There is something to be said in favour of non-lateral beats, booming voices and FTW-themed lyrics. Three years after his critically-acclaimed album Recovery (2010), the self-proclaimed “god of rap” is back with the sequel to his 2000 album, The Marshall Mathers LP. Strong lyrics — rap — has always been one of Eminem’s strong points. While in the first version of this album, he was haunted by the demons and was trying to battle them, here, he seems much more at ease, using them as inspiration for his songs, which touch a number of themes — from jealousy, vengeance, resentment and bragging, to heartbreak.
The album begins with the track Bad guy, where Eminem “digs up old hurt” and returns as “Stan’s” vengeful (and equally twisted) brother Matthew Mitchell. We have heard Eminem talk about his relationship with his mother in his earlier numbers, but in the next single Rhyme or reason, he talks about his father.
While the next number, So much better, is a sort of sequel to Kim, where he talks about his wife cheating on him, in the track Survival, he tackles the struggles he has to go through because of competition around him. Asshole is a hardcore Eminem original, where he claims that the only women he loves are his daughters. Berzerk is a good ol’ fashioned number that gets a tad too old-fashioned after a while, with the whole vinyl scratching and out-dated pop references.
Rap god is one of our favourite tracks in the album and features no chorus; just deep, resonating beats and Eminem’s raw, booming rap. Brainless is a great listen for teenagers suffering from bullying and such-like, but is also the track where Eminem treads politically incorrect paths with his homosexual slurs: Inappropriate so be it, I don’t see it.
Stronger than I was is yet another strong number, where Eminem rap-sings about his childhood heartbreak, while The monster, featuring Rihanna, is the artiste’s fourth collaboration with her. Inadvertently, we were looking for the same chemistry from Love the way you lie, and were not disappointed.
While many have said that Eminem has “evolved, yet not grown up with this album”, we feel that some things are better left untouched. While rap and hip hop might be considered a juvenile genre by many, Marshall Mathers has kept the rich undercurrent of socially-relevant problems intact. Perfect for a late-night drive through empty streets, when all you want to do is yell FTW from the rooftop.