Marshall Mathers, known to most people by his stage name Eminem is one of the most well known and controversial artists of modern music. Born in Missouri in 1972, Marshall never knew his father who left the family when Marshall was just 18 months old. This, his troubled relationship with his mother and the ongoing feud between him and his ex-wife Kim along with Hailie, the daughter they share is the inspiration for a lot of his raps. After the fairly unsuccessful debut album Infinite Marshall's troubles got worse as he was fired from his low-wage job for the final time and ended up living in his mother's mobile home with his wife and young daughter. His career began to pick up after he developed his alter ego, Slim Shady "a drug-dealing, bloodthirsty thug who spits furious rhymes about murder, rape, drugs and living by the law of the urban jungle" and the release of his subsequently named EP; The Slim Shady EP. From here Eminem went on to release three more albums: The Marshall Mathers LP, the Eminem Show and Encore, as well as star in his own movie about the life of a young rapper who lives in his mother's mobile home who struggles with his 9-5 job while working towards a hip-hop career, a role that suited Mathers perfectly. He then took a hiatus after struggling with addiction until in 2008 he returned with Relapse and soon after Recovery and now in 2013 he returns for his seventh studio album The Marshall Mathers LP 2.
Before the release of his new album, Eminem showed fans a taste of what was to come by releasing four tracks from the album. The first, Survival, accompanies to newly released Call of Duty: Ghosts and has been used in many of the promotions. The second, Berserk, shows a slight departure from what most people are familiar with as Eminem chooses not to rap about his troubled past but for something a little more light-hearted. The third, a tongue-twisting track known as Rap God where he rekindles some of his former controversy seen in past albums. The fourth and final track, released just a few days before the full albums release, is another collaboration with Rihanna following the success of Love the way you lie from his last album Recovery.
The album was officially released on Tuesday, the artwork features a grainy, instagram style shot of Marshall's childhood home to accompany the title. The album opens with a slow rap, Bad Guy, where Eminem raps about some of the people who have caused him hurt throughout his life including his ex-wife and father who goes on to kidnap "Slim" in a verse reminiscent of his single Stan from the original Marshal Mathers LP.
Later on in the album he goes on to speak about how as a child he felt that he was differently wired to everybody else, that he felt like a Martian because he didn't belong in the world and that it often lead him to being bullied at school and he would often bury himself in comic books to escape. But as he grew up and released his music he found that being differently wired wasn't such as bad thing, that it is what has allowed him to make his music and become one the best rappers in the game. To this track he gives the fitting title Legacy.
This track follows seamlessly into the next, a simply titles track Asshole. Another collaboration on the album features the artist Skylar Grey. This is one of a number of times Eminem and Grey have worked together including the single C'mon let me ride from her album Don't look down as well the single I need a doctor by Dr. Dre on which Eminem features in a large part while Grey sings the chorus.
One the final tracks on the album is a slow rap featuring the lead singer of the group Fun. Nate Reuss. As mentioned before Eminem has had a troubled past with his mother, even going as far to write the song Cleaning out my closet, a rap where he speaks his mind about how his mother has treated him over the years. However it seems that he wants to put all that behind as in this track, Headlights. The track opens with Reuss speaking Marshall's words of how he let her down and although his father has left to not place the blame on him. He speaks of how he thinks that he didn't think what he was doing when he wrote those songs, that his mum probably got the worst of it. He feels he has taken the feud too far and that he doesn't hate her, he forgives her and ultimately that he does love her. The high-pitched, often over auto-tuned voice of Fun. doesn't seem like the first sound Eminem would want to sign up for his album, maybe Reuss should stick with working with Pink. But this track does work, it is departure from the hateful slur of words that raps about his mother often feature. The slow nature of this rap shows the true feeling that Eminem wanted to put into this track and the voice of Nate Reuss works towards this.
In the thirteen years since the original Marshall Mathers LP was released the sound of rap has changed and Eminem has changed along with this, each of his albums has featured a totally new sound from the one before it. Now a revisit of the same sounds could seem a little outdated, it doesn't exactly fit into the pattern of what modern hip-hop is but it does have a certain nostalgic value and this does work for now at least.