tue 11/08/2020

CD: Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP2 | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP2

CD: Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP2

What has middle-age done to the headcase from Detroit?

Eminem: truth and exuberance

Foul-mouthed Eminem is back. On his latest single, “Rap God”, he tells us he’s still as “rude and indecent as hell” before spitting out homophobic slurs like those which once brought him so much trouble. But then being foul-mouthed is kind of the point of the veteran rapper, whose combination of wit and anger often gives his music a rare cathartic power. Especially when his music is as catchy as that contained in the first Marshall Mathers LP (where, lest we forget, he even managed to turn a Dido song into a compelling narrative). How worthy a successor, then, is the second instalment?

It’s pretty darn good. Particularly where Em concentrates on his pop-rap schtick. In fact, “Love Game” with Kendrick Lamar, and “So Far…” may well eclipse the popularity of his recent number one with Rhianna (“Monster”). It’s not just the light end of hip-hop here either - the dynamics of the entire album are well judged. Perhaps it's the Midas presence of producer Rick Rubin, or just a purple patch but Mathers hasn’t seemed this focussed for years. Throw in a well-chosen selection of samples and collaborators and the result is a high-speed, volatile, free-thinking, dissertation on mental illness, family dysfunction and social alienation.

The album kicks off with a lyrical link to the first Marshall Mathers LP. “Bad Guy” continues the story of “Stan" whose musical style is later referenced on the slightly toothless “Legacy”. It isn't surprising, though, that during its 80 minutes not every song on the album is a winner. What does come as a shock is the nuanced apology Mathers makes to his mother - “Headlights” -  which, despite the soft rock crooning of Nate Ruess in the background, develops into an incredibly moving, and mature piece. For the most part, however, Em sticks to the formula he describes in "Rap God" - “to be truthful the blueprint is/ simply truth and youthful exuberance”. He may actually be actually 41 but, thankfully, Marshall Bruce Mathers III is showing few signs of growing up.

Watch Eminem's video for "Monster" overleaf:

The result is a high-speed, volatile, free-thinking, dissertation on mental illness, family dysfunction and social alienation


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Add comment


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters