Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP 2

With The Marshall Mathers LP 2 Eminem revisits his 2000’s classic that was filled with controversial lyrics ranging from homophobic to misogynistic to straight antagonistic. So now, 13 years later, what has changed?

For once, his attitude toward his mama is more positive. In “Headlights” he even apologizes, “But I’m sorry mama for ‘Cleaning Out My Closet,’ at the time I was angry… That song I no longer play at shows and I cringe every time it’s on the radio.” While he’s still being criticized for his use of “faggots,” he’s not using it in a derogative way toward homosexuals. In “Rap God,” he’s placing the word in the context of a rap contest. In hip-hop battle, which Em was a master at it, your mission is to belittle your opponent.

In retrospect, Em’s narrative hasn’t changed much, particularly in the misogyny territory. In “So Much Better,” he plays off Jay Z’s: “I got 99 problems and the bitch ain’t one / She’s all 99 of ’em I need a machine gun.” In fact, in the past 13 years, he has struggled again and again with fresh contents. From 2004’s Encore to 2009’s Relapse to 2010’s Recovery, he hardly moved beyond his usual targets.

Going into The Marshall Mathers LP 2, I was not expecting Em to change his narrative, even though I hope he would. What makes him still one of the best MCs in the game, however, is his jaw-dropping delivery. He always pushes his craft to the next level. In “God Rap,” he spits rhymes like Usain Bolt for six damn minutes packing in so many syllables per second without slipping a word or missing a beat. Based on his rhyme skills, he earns the title of the “God Rap.”