When Eminem introduced to the world a revived Detroit in a 2011 Super Bowl ad, the revival of the Motor City was meant to mirror the revival of his career. Similarly, today Detroit has gone bankrupt, and Eminem’s “The Marshal Mathers LP 2” is bankrupt of direction.
The most disappointing thing about MMLP2 was that it didn’t have to be this way.
I’m in the minority who says 2010’s “Recovery” was a good album. The pensive Eminem fit in in the post-“808s and Heartbreak” landscape, where it was acceptable for a rapper to tell you how he was feeling. So when Em brought back the peroxide bottle and decided to follow-up his magnum opus, 2000’s “The Marshal Mathers LP,” the self-proclaimed Rap God set himself impossible standards to meet. He misses them, spending the album’s 70 minutes meandering through violence and fart jokes.
“So Much Better” literally copies “Kill You,” a song that came out 13 years ago.
“So Far” rips full verses from “The Real Slim Shady.”
Like Detroit, MMLP2 could use an emergency manager. Even though Dr. Dre is credited as an executive producer and used the album to sell more headphones, Dre’s influence as the only person on the planet able to focus Em’s volatile energy is absent. Left alone, Eminem is a 41-year-old father of a high school senior, rapping about killing Justin Bieber.
Em does have an ear for a good beat. That trait hasn’t left him on the Rihanna-assisted “The Monster.”
Just as his sense of a pop hit hasn’t left him, Eminem’s .50 caliber tongue still rips through your head now as it did 10 years ago when you first heard “The Way I Am.” The pop song and street certified “Love Game” is a reminder that the proud rapper, like his home city, still has some juice left in him.