Rap innovator and icon Eminem dropped his much anticipated album "The Marshall Mathers LP 2" last Tuesday. Although the rapper has entered his 40s, he's still just as angry and controversial as he was at his height in the late 90s and early 2000s.
Undoubtedly, he has matured as an artist, but his newest album does not reflect any of that maturity or wise attitude that often comes with age. The album meanders at times and, while some tracks are foot tappers, many of the others fall short. Eminem seems to be trapped and completely enveloped in his former success and has not succeeded in breaking his own mold. By making this album something that will do well financially, he has succeeded But, as a growing artist, he has failed in experimenting with his own perfected formula to create something more worthy.
Lyrically, Eminem is just as smooth and precise as ever before; his sharp rhymes and subtle humor remain deadly throughout many of the tracks. The lyrics of many of the songs are unsurprising themes that Eminem has covered throughout his entire career, including broken relationships, issues with his father and just a general societal hatred.
Something Eminem has done well throughout his career is texturizing his songs to the modern happenings in the world, whether that be through satire or wicked humor and lyrical genius. However, while this album has those bright spots, many of his controversial lines spew out in a downright offensive and senseless manner.
Eminem teams up with other big names that he has collaborated with in the past, including Rihanna, Skylar Grey, Nate Ruess and newcomer Kendrick Lamar. These features add some diversity in the songs, but the quality is still yet to be seen. The contributions by the other artists add a dash of pop clearly geared to a larger mainstream audience that Eminem has unfortunately aimed to please.
The songs on the album that feature other artists include "The Monster," "Love Game," "Asshole" and "Headlights." Perhaps the best song on the album is "Stronger Than I Was." It is passionate and truthful, a welcomed shift from the other tracks.
The singles on the album include "Rap God," "Berzerk" and "Survival." The aforementioned three tunes are catchy and would fit seamlessly in a workout mix but may have been more effective earlier in his career when the industry was still evolving and not as formulaic. The battle between beloved bad-boy Slim Shady and matured Eminem is confusing and clashes disastrously.
"The Marshall Mathers LP 2" is a welcome addition to Eminem's illustrious career as a rapper and musical icon but fails to be innovative in its approach. In a time where rap music is incredibly popular, it is increasingly difficult to stand out, and while Slim Shady played a key role in what rap is today, he has not evolved enough artistically to keep up with the times.
The album is filled with thunderous fury, but it really does not amount to much in the end. Within this album is the final resting place of Eminem's alter-ego, Slim Shady, which he so wrongly tried to resurrect.