Eminems MMLP2 Album Review

Posted by HydroNov 08, 2013

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When I saw the commercial during the MTV Music Video Awards announcing Eminem’s new album, I got excited. I got almost as excited as I did during Jay-Z’s similar surprise announcement earlier this year for MCHG. Then I saw the hashtag flash onto the screen: #MMLP2. It took me about 10 seconds to really process what I saw. Forget the oddly shot VHS tape styled video clip. Forget Rick Rubin’s cameo accompanied by a Beastie Boys reminiscent backdrop. Forget my favorite rapper releasing new music. This album is a sequel to one of my top 10 rap albums ever. This is the Marshal Mathers LP Part 2.

Sequel albums are tough; Just ask any producer on The Blueprint 2. They're difficult; Just ask Raekwon’s weed carrier about Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Part II. They aren't easy; Just ask Lupe’s dictionary carrier about Food & Liquor 2. They're hard; Just ask Lloyd Bank’s jewelry shiner about Hunger For More 2. They're a tall task; Just ask Red & Meth’s tour bus driver about Blackout! 2. They're hit or miss; Just ask Twista’s breath control coach about Adrenaline Rush 2007. Following up a classic (usually years later when people think you’ve lost “it”) with another album is one thing. It is a whole different monster to be so delusional as to title it the same as one of your confirmed classics and just throw a “2” at the end. Most sequel albums play out a lot more like The Godfather 3 than 2. To recapture the feeling that made fans fall in love with you is borderline impossible. If it was easy then Kool Moe Dee would do a viral campaign for How Ya Like Me Now 2. It’s almost as hard as keeping fans with you for the years in between those sequels. In whatever form Eminem decides to provide this sequel it will be scrutinized. It will be picked apart. It will be trashed. Not because it’s not good, but because it is permanently attached and compared to arguably his best work.

Let me explain that there are no misprints in those first paragraphs. Eminem might not always be my #1 all around pick for the classic “Greatest Rapper Of All Time” barbershop argument, but he'll always be my favorite rapper. He's one of few rappers that inspired me to start and continue to rap. He is, in my opinion, the most lyrically sound MC to ever grace this planet. The only thing that I ever subtract points from Eminem for is beat selection (sometimes you’ve gotta step back from the boards Marshall) and subject matter (not even a fan as dedicated as myself can argue the redeeming qualities of a song like "Rainman"). With that being said, it'll be extremely difficult for me to say that I won't show a bias during this review. I’m usually good about things like this but for the sake of fairness, I'll review each track through two separate points of view. At times, I'll chime in as the Eminem fanatic that I truly am.

Lets begin.

 

1. “Bad Guy”

Hip-Hop Fan:

This is a dark way to start an album, but this is an Eminem album; dark is where he operates best. Storytelling has been on point since Slim Shady LP; this is no exception. Chorus is creepy but soulful. And then the 3rd verse happened. This is “Stan” 2 without any prior indication, complete with a return character, a revert back to vintage Em voices, and a “believable” reason to even continue the story. How he pulled this off is beyond me, but it works. Stan’s younger brother Matthew is grown up and he’s been waiting for the chance to avenge his brother’s death and the effects it’s had on him and his family. And then the 4th verse (along with a beat change) happens. It’s rapped as the personification of all the negative energy Eminem has put out into the world through his music. It’s Eminem calling himself out for all of his own b.s. That’s about as honorable as he’ll probably get, so I hope people enjoy it.

Eminem Fanatic:

Stan is a classic; don’t touch it… unless you can guarantee it will sound like this. This is freaking awesome. Wait a minute!!! Did he just reference an early Wake Up Show freestyle during the car ride?!?!?!  Did he do it as a reference to driving over the bridge? Is he a genius? All clues point towards YES!!!

Rating: 10 of 10
(Usually I rank lyrics, beat, overall. All of the lyrics are getting 10’s….. that isn’t a joke. Only thing that he is getting dinged for is beats and concepts.)

 

2. “Parking Lot” (skit)

Hip-Hop Fan:

This is just a skit…. Skip it.

Eminem Fanatic:

He just did a skit that’s actually the continuation of a skit that’s in the middle of the song “Criminal.” He did his vintage laugh as he shoots a dog and commits suicide…. It’s like he made this entire album for me and others like me. This is for the real Eminem fans!!!

I know it’s not a track but…
10

 

3. “Rhyme or Reason”

Hip-Hop Fan:

If these tracks are setting the lyrical pace and the bar for… bars then we’re in for a ride. It feels like a master is at work. It feels like a showcase of lyricism for no reason but to do it. Obviously you can rap about a topic like “Why am I still rapping?” in a more simple form, but I’m starting to believe that he doesn’t know how to. Multiple syllables and randomly changing flows is all he knows now. Even the simplest topics are going to be attacked with such exhausting dexterity that sometimes the message will be lost. He was close to losing people on this one. And what’s up with this hippy beat?

