It's easy to hate Eminem now. And it's popular at this moment. This album smelled of failure the moment it was announced as MMLP2, let alone his previous three albums being garbage. Here's the problem with this write up... he didn't actually fail.
MMLP2 is littered with the self awareness and lyrical skill that was featured on the original MMLP. Of course, MMLP is his legacy. It might not be his best album, but it's definitely the one people down the line will remember him for. So maybe naming it MMLP2 wasn't quite right. As Em said himself, it's a re-visitation, not a sequel.
Anyway, back to what I was saying before. There's a couple of themes here that's important. First off, karma. This album is filled with references to karma biting him in the ass for all the shit he's said since he came on to the scene. Funny enough, he follows up that self awareness with contradictions, which makes it all that more fascinating. Back when MMLP was released, he said homophobic and sexist things as a social commentary to prove that critics, women, and gay people were only attacking him because he was white. And he was right in a way. Because there were plenty of african american rappers that were saying the same things, but nobody paid attention. Here, he's almost committed to digging himself further into potential consequences. Karma will bite him in the ass, but he'll face it when it comes for him. The opener, Bad Guy might as well be a love letter to this way of thinking. And I might not want to live like that, but it makes for great music.
One of the other themes, is him not being able to grow up. He mentions it plenty of times, that he's probably a immature hypocrite for trying to do the same things he's been doing since 99. But he basically says "fuck it", because I don't think he cares what I or you think. He's willing to take his hypocrisy to levels beyond of what we've seen from other musical artists, because he accepts his immaturity.
As for you nitpicking lines to prove your general points... Yea, he dropped some duds, but he dropped a hell of a lot more great lines than anything. And most of them are both witty and self aware at the same time.
"I'm frustrated cause there ain't no more N'Sync, now I'm all out of wack
I'm all out of Backstreet Boys to call out and attack"
Evil Twin is great because it defies expectations on that level. He uses the pop artists that he attacks as a way to attack himself.
The entire song Brainless is filled with gems. This one in particular:
"It's okay to be scared straight, they said I provoke queers
Til emotions evoke tears, my whole career's a stroke of sheer genius
Smoke and mirrors, tactical, practical jokes, yeah
You motherfuckin' insert insult here"
The beginning of Rhyme or Reason was fantastic:
"(What's your name?) Marshall
(Who's your daddy?) I don't have one
My mother reproduced like a komodo dragon
And had me on the back of a motorcycle
Then crashed in the side of loco-motive with rap, I'm loco
It's like handing a psycho a loaded handgun"
"If he had, he wouldn’t have ended up in these rhymes on my pad
I wouldn’t be so mad, my attitude wouldn’t be so bad, yeah, dad
I'm the epitome and the prime example of what happens
When the power of the rhyme falls into the wrong hands, and
Makes you want to get up and start dancing
Even if it is Charles Manson who just happens to be rapping"
More of him being self aware of his immaturity:
"But I still am a CRIMINAL
Ten year old degenerate grabbing on my GENITALS
The last Mathers LP went diamond
This time I'm predicting this one will go EMERALD"
Shit, that reminds me of how great Rhyme or Reason is.
Then there's So Far where he spends a lot of the time making fun of himself for being illiterate when it comes to modern technology. Which is hilarious since I once read an interview about him still playing old arcade games and never going on the internet because he'd drive himself insane reading his own reviews... your review would probably drive him there by the way. Plus, I have a few relatives that are illiterate when it comes to modern technology, so I get a kick out of it.
Anyway, as far as I'm concerned, MMLP2 is his best album since TES. It's definitely a good album. Considering I hated Recovery, Relapse, and Encore(and unlike most people, I've never been the one to like an album because of hype and then not like it later, I hated those three from the start) that says something. Recovery in particular has aged so terribly.
And I would just like to say, that the alcohol line from Rap God is a stab at his own sobriety. That is NOT a bad line in any way. But hell, you wanna give this album a 35%, go right ahead. It's more like a 70% to me. Mostly because the production, despite it flowing well, can be hit or miss. And yes, he did drop some dud lines for sure.
That all being said, I can't wait for Pitchfork to tear this album apart. They always make me laugh with their reviews, which are mostly full of exaggerations.
So NONE of those publications' reviews should be taken seriously, but yours should be?
Well, Ryan's review should absolutely be considered. He's a great reviewer. As for the other publications, there's two or three of them that give the album good reviews for such stupid reasons. And some actually were actually written as if they gave the album a passing listen.
Nas - Illmatic
Jay Z - the Blueprint/The Black Album
Kanye West - the College Dropout/Late Registration/My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid mAAd City
Danny Brown - XXX
Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Blackstar - Blackstar
the Roots - Things Fall Apart
A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders/the Low End Theory
Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels
there's a ton more but those are some of my favorites
Atmosphere - When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold
Aside from Illmatic, Lemons might be the only other perfect hip hop album ever created.
I dunno bout this part. There's tons of people who clearly have a deep attachment to him and panning his work always gets people really riled up.
Guess it depends really. I've seen people call Deja Vu(probably the best song Em's ever written to be honest) a terrible song because it's on Relapse. There's been plenty of ridiculous statements like that I've seen everywhere. So yea, I'd say it's pretty cool to hate Em, regardless of his output.
The beginning of this is definitely true. He talks about this kind of karmic retribution. But he doesn't recognize that karma comes to people for doing bad things. His response is to continue to be the bad person being visited by the cycle of karma. The latter portion is somewhat true; he was definitely attacked because he was white - but only because a black person would never have the commercial success that he did if they were saying the same lyrics.
It's at this point where we get to the interpretation part of music. Him talking about karmic retribution probably implies that he recognizes it'll come to him for all the shit he's said in his music.
Secondly, there were plenty of popular black rappers that said similar, if not the same, slurs. Obviously, Eminem is bigger than every other rapper, but that doesn't mean african american rappers never get the spotlight. And they were never attacked for the shit that they've said.
I dunno bout this. Accepting that you're immature at 41 doesn't seem like a valid defense of that immaturity. Being a self aware child doesn't make you any less irritating and narcissistic; if anything it just heightens those problems because being aware should allow you to fix them.
Of course it's not a valid defense. Eminem matures in quite a few areas but regresses in others. And maybe it's just me, but the reason I even got into Eminem was because of his self awareness so I put A LOT of stock into that. Especially since his past few albums haven't had self awareness at the level MMLP2 has.
The point was to just show that rapping fast and a lot doesn't mean shit if it's about garbage. There are definitely some clever lines in terms of wordlplay here but they usually come either too fast to even understand or they're not funny.
I agree with this way of thinking. But I don't apply to it MMLP2 because I clearly have a different opinion on whether the lyrics are garbage or not.