The Marshall Mathers LP 2 review by Eminem

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Nov 5, 2013
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.7 (63 votes)
Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP 2
0

Sound — 9
Eminem has worked hard to create a market for his specific brand of rap, which includes scathing attacks on his friends, family, celebrities and rivals. There is the usual ranting psychotic and violent fantasies in his verses with a fervor that hasn't been there for the past few releases. "The Marshall Mathers LP 2" contains 16 tracks and has an approximate runtime of just under 80 minutes. Four separate singles have been released in anticipation of the album, and each single has been very successful. The first single from the album is the track "Berzerk," which was released in late August this year and debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 charting in 3rd place. "Survival" was released in early October along with a music video as the second single from the album. "Rap God" was released roughly a week after "Survival" as the third single. "The Monster," which features Rihanna, was released as the fourth single from the album in late October. The album opens up with the track "Bad Guy," which starts with some audio samples of a shovel digging a hole, and the chorus is sang by Sarah Jaffe. Like a lot of the album, the actual beat is fairly minimal compared to a lot of recent releases by other artists. Eminem's style on this track is much like his earlier work until you get to the last couple of verses. The lyrical theme is kind of an internal struggle between the good and the bad inside Eminem's head, as well as a kind of revenge-theme. "Parking Lot" is just a short skit, which is playing off of an earlier skit on a previous album. "Rhyme or Reason" is taking samples from "Time of the Season" by The Zombies. Of course, Eminem turns the sample onto its head, including doing a verse in an imitation of Yoda. "So Much Better" has a really crazy vibe/groove to the beat, and the verses have an odd cadence. The choruses are gang vocals. The lyrical theme of this track is heartbreak, revenge and spite which is a common lyrical arena for Eminem. "Survival," the second single from the album, contains guest vocals by Liz Rodrigues, who sings the choruses. "Survival" has an almost-rock vibe to it, reminding me a lot of bands like Sleigh Bells. "Legacy" has a softer intro, including audio of rainfall. The choruses are sung by a female vocalist, but I'm not sure who she is. The lyrical theme deals with Eminem's roots and where he came from - which, again, is common lyrical ground for Eminem. "A-shole" is next up, with guest vocals by Skylar Grey. I really dig the beat on this track, which uses some LOUD drums and dirty keyboard. "Berzerk," which was the first single from the album, opens up mixing samples from "Fight For Your Right (To Party)" by Beastie Boys and "The Stroke" by Billy Squier, with Eminem actually rapping in the beginning more in the style of Beastie Boys. There are lot of samples used on this track, and I didn't know where all of them came from. Part of the lyrics in the chorus "all night long" sounds like it may be possibly sampled from a Mindless Self Indulgence track, but I'm not 100% sure about that. The lyrics play with a lot of pop culture references from the '90s through today. "Rap God," the third single, is probably my favorite track from the album. The track both gives a nod to a lot of hip-hop's most established artists as well as claiming his rap god status. Eminem really shows his ability to rap fast on certain verses on this track. "Brainless" uses some vocal samples in the intro and has a very old school beat to it. This is one of the few tracks where Eminem does his own choruses. "Stronger Than I Was" is the first track on the album to use some audible auto-tune (to my ears), but it is actually done to serve the song instead of being used excessively. This is a much slower song, and really seemed out of character for Eminem – while the song focuses on heartbreak there isn't really much in the way of hostility on this track (or at least not at the level of hostility I'm accustomed to from Eminem). "The Monster," which features Rihanna, was the fourth official single from the album. The lyrical theme is about the contradiction of wanting fame and success but wanting to keep privacy and anonymity. "So Far" uses extensive samples from "Life's Been Good" by Joe Walsh, but without the original vocal audio. It really comes across with a Kid Rock feel for some reason. "Love Game" feature Kendrick Lamar, who is on the same label with Eminem. This track utilizes samples from "The Game of Love" by Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders, and is one of the funniest tracks on the album. "Headlights" is next up, and features vocals by the Fun. vocalist Nate Ruess. Until Eminem comes in, with the exception of the beat, this could be confused as a song by Fun. "Evil Twin" closes out the album, which is similar to the first track, "Bad Guy," as it plays on the idea of having a "good" and "bad" selves battling each other. This track is very much like Eminem's earlier work, which stands out along with the first track in that regard as well as the lyrical themes. I've got to give this album props for avoiding over-production (which seems to be a serious problem with modern hip-hop), as well as the fact that Eminem actually seems to still be trying (again, more than I'm seeing from a lot of other rappers lately).

