Following the much publicised leak last week, yesterday saw the official release of Eminem‘s ‘Marshall Mathers 2′ LP. In the latest of a series of album review features, we break down the sample DNA and production of the much talked about long player:
1. Bad Guy (samples Walter Murphy’s ‘Hocus Pocus’, Mountain’s ‘Long Red’, Gian Piero Reverberi ‘Soana’, Lou Donaldson’s ‘Ode to Billie Joe’ and interpolates Eminem’s ‘Criminal’)
Produced by S-1 and M-Phazes, Eminem opens the record with a revenge fueled follow-up to his classic ‘Stan‘. A tale of two parts, the first comprising a repetitive synth loop peppered with snippets of the Long Red shout, the latter twisting into darkness with the strings of Gian Reverberi‘s ‘Soana’ underpinned by the classic ‘Ode To Billie Joe‘ drum break, providing the eerie backdrop against which Stan’s younger brother haunts Shady.
2. Parking Lot – Skit (no credited samples)
3. Rhyme or Reason (samples The Zombies ‘Time of the Season’ and interpolates Eminem ‘Criminal’)
One of the highlights of the LP, Rick Rubin loops up The Zombies classic ‘Time of the Season‘ while Em reinvents the chorus line. The synergy between old and new here works well with rhymes and call and response reminiscent of the more humorous D12 crossover era Shady.
4. So Much Better (interpolates Ice-T’s ’99 Problems’)
Again, more in line with the ‘Eminem Show’ era, Em reuses the “99 problems, but a bitch ain’t one” line in another rap littered with dark, tongue-in-cheek humour.
5. Survival (no credited samples)
In what sounds like a channeling of the anthems of Rubin’s heyday, Eminem’s deivers stadium-infused rap-rock here with gigantic drums, chants and an anthemic chorus line.
6. Legacy (no credited samples)
The first proper downbeat cut from the album and Em gets introspective over a rolling drum beat and a bed of rain in an incredibly self-aware rap interspersed with a ballad-esque hook.
7. Asshole (samples Eminem’s ‘My Name Is’)
Military snare rolls and pounding drums form the backbone of the cut while Em lets loose with complex double time delivery leading to his now more familiar abrasive raps. Skylar Grey provides the oddly poppy hook.
8. Berzerk (samples Billy Squier’s ‘The Stroke’, Beastie Boys ‘(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!), Eminem’s ‘Without Me’, and Naughty by Nature’s ‘Feel Me Flow’)
With overwhelming stylistic references to rock infused Hip-Hop that is classic Rick Rubin, the lyrics are peppered with references to the greats of the late 80s from MC Ren to Public Enemy. Laced throughout with Beastie Boys references, Billy Squier‘s ‘The Stroke’ get’s a perfect flip.
9. Rap God (interpolates Doug E. Fresh’s ‘The Show’, Hotstylz ‘Lookin’ Boy’, Eminem’s ‘I’m Back’, and J.J. Fad’s ‘Supersonic (Remix)‘
Em opens up with a replayed line from Doug E. Fresh‘s ‘The Show’ (also used in the original Marshall Mathers LP). Showcasing his lyrical talent over one of the album’s least memorable beats, Em casually drifts through references to Hotstylz ‘Lookin’ Boy’ ramping up the speed for J.J. Fad‘s Supersonic.
10. Brainless (samples ‘Stacked Cards (Conclusion)’ by Unknown Artist and Young Holt Unlimited’s ‘Wah Wah Man‘)
Opening with an extract from a news report and a record that accompanies a Batman comic (Stacked Cards), Eminem manages to semi-seriously set the scene for one of the album’s more traditional ‘boom bap’ interludes,underpinned by Young Holt‘s classic ‘Wah Wah Man’ drums.
11. Stronger Than I Was (no credited samples)
A slower moment for the record, and Marshall takes a break from rapping to provide lead vocals in a similar vein to his previous Eminem Show album cut ‘Hailie’s Song‘.
12. The Monster (no credited samples)
Collaborating with Rihanna again for what is hard not to dismiss as a color by numbers track aimed squarely at radio play, the result sits a little awkwardly alongside the rest of this long player.
13. So Far… (samples Beside’s ‘Change the Beat (Female Version)’, Schoolly D’s ‘P.S.K. – What Does It Mean?’, Eminem’s ‘The Real Slim Shady’ & ‘I’m Back’, and interpolates Joe Walsh’s ‘Life’s Been Good’)
One of the most eclectic cuts from the album, this one jumps around between country/rock and classic Hip-Hop samples at will but works surprisingly well.
14. Love Game (samples Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders ‘Game of Love’, and interpolates A Tribe Called Quest ‘Scenario’, and Jimmie Grier and His Orchestra’s ‘The Object of My Affection’)
A well executed sample of Wayne Fontana’s surf classic ‘Game of Love’ with Kendrick gliding in seamlessly to provide an uncharacteristically poppy hook and a well placed guest verse.
15. Headlights (no credited samples)
Featuring melodic vocals from Nate Ruess everything slows down a little and Marshall reflects on his relationship with his mother.
16. Evil Twin (samples Wolfgang Duren’s ‘Eyeless Dream I’ and Bad Meets Evil’s ‘The Reunion’)
An eerie synth arpeggio sample from Wolfgang Duren floats around the beat while Shady indulges in another angsty rap. The chorus borrows a short scratched snippet from Eminem’s own ‘Bad Meets Evil‘ project.