When this album first came out, I did a more in-depth review of it, which you can read here. What’s changed since then is I’ve been able to hear all the bonus tracks, and I’ve had more time for the album to grow on me. I find that the bonus tracks are all good and they offset the album cuts I wasn’t feeling, making this a better project overall (although Em did bite that Superman “supervision/super vision” wordplay off Esoteric). I’ve also come to like some of the songs I wasn’t feeling before, like “So Far…” and “Love Game”, while others like “Headlights” and “Berzerk” have lost their replay value for me.
The one major flaw with this album is the heavy pop influence. Even though he’s no longer into bashing pop singers in his lyrics for fun anymore, it sounds like he’s forcing himself to work with all these pop artists, thinking it’ll be seen as redemption, but it really just tarnishes the title of a classic masterpiece. The original MMLP featured only two pop singers, one being the famous Dido sample on “Stan” and the other an un-credited background vocalist on “Drug Ballad”. MMLP2 features six (seven if you count the bonus tracks) pop singers, and I think all but two of these songs sound like they’re molded to incorporate their styles rather than having Eminem stick to his own sound and have them add to the project. Where before Eminem would feature a singer if it helped the project, here he’s changing his own style to make the pop singers the forefront of the music.
Even though I think Eminem could’ve made this album fit the title better by cutting most of the pop singers, or at least use them more effectively, I still think it’s a good album overall. It’s interesting to hear Eminem reflecting back on things he said on the original Marshall Mathers LP, and it’s good to see him rapping for sport again. He shows through his own performance that he’s still talented enough not to need to conform to the current pop trends, although he does it anyway. If he consistently stuck to his own sound rather than trying to sound like a guest feature on his own album, he would be golden again. For me, the highlights of the album are still “Bad Guy” (which most people know by now is the sequel to “Stan”), the alternate ending to “Criminal”, the explanation of Eminem’s existence in rap on “Legacy”, the rap battle against himself on “Evil Twin”, and of course the showcase of rhymes and flows on “Rap God” (the Black Moon tribute in the bonus tracks was a nice touch too).
My Grade (based on how well I connected with it, no disrespect if your experience was different): B+
Come back to my blog tomorrow to see which album or mixtape came in at #14 on the countdown!