UPDATE (11/1): You can now stream the full Marshall Mathers LP 2 on iTunes. Click here to listen.
With only two weeks to go until the release of Eminem's Marshall Mathers LP 2, the Detroit rapper has made moves both traditional and unique in promoting and teasing his eighth LP. For his first effort since 2010's underwhelming Recovery, Em is prepping a sequel to his 2000 album The Marshall Mathers LP. While we impatiently await for the album to drop November 5 (and see the results of Em's Top 40 battle against Kanye West for No. 1 video), here's your complete guide to the album.
Eminem first announced the album in May 2012 and dropped hints about working on it for the rest of the year. In February of this year, Em's longtime manager Paul Rosenberg told Billboard that the album would be released "after Memorial Day." MTV, XXL and Complex all named the album to their Most Anticipated Albums of 2013 list.
The rapper made a few, er, interesting moves to promote the upcoming release. In August, he joined Instagram just to flip you off. One month later, he was the featured guest during the Michigan-Notre Dame halftime show and appeared uncomfortable and awkward with hosts Kirk Herbstreit and Brent Musberger (or it was just master trolling...?).
Judging from the three songs already released—"Berzerk," "Survival" and "Rap God"—Eminem is going back to his aggressive roots, forsaking ornate production in favor of Rick Rubin-produced hard drums and electric guitars. Rather than telling descriptive stories (both fantastical and autobiographical), Em packs his verses with rapid-fire flows, stuffing each song with lyrics that need to be listened to multiple times for full comprehension.
The album features guest spots by Rihanna, Skylar Gray, Kendrick Lamar and, most surprisingly, fun. singer Nate Ruess. Grey and Rihanna are of course no strangers to Em, as the former wrote "Love the Way You Lie" (featuring Rihanna), with RiRi also appearing on the song's sequel and "Numb." Grey also appeared in Dr. Dre's 2011 hit "I Need a Doctor" with Eminem. Lamar's never worked with Em before, but has always been a Dr. Dre phone call away from a collaboration.
Some critics have lambasted the rapper for what they perceive as homophobic lyrics in "Rap God." On the track, Em rhymes, "Little gay-looking boy / So gay I can barely say it with a straight face-looking boy" and "I attempt these lyrical acrobat stunts while I'm practicing that / I'll still be able to break a motherf-ckin' table / Over the back of a couple of f-ggots and crack it in half." The track has been called "ugly and repressive" (The Week) and "pejorative" (Huffington Post). "I do appreciate the verse for achieving incoherence in its apparent bigotry," writes Gawker's Rich Juzwiak. "Homophobia as nonsense—what a powerful statement." It wasn't just critics, though. Boy George recently slammed the rapper on Twitter.
Eminem tweeted the album’s cover art, a picture of a dilapidated house, last month. It’s the house the rapper lived in as a teenager and, keeping in line with the whole Marshall Mathers sequel, is similar to the cover art of the rapper’s 2000 album. The house was purchased for $19,900 in 1987 by Eminem’s mom Debbie Nelson, but was foreclosed in 2001. A past owner unsuccessfully tried to sell the house on eBay for $500,000, but the Detroit News quotes the house’s actual value at $44,400 and yes, it’s still for sale for you rich Em completists.
The Track List
1. "Bad Guy"
2. "Parking Lot" (skit)
3. "Rhyme Or Reason"
4. "So Much Better"
7. "Asshole" (featuring Skylar Grey)
9. "Rap God"
11. "Stronger Than I Was"
12. "The Monster" (featuring Rihanna)
13. "So Far..."
14. "Love Game" (featuring Kendrick Lamar)
15. "Headlights" (featuring Nate Ruess)
16. "Evil Twin"