Friday, August 08, 2014

Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP2 (2013)

This album is... complicated.

On the one hand, you want to hate Eminem.  He's a mysoginistic hate-mongerer.  No, he's still a sympathetic little kid kid who got bullied.  He wants to kill his mother.  No, he loves her and sings her a sweet ballad.  (There's no doubt he hates Dad, though.)  He's full of himself, a self-aggrandizing, self-promoting immature thin-skinned brat.  No, he's just telling the truth, with some of the most raw and honest lyrics you'll ever hear.  He's nuts.  No, he's brilliant and trolling all of us.  He's over the hill.  No, he's just hitting his stride.  Wait, did he just rap as Yoda?  You know what, he IS brilliant.  No, he really IS nuts.

It's... complicated.
Eminem - "Bezerk"
Cameos by Rick Rubin, Kid Rock, and Kendrick Lamar
Samples of The Beastie Boys and Billy Squier (including video from "The Stroke")

What can't be debated:  the guy has unreal talent and has produced an old-school rap album with actual samples.*  (Just check out "Bezerk.")  He samples The Zombies "Time of the Season," Joe Walsh's "Life's Been Good," and even "Ode to Billy Joe," among others.  His rhetoric is definitely not PC.  Hell, he leaves PC at the door in the first song, a fantasy breaking-and-entering leading to a revenge murder.  Or maybe it's a suicide.  In any case... it's not for the faint of heart.

Musically and lyrically, I can't imagine any album being more musically intricate and emotionally disturbing at the same time.  You can't deny his talent, but it undoubtedly will not be for everyone.  His lyrical ability to paint a sharply focused picture is unparalleled; his combination of ignorance, brilliance, mental instability, perfect clarity, brick-headed self-centered stupidity, and introspective objective empathy simply weaves too well together to be anything but intentional.

It's... complicated.

CD Placement rating:  Car CD Changer.  But I hate myself a bit for that.

- Snilch

* The reason most artists don't sample now (like artists in the 80s and 90s did) is because copyright and royalty agreements are now strictly enforced.  Credit to original artists, giving royalties to the original artists (see "Queen vs. 'Ice, Vanilla'"), and even permission to use tracks (which artists can charge an additional one-time fee for) were not enforced strictly until the early 90s.  Before then:  everyone sampled whatever they wanted, and old school hip-hop flourished.  After that:  sampling became a dead art, as it was too expensive to pursue, and thus old school hip-hop quietly became a lost cause as well.  For this album to contain the amount of sampling it does, Eminem had to be all-in financially to make it happen.  Kudos to him.

No comments: