Joup Friday Album – Eminen – Marshall Mathers LP 2

Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (images courtesy of Interscope records)

Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (images courtesy of Interscope records)

I really racked my brain over what I was going to pick for the USA’s 238th birthday. Should I really go for something patriotic? Is that too cliche? Should I pick something that represents modern music today or at the very least the last year? Or should I just pick something recommended to me by a good mate that I didn’t think I’d be into but really have taken a liking to. Ok how about all 3…it’s Eminen’s Marshall Mathers LP 2. Wait, how could this album possibly represent all three of these criteria? Eminen? Come on, really? Yes and allow me to explain why.

Em’s been around…awhile. We are talking about over 15 years on the major scene. Working with a number of major rappers, singers, musicians and producers. Love him or hate him, it really matters not, because it seems that regardless he still produces multi-platinum albums. You probably know his story: North Detroit White Rapper rises from the “slums” and shocks the music world with controversial lyrics paired with damn catchy licks. That’s the Slim Shaddy: a hustler, a glory hound and a mad spitter of tongues in the English language. He’s had his peeks and valleys; and really for someone on the major stage for as long as he has been, who hasn’t? These are all topics that Eminem addresses in MM LP 2.

Let’s start with his forte: his lyrics. When Brother Brian said, “Grez, listen I understand you are not the biggest Em guy, but you have to listen to this record. There are enough quality rhymes in this album for 10 albums.” I was NEVER a big Em guy. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated his accomplishments. Hell if I accomplish half of what he did in his career as a performer, I would revel in the success. But I just never got into him. And he has HARD CORE followers…HARD CORE. He raps about them for Pete’s sake. He’s toured the world, sold multi-platinum albums and singles and even stared in a movies basically based on himself. Again, love it or hate, that’s F’in impressive. Then I listen to the album with Brian one evening out on his deck and I was blown away. No other way around it. I purposely included the You Tube playlist that includes the lyrics. Read and follow along to “Rap God,” and “Legacy” (featuring vocals by the New-York based singer Polina)…I did and it blew my mind.

From Legacy:

But if this is all there is for me, life offers
Why bother even trying to put up a fight? It’s nonsense
But I think a light bulb just lit up in my conscience
What about them rhymes I’ve been jottin’
They are kind of giving me confidence
Instead of trying to escape through my comics
Why don’t I just blast a little something, like Onyx
To put me in the mood to wanna fight and write songs that
Say what I want to say to the kid that said that I eyeballed him
Grab hold of my balls like that’s right, fight’s on bitch
Who woulda knew from the moment I turned the mic on that
I could be iconic, in my conquest
That’s word to Phife Dog from a Tribe Called Quest

From Rap God:

So Ray J went straight to the radio station
The very next day, “Hey Fab, I’ma kill you!”
Lyrics coming at you at supersonic speed (J.J. Fad)
Uh, summa-lumma, dooma-lumma, you assuming I’m a human
What I gotta do to get it through to you? I’m superhuman
Innovative and I’m made of rubber
So that anything you say is ricocheting off of me and it’ll glue to you and
I’m devastating, more than ever demonstrating
How to give a mothafuckin’ audience a feeling like it’s levitating
Never fading, and I know the haters are forever waiting
For the day that they can say I fell off, they’ll 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 that versus you

Why is it modern? I think what’s fascinating about Eminem IS his ability to fuse rap with pop and rock. And he gives his props where due. And it’s not like he shies away from his hip-hop influences as he samples from the Beastie Boys’ “The New Style” and “Fight for Your Right”, and Billy Squier’s “The Stroke” among others tunes. But I’ll tell you something, I have to imagine he took a bit of influence from Mike Skinner and his project the “The Streets.” Any fans of the UK disjointed street rapper, I encourage you to listen and find the similarities. I think that is why I took to this album in the first place. It certainly has a similar vibe.

As I have gotten older, I’ve certainly grown away from rap. Not for better or worse mind you, just happens. Tastes change, but sometimes you come across something that brings you back. Bakes turned me onto The Streets ten years ago and it was indeed up my alley and now Brother Brian has reintroduced me to Em and it’s great. Listen to the stand-up piano hook on “Brainless” and tell you can’t hear that in the club or on the big stage.

Why is this patriotic Grez? Again (and this is the third time I’ve said it) love him or hate him Em does say what’s on his mind. Is it controversial and/or racy? Definitely. But honestly in this day of waning first amendment rights, over censorship and constant public monitoring it’s refreshing.

It is timeless? Well time tells that. But Em is performing at Lollapalooza…again. So he is still relevant at the very least.

So ‘Merica…Fuck yeah.

Shawn, I do believe you are next as I had chosen Chet and Thomas for the last two. Hit me buddy.

Joe Grez

Joe Grez

Joe Grzesik (JGrez) is still an artist developer trying to keep up with new technologies. Photography still has been one of his strongest passions. However, now his main focus has led him back to music where he teaches guitar, piano, saxophone and percussion privately. Music education can never be short changed.

One Response to Joup Friday Album – Eminen – Marshall Mathers LP 2
  1. Shawn C Baker

    Shawn C Baker Reply

    Great write up Joe. I never would have saw this coming as your pick. Granted, I am totally unfamiliar with the record, but Em’s always on the musical peripheral, eh? Two years ago my friend Michael showed me a video of him on stage at the grammys or some similar pointless award show. He was performing with drake and, *ahem*, lil wayne. Watching that was a HUGE reminder just how talented this guy is. He literally spit rhymes by the pound while the other two basically stood around, swayed their hips and uttered ineptitudes like, “yeah” and “uh”.

    I was really into that first album when it came out, but the second one burned the bridge. As much as I liked some of it the song where he real time enacts killing his wife or girlfriend or whatever just struck me as in exceedingly poor taste and I’ve never gone back, though times like reading your write up or watching the performance I described above make me wonder if I should give him a second chance. I will say though, that first record, I’ve always thought that was a major influence on that first Streets’ record. Tracks such as “My Fault” and “Guilty Conscience” seem like definite DNA in Mickey’s eventual lyrical delivery on Original Pirate Material.

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