It was impossible to keep an album as anticipated as Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP 2 under wraps. So while fanatics were counting down the days to Slim Shady's November 5 release date, tech savvy fans were treated to an early (and technically illegal) listening session after the album leaked onto the Internet on Wednesday.
For fans looking for a preview, they should know that over the course of 16 tracks, the rap megastar broaches a number of familiar topics like heartbreak ("Stronger Than I Was" and "So Much Better"), the perils of fame ("The Monster"), being bullied ("Legacy" and "Brainless"), his mom ("Headlights") and rap supremacy ("Rap God"). Still, for all of MMLP2's nostalgia and familiarity, Em continues to surprise with shocking, heartfelt and highly skilled rap moments.
Debbie Mathers has been a sore subject for Eminem. Marshall has often skewered his mom lyrically, but on "Headlights," Slim goes for shock and awe, offering the sincerest of apologies to Mama Mathers. "Ma, you're still beautiful to me because you're my mom," he raps before finally saying, "I love you, Debbie Mathers."
Bring Zombies To Life
The Zombies' catalog doesn't typically make you think rap, but Em dusted off the English rock band's 1968 classic "Time of the Season" and turned it into one of MMLP2's standout tracks. Not only does Marshall do a Yoda impression and drop a ton of "Star Wars" references, he boldly predicts that he'll sell of a ton of copies of this album and go past diamond certification to "emerald."
Marshall Still Hasn't Locked Love Down
You think with all of his worldly travels and riches, Em could attract a woman who would dedicate her life to all things Shady. On his seventh solo major label album, though, he still hasn't found the one. On "So Much Better," he catches the love of his life cheating on him with Dr. Dre, Drake and Lupe Fiasco. Ouch!
Eminem Spares Gaga And Bieber
After emerging from rap's underground battle circuit, Em set his sights on pop's biggest stars early in his career. But it seems he's over it on "Evil Twin" when he spits: "I'm frustrated 'cause ain't no more 'NSYNC/ Now I'm all out of whack/ I'm all out of Backstreet Boys to call out and attack."
While throwing shots at Justin and J.C. would be pointless in 2013, Slim ponders going at Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, but quickly shoots down the notion. "So who's left? Lady Gaga, mess with the Bieber?/ Nah, F a Christina, I ain't f---in' with neither, Jessica either."
Shady Almost Started A Rap War
MMLP2's closer finds Em at his finest, as he declares his rap supremacy, only giving ground to deceased legends the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. The track's sinister backing track builds and for a moment it sounds as if Slim is going to start an all-out rap war aimed at "all these fake Kanyes, Jays and the Drakes."
At the end, though, Em doesn't target anyone specific ... but for a second the angsty track felt like a potential game-changer.