8.0

 

4. “So Much Better”

Hip-Hop Fan:

Alright ladies. Where would an Eminem album be without a song about you? Nowhere, that’s where. Accusing a girlfriend of having sex with Dr. Dre and calling you so much that it causes a “Bluetooth ache” is comical, but I fear that when he touches on this topic again that he will have beat it into the ground. SPOILER ALERT: I am wrong.

Eminem Fanatic:

This beat is Dre-esque but it’s clearly Eminem’s own production. I know those drums anywhere. This is a “hit” for Em’s production in a long line of sketchy selections. Its not that Em can’t produce perfectly for himself, it’s just that to hear the progression of sound while still getting the Eminem that we want in 2013 he has to outsource the beat making. It’s just the truth. Tough love is the only way we will get through this. It’s good though. Good song.

7.8

 

5. “Survival”

Hip-Hop Fan:

Well this sounds like “Won’t Back Down” 2. All that’s missing is a COD: Black Ops commercial… Then I saw the video. That is literally what it is. It’s not like it’s a bad song, it’s just so reminiscent of the song from his last album it’s almost laughable to act like they aren’t the same. If you add its constant rotation for the past month on SiriusXM then I had ample time to think on this. It’s one thing not to break new ground, but it’s another to copy and paste. While the lyricism is still great the idea of the song is so microwavable for him that I can only give him so much props.

7.3

 

6. “Legacy”

Hip-Hop Fan:

Eminem has rapped about personal battles before. He has rapped about getting beat up at a young age before. He has rapped about the hurdles he’s had to overcome before. But this is different. This is the most intimately personal song he’s done in some time. He picked the right hook and the right mood-setting instrumental for this one. There’s no punchline to lighten the load. There are no voice changes to make anyone smile. This is serious... and it’s still lyrically sound.

Eminem Fanatic:

This is a personal song reminiscent of “Rock Bottom.” It’s hard to sympathize with these same issues when addressed on a song like “Brain Damage.” He took the “comic” out of the comic book for this one. If I’m comparing it to “Rock Bottom” then obviously we’re good here.

8.8

 

7. “Asshole” feat. Skylar Grey

Hip-Hop Fan:

With a title like that, I can assume that he’s going to address his prior indiscretions. Does he? Well… kinda. It’s mostly just a reason to continue to rap circles around the game. This is one of those tracks that took me a couple of listens to appreciate. It’s also one that the beat is surely not designed to bump in your car. It feels more noisy than anything when turned to a higher volume. Is it a good song? Yea… I suppose. The verses are good and the flows help this beat become bearable. The hook was simple but she nailed it either way. Skylar where were you for Track 6? That would’ve been perfect.

8.63

 

8. “Berzerk”

Hip-Hop Fan:

At first listen I wasn’t sure what he was saying on many parts of this song. At second listen I found out and wasn’t amused. At 100th listen I like it. In the context of other singles released by Eminem this is at least as good as the best of them. Comedic, lyrical, sharp, and upbeat.

Eminem Fanatic:
At this point in his career I will take anything except for “Not Afraid.” I still fear the day I see Eminem perform and I’m close enough for him to see my face during “Not Afraid.” Hopefully, I’m far enough back to where he won’t notice my arms crossed too.

8.3

 

9. “Rap God”

Hip-Hop Fan:

If I have to explain why this song is incredible then I want you to find another review to read. Eminem is the greatest lyricist of all time. Not because of this song but it’s definitely proof of dominance. If we all had to pick a song to throw into the arena there’s no way that this one wouldn’t emerge victorious. Eminem might be the GOAT.

Eminem Fanatic:

Eminem is the greatest lyricist of all time. (notice how both points of view agree on this statement now). If Kendrick Lamar’s “Control” verse made rappers step their pen game up, “Rap God” made those same rappers put those pens back down and admit they’ll never reach this level. Eminem is the GOAT and I don’t care who agrees.

47.3!

 

10. “Brainless”

Hip-Hop Fan:

This is another story of the grind to become something. This story has been told time and time again by Marshall. Again he goes with a more personal approach than normal. Straight to the point lyrics and minimal punch lines makes this a fresh retelling. It’s not as good as “Almost Famous,” but makes up for it with a strong flow that compliments this beat perfectly.

8.23

 

11. “Stronger Than I Was”

Hip-Hop Fan:

Something about Eminem’s singing voice always makes me crack a smile even when he is one hundred percent serious. It’s not because it’s good, it’s just that he’s brave enough to sing even though he has no business doing it.  It’s a tie between him and Drake for the title of “Making The Most Money Doing The Opposite Of What God Put Them On Earth To Do.”

