Sunday, 10 November 2013

The Marshall Mathers LP 2 - Eminem - ALBUM REVIEW

I wasn't going to let one of my most anticipated album of the year go without me talking about it on this blog. Everyone that follows this blog knows that I have mentioned the original The Marshall Mathers LP as one of my favorite, if not my favorite album of all time. The way Eminem displayed his flows and told stories, whether comical or serious, on that album made it a classic to a lot of people. It remains to this day one of the few albums to go Diamond and it has won multiple accolades including Best Rap Album at the Grammys and was named the best rap album by a white rapper by Rhapsody. So clearly, this album means a lot to many people just the same way Illmatic or Me Against The World does. How could Eminem possibly try to create a sequel to such a monumental album?

I will admit I lost hope for this album shortly after it was announced. When Berzerk came out, I was absolutely excited. I loved the old school Beastie Boys feel of the track, it was catchy as hell without sounding to poppy (coughs*Not Afraid*coughs), and Eminem sounded like he was going back to his classic Shady roots. He was rapping coherent and not using the same yelling flow he picked up on Forever and Drop the World (See what Cash Money has done?). Survival came out as well but I wasn't worried about that track because I heard it was a Call of Duty bonus edition track. It sounded like a Recovery leftover track and had a very weak hook. Then Eminem dropped Rap God... When this track dropped, I had it on repeat for a while. The beat and hook weren't great, but it was obvious what that track was: an epic display of flows. Eminem had at least 5 different and unique flows on that track, including slow, aggressive, internal rhymes and the infamous super sonic verse. He truly proved that he was illegible for the title it represents. How could he go wrong now? Then The Monster came out... that track was terrible. It was probably the most bubblegum instrumental he has ever rapped on and Rihanna's hook was unbearable. Then it was announced Survival would make the album and I started to get worried. Were we gonna get another Recovery with MMLP2 but without the yelling? Thankfully we didn't.

I'm not gonna lie and say I waited for the actual release date of the album to listen to it because that would be stupid. The album leaked a week early and I wanted to know what I was investing my money into before hand. The album opens up with Bad Guy, a narrative over a simple spacious beat from the perspective of Stan's younger brother Mitchell coming back to murder Eminem (btw you don't realize this till maybe the 2nd or 3rd verse). I thought this track was pretty good but I didn't absolutely love it till it switched up beats in the end and Eminem just went the fuck off. He was aggressive, apologetic, and his flow was dangerous. I got excited. I wasn't crazy over the hook (btw we'll get into the hooks later) but it was tolerable. A skit that continues upon Criminal comes and introduces Rhyme or Reason, a highlight of this album. I loved the Zombie's sample (I remember hearing it on Logic's Young Sinatra) and Eminem's flow was crazy good, the Yoda imitation was hilarious. He raps about some of the things he went through to obtain his success, and of coarse his non-existing relationship to his dad. So Much Better follows and it is classic Shady, taking shots at people and trends with no fucks given. Asshole is a great track with a monstrous beat (Alex Da Kid actually comes through this time) and Eminem's immaculate flow showcases, rapping about how and why he's an asshole; classic Shady again. Berzerk and Rap God were better than never through the context of the album. Brainless sounded like a more modern MMLP track, which I loved. Then the album hit a low point for me...

This album isn't without its flaws (and they're terrible ones too), as I have skipped talking about a couple of songs from the beginning of the album for a reason. When Survival came in, I was completely thrown off. That song did not belong there at all, it sounded so out of place. Legacy was also a track I didn't like at all. I thought the message was kinda boring and corny and the hook stood out in a bad way. I actually had no problems with this track till the Dead End Hip Hop review came out and they pointed it out, and now I can't stand it (Thanks a lot guys :P) They were right though, I can't lie. It was very poppy and sounded awkward to listen to. Stronger Than I Was is a track that I think confused the fuck out of a lot of people because it was Eminem doing something so different; basically singing on most of the track. I think he was trying to do what he did with Hailey's Song on The Eminem Show (which worked for me) but it didn't at all here. His vocals sounded so forced and the content was corny as well. Some people might relate to that track (I've seen fans praise it) but I can't stand it. The Monster is trash like I've said before. The hooks on this album are an issue for me as well, as many of them didn't work at all like the mentioned tracks here and Bad Guy a bit

I'm gonna finish off the review with the last quarter of the album, which was very enjoyable. I really liked So Far... because Eminem was very funny on that track. The beat didn't grab me at first but it really grew on me as I listened to it more and more. Love Game was a surprise because I had a lot of expectations for the Kendrick Lamar feature and hoping they would lyrically go back and forth. Instead, they went for a comedic track about relationships. They both had hilarious verses and Kendrick was able to keep up with Eminem and not be overshadowed; which I applaud him for it. The beat wasn't amazing, but it worked for the content of the track. I also liked how this track and So Far were sequenced right after each other setting a good mood for the album. Headlights was a great track to me personally, with Eminem apologizing to his mother in a very touching and emotional way and the hook grew on me a lot. To be honest I expected to hate this track because of the guest feature Nate Reuss, but to say he was bad would be a lie. He killed it and the result was a track that touched me to the point were I felt like tears might fall. Then my favorite track came, Evil Twin. That track was classic Shady, with the most clever wordplay and rhymes on the album. The line about the top 4 was dope as hell and I liked how he was going back and forth between Shady and Marshall. He finished the album perfectly. 

So in conclusion, I thought the album was great. I feel like Eminem was comfortable making this album which is something I haven't heard him do in years (with the exception of maybe Hell The Sequel). He was rapping like he was actually the best rapper of all time and he made a more cohesive album than Recovery, Relapse, and Encore. I do have a problem with the hooks and some of the production, but the positives out-way the negatives for me. Maybe the title may have been inappropriate, but I won't let that distract me from the dopeness of the album. So go out and support the album, I'm sure you'll find this album very enjoyable. Its definitely one of the best commercial Hip-Hop albums of the year (along with Pusha T's My Name Is My Name; that album is incredibly dope so be sure to check it out as well!), but I don't know about top 10 of the year as a whole so far like I would have wanted.


Favorite Tracks: Rhyme or Reason, Rap God, Asshole (Feat. Skylar Grey), So Far, Love Game (Feat. Kendrick Lamar) & Headlights, Evil Twin. 

Least Favorite Tracks: Legacy, Stronger Than I Was & The Monster (Feat. Rihanna)

Albums To Check Out That I Haven't Covered on this Blog : 
- My Name Is My Name - Pusha T
- Old - Danny Brown
- Mr. Motherfuckin' eXquire - Kismet (Top 5 material)
- Dour Candy - Billy Woods
- Parts of Speech - Dessa
- 8 Miles to Moenaet - Tall Black Guy (Instrumental Album)
- Blue Chips 2 - Action Bronson
- No Poison No Paradise - Black Milk
- Race Music - Armand Hammer
- Gold PP7's - Clear Soul Forces
- Better Off Dead - Flatbush Zombies (Top 5 material)
- Left in the Deck - Brother Ali (Top 5 material)

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