The great ones accept great expectations. They know their only competition is truly themselves. Their past accomplishments. Many were surprised when Em announced his seventh major label album would be named after his 2000 breakthrough, Marshall Mathers LP. How could the Detroit MC possibly top that ten million selling blockbuster in 2013? Well even though Slim Shady is 41, he still don’t give a fuck.
Although the opener, “Bad Guy” serves as a sequel to “Stan” with the younger brother Matthew seeking revenge, most of MM2 finds Em revisiting his past with a fresh perspective on things. He reminisces on his cultural impact on the stunning “Asshole” and he reconnects with Rihanna to claim that he can control fame on “Monster”. But what’s more interesting here tho are the songs that rely on classic rock sound backdrops.
“Berzerk” rocks a Billy Squier big beat called “The Stroke”. “Rhyme Or Reason” takes The Zombies’ “Time of The Season” to greater heights. But the best of this bunch is “So Far” which is anchored by Joe Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good” on which Em pledges his allegiance to his hometown Detroit and combines his sharp bars with his quirky sense of humor: “Got friends on Facebook, all over the world/Not sure what that means, they tell me it’s good/So I’m artist of the decade, I even got a plaque/I’d hang it up, but the frame is all cracked.”
Brutally honest, Em truly opens up on the album’s most moving selection, “Headlights” where he buries the hatchet with his estranged mother. He declares: “I’m mad I didn’t get the chance to/Thank you for being my mom and my dad/So, Mom, please accept this as a tribute/I wrote this on the jet/I guess I had to get this off my chest.”
Sure to please hip-hop purists is hearing the former underground king turned King MC proclaim his place in the game as a “Rap God” and on the album’s closer he rearranges your GOAT list: “Fuck top five, bitch, I’m top four/And that includes Biggie and Pace, whore, and I got an Evil Twin/So who the fuck do you think that third and fourth spot’s for.”
Rap’s greatest technical rapper has spoken.—YN