Oh, there’s a verse on here too? Too late. I already skipped after 3 minutes of R&B.

6.12

 

12. “The Monster” feat. Rihanna

Hip-Hop Fan:

I liked “Love The Way You Lie”. I don’t like this. I like Rihanna. I don’t like this……. I just don’t like this, and if im missing something maybe I can find the error in my ways later. Until then the review must go on.

6.25

 

13. “So Far…”

Hip-Hop Fan:

The beat grew on me. The lyrics didn’t have to. This song made me look back at the others on the album that didn’t fit the conventional mold and grade them on a slight curve when it comes to the complete project. Eminem took risks with his sound on this album that paid off with a distinctive sounding LP that stands out amongst the flood of interchangeable artists and singles that currently occupy the airwaves. This track is a standout. Storytelling is top notch along with a sense of humor that makes even a trip to Costco seem like a stroll through a carnival.

Eminem Fanatic:

Vintage Shady in a 2013 flow over something to which only he can rhyme effectively. This is happening people. Get it while you can. Watch out for those snippets of old instrumentals and direct references to old songs!

10.0

 

14. “Love Game” feat. Kendrick Lamar

I’m just going to let the fanatic take this one.

Eminem Fanatic:

Guess what this song is. It’s a trap. It’s a carefully planned trap set by Eminem to lure whoever is “the best” currently onto his playground. It’s an expertly executed massacre of whoever thinks they currently run rap. See Also: “Renegades” & “No Love”. First Jay at one of his peaks, then Lil Wayne when his fans were hyping him the most. This is the same lyrical ass whooping that he’s handed people before, it’s just in a different packaging. The sad thing is that Kendrick looked like he held his own until the 3rd verse showed up to stomp on all his hopes and dreams. We all know that this isn’t a battle BUT with Kendrick throwing down the preverbal gauntlet about 3 months ago declaring an all-out slug fest with anybody within a tracks reach, this judgment is warranted. Kendrick, you lost and you lost badly. Maybe that’s what was needed. If you’re gonna replace your name with Biggie’s, or drop a line (even joking) about being the king of both coasts then you should be prepared to spar with the best. Granted the subject matter is perfect for Eminem’s talents, but if you weren’t ready then you should’ve passed on the track. I know it’s tough to say no. He’s one of the greats.  Well at least now you have a track with him. Don’t worry. The list of people who caught L’s is a good one. You’re in good company with this loser’s circle. Welcome to the club “King” Kendrick.

10.0

 

15. “Headlights”

Hip-Hop Fan:

Who ever thought they would see the day that Marshall not only apologizes to his mother, but dedicates a heartfelt song to her? Not me. Who ever thought that you would possibly enjoy that same song the most out of any track on the album? Not me. Is this a maturing Eminem/Slim Shady? No, this is an already mature, grown up Marshall. He’s moved on, and goes as far as to say something that is so un-Eminem-like that it’s borderline scary. He suggests that he went too far on old songs about her. And as I pick my jaw up off the floor, I drop it again at the fact that I believe him.

Eminem Fanatic:

***single tear***

9.23

 

16. “Evil Twin” feat. Nate Ruess

Hip-Hop Fan:

This song is like “Rap God” at a slower pace. The boasts and brags on this track are so huge that it almost justifies his claim of occupying 2 out of 4 top spots all time. I say almost because the prior 15 tracks is what justifies the claim. At the age of 41, he put together an album that’s as passionate and hungry as any young newcomer that you can mention. This track is icing on the cake. Metaphors and puns are so effortless at this point that it’s frustrating. Any respectable lyricist should be rethinking their game plan at this point.

Eminem Fanatic:

Alright let’s take a break and run this back. The GOAT is here! The GOAT is here!

10

 

Overall?

I give this album a 9.3482. There aren’t many other emcees who I can say that even on their not-so-good songs you can still count on their lyricism. Even on a topic that might be boring, he not only brings a fresh viewpoint, but articulates it with such skill that it keeps the attention of anyone who appreciates lyrics. This album is an accomplishment in the vein of Life is Good and Magna Carta Holy Grail. Nas, Jay-Z, and Eminem are the most skilled “old heads” that we have in mainstream rap music. All three of them released quality music in a range of about 12 months. All of them seem to be getting more concentrated with their efforts. All of them are included in my personal top 3. As of today one of them has moved into first place again. Take a guess who.

 

About

As a 20 year veteran lyricist and original lost member of The Midnight Society, Hydro The MC specializes in rapping about his life and lying about being the lost member of random groups. Known to the government as Jermaine Eldra Miles, this underground rap artist has a long history driven by hip-hop culture. He also boasts an ongoing career in the Armed Forces that has taken him to many different corners of the globe.

 

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Creative Commons License This work by TruMental.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
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