Lyrics — 8
There are a few guest vocals on the album: "Bad Guy" features vocals by Sarah Jaffe, Skylar Grey was included on "A-shole," "The Monster" includes Rihanna, "Love Game" features Kendrick Lamar, and "Headlights" includes Nate Ruess (vocalist from Fun.). Eminem definitely seems to have been perfecting his craft, including his writing as well as working on his overall verbal speed and his phrasing/ vocal cadences. I've talked a little about Eminem's vocal style, cadence and speed previously in the "Sound" category, so I'll just move on to the actual lyrics. Maybe I'm biased, but Eminem really seems to be one of the few people in the business who has some true creativity when it comes to writing verses. As a sample of the lyrics her are some from "Bad Guy": "I also represent anyone on the receiving end of those jokes you offend/ I'm the nightmare you fell asleep in and woke up still in/ I'm your karma closing in with each stroke of a pen/ Perfect time to have some remorse to show for your sin/ No, it's hopeless, I'm the denial that you're hopelessly in/ When they say all of this is approaching its end/ But you refuse to believe that it's over, here we go all over again/ Backs to the wall, I'm stacking up all them odds/ Toilets clogged, Yeah 'cause I'm talking a lot of shit but I’m backing it all up/ But in my head there's a voice in the back and it hollas/ After the track is demolished/ I am your lack of a conscience/ I'm the ringing in your ears/ I'm the polyps on the back of your tonsils/ Eating your vocal chords after your concerts/ I'm your time that's almost up that you haven't acknowledged/ Grab for some water but I'm that pill that's too jagged to swallow." Here are some lyrics from "Rap God": "I'm never stating, more than never demonstrating/ How to give a motherf--kin' audience a feeling like it's levitating/ Never fading, and I know that the haters are forever waiting/ For the day that they can say I fell off, they'd be celebrating/ Cause I know the way to get 'em motivated/ I make elevating music, you make elevator music/ Oh, he's too mainstream/ Well, that's what they do when they get jealous, they confuse it/ It's not hip hop, it's pop, cause I found a hella way to fuse it/ With rock, shock rap with Doc/ Throw on Lose Yourself and make 'em lose it/ I don't know how to make songs like that/ I don't know what words to use/ Let me know when it occurs to you/ While I'm ripping any one of these verses diverse as you/ It's curtains, I'm inadvertently hurtin' you." You can say a lot of things about Eminem, but he's still writing some wicked verses.

Overall Impression — 8
This may the best new hip-hop album I've heard this year. One major factor in this is probably the fact that there aren't a dozen writers and producers on each track. While most tracks were written by 2 or 3 people, Eminem is credited for writing on each track, as well. There are no more than 2 producers on any given track. Compared to what could be considered the other two largest hip-hop releases this year (by Jay-Z and Kanye), Eminem's beats may be much less sophisticated but his verses definitely make up the difference. While there seems to be, in my opinion, a tendency for rappers to become lazier and more elaborately produced as they become more and more successful Eminem has avoided this pitfall. I'm not saying that there isn't some great production on this album, and he obviously has some great people he's working with. My favorite tracks on the album are "Rap God," "Rhyme or Reason," "Survival" and "Berzerk."

94 comments sorted by best / new / date

    a drummer
    It's good, and might be his best since the first. but the first MMLP will always be his best work, and imo one the greatest albums ever. hard to top that
    mustaine42
    God, you guys really are close minded. Who cares if UG wanted to review a rap album. There exists more than one type of genre in the world. Get over yourselves.
    Malchius
    Eminem has been using guitar samples in his songs for years, he was influenced as much by Rock as he was Rap.
    Like40Ninjaz
    Stopped reading after the Bad Guy summary. You missed the entire point of that song smh.
    Mainer
    I've been really digging this album since it leaked a few days ago Eminem's great.
    fishmunky
    Berzerk actually samples the Stroke by Billy Squire not I love Rock and Roll
    unikorngod
    The Top 100 tabs tend to be pop songs transposed to the guitar, so I think it makes perfect sense that UG would review pop/rap albums. Besides, Eminem and Katy Perry rule
    Explorer939
    Um no
    grizzzzly_adams
    She has nice boobs. You have nice nothing.
    drooce
    since when is having nice boobs a way to judge a musician? "Oh lets respect Katy Perry based on how awesome her tits are!" doesn't sound, to me like anyone who would say that knows the first thing about music. Yeah, Katy Perry is stupid hot, but shes not a great musician because of it.
    zn-1
    Who said she was being judged by having nice boobs? I'm pretty sure that it's just an opinion being stated.
