this song means to me. It’s basically a follow-up to “Cleanin’ Out My Closet.” I knew it was going to be rough as soon as Nate Ruess came on to sing the hook, but Em’s lyrics are something I never, ever, ever thought I’d hear come out of his mouth. It makes me sad that he apologizes for “Cleanin’ Out My Closet” because I truly love that song, but the fact that he’s changed his tune and has decided to make amends with his mother for all those songs about her shows the type of growth he’s gone through. I’m anticipating the amount of hate this track is going to get from the “original” Em fans, but we have to remember that this music isn’t for us — it’s for him. And this is a huge step forward for Marshall. It’s a beautiful song full of all the raw emotion that made people connect with him to begin with. The truth of the matter is that if he did another “Cleanin’ Out My Closet,” people would be complaining that he’s just doing the same thing over and over again. For my part, I’m glad this is the direction he’s decided to go in, and I applaud him for putting his pride behind him and making a song like “Headlights.”
Headlights is a shock. To hear Eminem say something like this is just not something he would do, or so we thought. This song is incredibly deep, a true expression of love from Eminem. LOVE. Not hate, not resentment. LOVE. In an Eminem song. Nate Ruess sets the after-party-confessional vibe, and then allows Eminem to take the microphone. Ruess did an incredible job, but Headlights must be about Eminem, because you can understand that this track is very important to him. Headlights must be one of the best songs he’s ever put out. This is a successful song, lyrically, musically, and genuinely. What a nice surprise.
Let me just say that this is a beautifully written song. You can tell that Eminem put all of his feelings into this one. I like how he has a lot of guests on this LP, and Nate Ruess is by far the best sounding one. His voice plus Eminem’s rapping is a match made in heaven. This is such a meaningful song. It shows that even people who have gone through a lot of crap in their life still have a heart and want to change for the better. Another one of my favorites, and I know others will love this one too.
This is Eminem in concentrated form. Did he even leave anyone off the list? This song is so great because it really does go back to his roots. This is what we’ve known him to do for so long — kicking ass and taking names without even batting an eye. I love the line about Gaga and Bieber, but my favorite is when he says he listens to all of his CDs so he can keep an eye on his competition, and then pauses to laugh. I’m sorry, but lines like that will never get old to me. And in the end when he owns Slim and says that they’re the same person, it feels like he’s taking control of a madness that he’s been feeling incapable of controlling for so long. And with that, Eminem is back with an album that definitely lives up to its name.
We go from beautiful to rowdy. Eminem talks crap about nearly everybody who is relevant, save for the president, and he doesn’t appear to give a damn. I think this is ultimately why so many people enjoy both Eminem’s music and his personality. He’s unashamed of who he is and what he’s been through. Evil Twin is a great closing song to the album, as the beat is hot and the lyrics are concrete. Evil Twin is an effective finisher to this album.
I was almost turned off from this song because of the intro, (the techno sound), but it got better for me. Once again, the lyrics are meaningful. You can really make sense of all of the problems he had with his life, and I appreciate the slight darkness. The song is a little weird, but it’s a strong way to end the LP. Honesty I am one of the biggest rap haters on the face of the Earth, but I do want to buy this album after listening to it from beginning to end, and I will not regret it. It will be the first rap album in my CD collection, and that’s because Eminem is creative, unlike many other rappers in today’s music. I would like to thank my cousin for letting me review this album and thank you all for reading!
The Midnight Novelist’s Top 3
My Top 3
Robert’s Top 3
Ladies and gentlemen, there you have it. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is a grand success. Eminem offers masterful lyrical content, memorable beats, and strong tracks. Even the songs on the album that aren’t so great are listenable. This album is absolutely a Filet. For Eminem fans and rap fans alike, this is a must have. Those who want to see what Eminem is all about should start here. It’s a refined, fresh Eminem that still manages to cling onto his roots. The deluxe version has some sick tracks on it as well. A complete album, this one is. Thank you all so much for reading, and let us know how you feel about this album in the comments! We would love to hear your opinions!