There’s a lot of work that goes into making an Eminem album. His latest, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, is chock-full of complex rhymes, knocking beats, and vivid, at times gruesome, storytelling, not to mention Em’s potty-mouthed verses.
We here at MTV News have been unpacking all the layers of MMLP2 since it dropped on Tuesday and decided to do a little number crunching — because who doesn’t love numbers?
16: There’s nothing better than free music, but in this day of deluxe and retail bonus edition albums, who can really keep track of all that material? Our MMLP2 release may be different from the Stan who bought the “Call of Duty: Ghosts” bundle version, but the number of tracks that appear on it is plenty.
4: When you’re one of the highest-selling artists of all time, what’s a guest appearance really? While a number of vocalists contributed to Em’s latest, only Skylar Grey, Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar and fun.’s Nate Ruess were credited on the album’s official track list. We did love Liz Rodrigues’ hook on “Survival” though.
17: When Eminem first broke out with The Slim Shady LP in 1999, he didn’t venture out too far for music production. In fact, Marshall, Dr. Dre, Bass Brothers and Mel-Man were the only producers credited. A year later, when he dropped The Marshall Mathers LP, he added only Mark the 45 King to the mix. But now, 13 years later, Em has expanded his musical palette with beats from producers Rick Rubin, DVLP, Alex da Kid, Emile Haynie, Jeff Bhasker and the duo Sid Roams, just to name a few.
160: Once Marshall gets to spitting raps on the album opener, “Bad Guy,” there’s little to no let-up. By our count, he spit 1,104 words on that first seven-minute track, alone, and goes on to top that by rhyming 1,451 words on the all-out lyric-fest “Rap God.” In total Slim rapped about 12,600 words over the course of his 78-minute album, putting him at 160 rhymes per minute. Not counting ad-libs or skits where he was merely speaking, that’s a whole lot of bars.
6: So how many minutes did it take for Eminem to write “Rap God”? “As long as it took to rap it — I freestyled it,” Slim Shady bragged to MTV News’ Sway about the super-lyrical track. “That was off the top of the dome by the way.”
Of course, Marshall was just joking. He actually didn’t know exactly how long it took it pen the song.
98: Em made it clear on his major-label debut that he really doesn’t give a f—, and that may be true … literally. If Em rapped about 12,600 words on the album, the number of times he dropped the F-bomb surprisingly amounts to less than 1 percent.
10: There has been considerable outrage over Eminem’s use of sexually offensive and homophobic lyrics. “I’ll still be able to break a motherf—in’ table/ Over the back of a couple of f—-ts and crack it in half,” he spits on “Rap God.”
Even one instance can be jarring, but over the course of the album, Em makes 10 questionable language choices. “Since I came in this game, my mentality still, to this day, is very much like it was at [Detroit’s] Hip-Hop Shop, where I rap to get a reaction,” Eminem told MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway when asked about the uproar over his wordplay.
12: Marshall has dedicated numerous not-so-nice songs to his mom. Even with their rocky relationship, there’s no denying the impact that Ma-Dukes has had on Em’s career. He shouts out mom Debbie Mathers a dozen times on the new album, with the most endearing references coming on “Headlights,” with Nate Ruess from fun.
3: Eminem has a special connection to his native Detroit, so it should come as no surprise that the majority of MMLP2 was recorded in Effigy Studios, a recording home that sits on the outskirts of the D, and which Em purchased in 2007. The Shady team kept the number of studios in which they recorded in to a minimum. Outside of Effigy, they logged time in Westlake Studios in Los Angeles to record “A–hole” and of course Rick Rubin’s Shangri La Studios was used for the four songs that he produced.
20: The worlds that Eminem paints on his albums are quite dangerous. Over the course of 16 MMLP2 tracks, the body count hits an average of 1.25 murders per song. The album opens with Slim dying at the hands of Matthew Mitchell, the brother of his famed fictional character Stan, and the kill spree continues on tracks like “So Much Better” and “Stronger Than I Was.”
100: The projections are in and The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is expected to move upwards of 700,000 copies in its first week of release, making the odds that Eminem lands at #1 a very safe bet. Celine Dion’s Loved Me Back to Life is looking to come in at a very distant second on the Billboard 200 this week.