The Marshall Mathers LP 2
When Eminem used his government name to title his second album in 2000, it was fitting; he was one of the most controversial and talked-about celebrities on the planet. As he releases its sequel, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, 13 years later, he doesn’t generate the same level of debate that he used to, although he’s still capable of debuting at the top of the ARIA and Billboard charts.
MMLP2 sticks largely to the original’s formula, focussing on Eminem’s struggles with fame and notoriety – although even the standout moments like Asshole and The Monster aren’t nearly as compelling as the The Way I Am was in 2000. The album starts on a weak note with Bad Guy, a sequel of sorts to Stan, which is as convoluted as Stan was affecting. However, Eminem quickly recovers with the anthemic Survival and rhyming masterclass Rap God.
Eminem’s lyrics don’t shock as much these days, in the wake of acts that he inspired like Odd Future, although he still comes across as unpleasantly misogynistic on So Much Better and the entertaining-despite-itself Kendrick Lamar collaboration, Love Game. However, there is a moment of hope on the second-to-last song, Headlights – a heartfelt apology to his still-estranged mother.