    Tredway856
    Bad guy is actually stan part two telling the revenge story of stans younger brother. Genius.
    diablo9333
    Then with a slight explanation of why he wrote Stan in the first place. This album is incredible. The sad thing is, if you read the lyrics they are no worse than his original albums, it's just that people expect so much more from him for some reason.
    grizzzzly_adams
    The most powerful song on the album is Headlights... It's a reflection/apology to his mother. Took me by surprise and dem feels.
    grizzzzly_adams
    Also, my only complaint was that Yelawolf was not featured on this album. Em and Yela sound awesome together but have such a small body of work together. Also, no Royce or Slaughterhouse.
    zach.blackwell3
    Yeah I would have liked to have heard Royce on a track but I think with the latest Slaughterhouse album and the Bad Meets Evil EP it might've a little repetitive. Idk. They really do kick ass together though.
    The_Dayman
    Eh...I don't know. Just finished listening to the whole thing... Honestly I can't think of one track I'd go back to constantly. What I really miss from the MMLP is the really laid-back style of some of the songs (Who Knew?, I'm Back, etc.). I'm not sure what I should have been expecting with this album, but with a name like MMLP2, you can forgive me for at least expecting some kind of nostalgic joy, which I didn't really get. Trust me, I REALLY wanted to like this album. I'd give it a 5. Better than Recovery, that's for sure, but I don't think I'll be rushing out to buy it.
    Swizzlestix
    I thought it lost a lot of steam towards the end of the album, beats start to sound weird and i wasn't hooked by it when i listened all the way through, but i think it's a definite step up from the last couple of albums. absolutely love the fact he has a sequel to "Stan" and it's nice to hear him thrash on Kim again, that was a little nostalgia in that song, along with the parking lot skit, but his hay-day of The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show are (sad to say) probably gone
    NightwishAngel
    I just listened to this album and I get energized when I hear it. It's like classic Eminem all over again And for those who complain about this being on Ultimate Guitar doesn't mean it's all about guitar. It's all about music. End of story
    fastfingers10
    When I was downvoted above, maybe it was taken out of context. It does sound negative toward Eminem. I was just surprised that they would review it and that there is that demographic on UG. I did actually enjoy this album. a few songs I didn't like but more I did like.
    ewolf5150
    i remember when eminem was just a candy you bought at the store during checkout
    Vash_15
    Are you high? His flow is so start-and-stop that I couldn't stand to finish half the songs on the album. He has more sudden breaks in his flow than Skrillex has bass drops. In fact, his flow is probably the weakest part of the album, since the lyrics are actually kind of strong and the back beats are cool as hell.
    KaneWolf
    I noticed this too, but couldn't help but feel it's a lot to do with the tempos chosen for some of the beats. Bad Guy for example I found to be quite a lot lower an more of a pain to listen to than a lot of his previous work.
    osiris12
    Really looking forward to hearing this. One of my favorite rappers and the sequel to my favorite rap album
    rasmusschulz
    I'm just here to b*tch about this being a review of a record with no (or very little) guitar on it.
    ReldvS
    Eminem uses a real band live...or he did on SNL i heard "real" guitar samples played on a real guitar lol id say that should b here IMO
    zn-1
    He did for his live performance of "Rap God" at the YouTube Awards, as well.
    fastfingers10
    I was just as shocked when I saw the review for a Katy Perry album. Dafuq, UG? This isn't quite the demographic for that.
    chaoticfables
    ugh
    fastfingers10
    Thanks for putting the effort to type in "ugh". You missed the context, which was partly my fault. I like Eminem, I just didn't know there was a demographic on this site for reviewing a rap CD. My fault for being somewhat close minded.
    webber243
    twat
    RC52190
    Hey thanks for putting in the effort to blahda blahdy blah blah [insert senseless yammer about me being an ignorant ass] blahdy blah I'm an *******.
    ewolf5150
    who's eminem?
    s7peterson
    **** you I don't care if youre being sarcastic just **** you
    ewolf5150
    WHOA! we got a fanboy here. btw, i was being funny and although im a metalhead, i do enjoy eminem and having been jamming his new album the past 2 days.
    s7peterson
    it just pisses me off when people say stupid ass shit like that. I wouldn't say i'm a fanboy, I don't blindly attack people that have a less than positive opinion about an artist I like. hell I haven't even heard mmlp2 yet.
