By Juliana Bledsoe
Eminem is truly one of those artists that have been with us throughout our years of juvenile angst. Many others have fizzled out, but Eminem has stayed with us, continuing to put out album after politically incorrect album since the days when we used to religiously watch MTV.
Marshall Mathers, better known by his stage name, Eminem, or even his alter ego, Slim Shady, has been making our parents change the radio station since the late ‘90s.
In the latest installation to his extensive discography, the self-proclaimed “Rap God” built extensively on the hype that followed his first global chart-topping album, “The Marshal Mathers LP”, with “The Marshal Mathers LP 2,” released on Nov. 5.
This all comes no less than 13 years after the 2000 release of MMLP, which sold over 1.7 million copies worldwide, and brought us classics that we can never forget, such as “The Real Slim Shady,” and “Stan,” the latter of which was named #290 in Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.
Unfortunately, I don’t think that this album lived up to the promise that it held by bearing this name, but Eminem is still so pervasive that it is experiencing success nonetheless.
Eminem isn’t quite as famous these days, but the “MMLP2” has already topped the chart in Australia and the U.S., and every one of his four other albums since 2000 has topped nearly every music chart across the globe.
Eminem seems to be taking advantage of the slight anonymity he has now that he is not the same caliber of celebrity that he once was. In the song “Rap God,” from the “MMLP2,” Eminem references how he can get away with more obscene jokes now that he’s not as famous anymore. Get away with it he does, yet again.
He has continued to deliver seething verses, thick with his quintessential form of crude, violent humor in the years and albums since “MMLP.”
As per the usual, if you were already offended by the most recent single from any one of his albums that wound up on the radio, I wouldn’t recommend that you go on to listen to the rest of said album. Typically, there are a few cleaner, more crowd-pleasing tracks that make it onto public airwaves, albeit with a little censorship. The rest of his albums, however, are pretty packed with references to drugs, violence, rape, murder and hardcore sex, and that’s only the beginning.
In this case, we have the songs “Berzerk,” “Monster” featuring Rihanna, “Asshole” featuring Skylar Gray and “Love Game” featuring Kendrick Lamar gracing our local rap and hip-hop stations. Though these songs still showcase classic Eminem slander and antagonism, they are nowhere near the likes of “Evil Twin,” which shows off the darker sides of Eminem.
I am taken aback every time I listen to the newest of Eminem’s albums, but then after a few listens, I remember that it is artists like this that separate the people that get dark political sarcasm from the people that don’t. In the end, it’s all satire.
Eminem draws on all of the dark and ridiculous things that are already out there, and uses them to make social and political commentary. He insults celebrities, politicians, current events, and especially himself.
Eminem puts a lot of his real life into his music, and the man has been through some shit. He has had a rocky relationship his whole life, to say the least, and he has definitely struggled with substance abuse. We get a little less of Eminem’s personal life in this album, though; he has been quoted saying that he has learned to keep some personal things to himself.
Nonetheless, I think he still offers us some of the most striking and raw commentary on our own society that is coming out of popular music lately. I’m not saying it’s easy to hear. In fact, I can’t listen to Eminem for too long without starting to feel like I’m going to have nightmares.
It’s not the best album he’s ever made. It didn’t capture me the same way the “MMLP2” or “Relapse” did. There is a song featuring vocals from Nate Ruess from fun., which seems to be a sound in stark contrast with the themes that Eminem has come to represent.
Nonetheless, if you are or have ever been into Eminem, the album is worth a listen, even if only for posterity’s sake. I give the guy props for still getting so riled up, even as the years keep creeping up on him.
After all, he is still the best selling rapper of all time, by a solid margin. You would be missing out on a huge aspect of pop culture if you didn’t hear what Eminem has just dropped on the global music scene.
Juliana Bledsoe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.