    Scarto
    Don't want to sound like complete idiot but UG...wtf...Why you do review of Eminem and Kate Perry instead of Kataklysm,Death Angel, Korpiklaan etc. This is rock/metal website isn't it?
    AeroRocker
    http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/reviews/c... http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/reviews/c... http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/reviews/c... I'll say it again. If you don't have an interest in an Eminem review or a Katy Perry review, don't read it. Does it really bother all of you that other genres exist on the website?
    Scarto
    Well I ment the last Kataklysm album which is "Waiting for the end to come" not this album. It does not bother me I listen to more genres then metal and rock and I actualy like this album but Katy Perry, Miley Cirus? Almost everyone downvote these reviews 'cause they are not iterested in them And sorry for my english, it's not my first language
    Year Zero
    I hate rap over all but Eminem is one talented artist, another good album from him.
    ColdHeartedHero
    Not a rap guy at all, have enjoyed his singles over the years..(Who hasnt? They're fun) Album is pretty good except for the homophobic lines scattered about it. I don't see why he he has to incorporate it into his music. Beyond that, pretty good album.
    HardRock369
    It's always been part of his act, he's not ACTUALLY homophobic per se, but he likes doing his best to offend. Obviously it's working since his use of the word 'faggot' has ruffled quite a few people's feathers once again.
    thebigredjj10
    Yeah, he is playing a character. Slim Shady is his politically incorrect and extremely volatile alter ego. The character is misogynistic, violent, homophobic, and other common negative things as a parody of awful people. The fictional Slim Shady supports child abuse, rape, assault, violence, hardcore drug abuse, suicide, murder, and pretty much everything that could be considered controversial and morally wrong. It's a character meant to be as offensive as possible. It's the same thing many Extreme Metal artists do as well. He does not actually condone or support these things though, and is obviously not promoting these behaviors. It is a character meant to break social taboos and can even be considered transgressive.
    sickassfoo
    i hate this guy, if you have to throw in fart noises and take other songs from people, you arent a musician to me and you dont deserve to be heard. plus his voice is really annoying to me
    bobduff80
    I like his older stuff and used to consider myself a huge fan. I even flew to Belfast to see him a couple of years ago. However I really don't think much of his latest offering. Shame really as he can write a great tune.
    zn-1
    I enjoyed this one better than Recovery, but even that one was a great album.
    jexic
    I love the slim shady lp, I like the next one (the red stage), and had mixed feelings about encore. I really cant get into any of the new cd's after that. would I enjoy this one?
    DantePhoenix
    Check out "Rhyme or Reason". He samples "Time of the Season" by The Zombies. Great song choice, and clever rendition. ' "What's your name?" Shady "Who's your daddy?" I don't ****in' have one. "Is he rich like me?" Doubt it. '
    lankeysob
    Not a big rap fan but quite a few catchy tracks on here. Not a bad album so thumbs up from me!
    grizzzzly_adams
    people hate on MMLP2 but like all his other albums... will be throwback classics in a few years. I think the album is solid, and I do enjoy it fully. My favorite song was actually the Skit though, mainly because Criminal is my favorite Em song and he followed up with it in a great way, I didn't see it coming.
    thebigredjj10
    This is such a fantastic album. His last two sounded overproduced and I struggled to get through a few tracks. His original albums had good beats and music behind the raps. The last two sounded too artificial and like too much generic pop that was popular at the time. This album strips that all down and returns to the original vibes. Also, I feel like he has matured as a person since his original albums and that shows in this album. It doesn't feel like a 40 year old man still trying to be relevant like a 20 year old rapper would. He feels like he has grown up but still can produce slightly insane, politically incorrect, and in your face hip hop. His technique is as good as ever, and really has some really cool moments. Some of the rhyme schemes are really impressive. Rick Rubin definitely knows how to produce hip hop albums. His hip hop (and straight forward) records I prefer over his metal ones (even though he still has put out decent to great ones in the past. And to those complaining about this being reviewed on a guitar website... go **** off. This is a music site. It's a site for guitarists to gather for MUSIC. There is more to music than guitars. We are all guitarists, but we are here to read about music. If you don't like rap that is fine, I'm not even a huge hip hop fan, but just let people enjoy an album without whining that it isn't guitar music.
    zach.blackwell3
    Great album in my opinion. It was nice to hear more of his controversial side that we haven't really heard since Relapse or earlier. Not that Recovery wasn't a great album, I just prefer the Eminem that pissed people off.