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Guess Who's Back, Back Again?...

Rap superstar Eminem is at it again. Coming off his seventh studio album Recovery (2010), The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (MM LP 2) was released on November 5, 2013. It is the sequel to The Marshall Mathers LP (2000), which is arguably his best album to date. The album features 16 tracks by 11 different producers including the legendary Rick Rubin ("Rhyme or Reason","Berzerk", "So Far...", and "Love Game"), Sid Roams ("Evil Twin) , DJ Khalil ("Survival") , Emile ("Legacy") , Alex Da Kid ("A*shole") , DVLP ("Rap God") , Frequency ("The Monster") , and Eminem himself. MM LP 2 features samples from artists such as Joe Walsh ("Life's Been Good"), The Zombies ("Time of the Season") , The Beastie Boys ( "Fight For Your Right"), Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders ("Game of Love"), and Billy Squier ("The Stroke") among others. There are guest appearances by Skylar Grey ("A*shole"), Nate Ruess ("Headlights"), Rhianna ("The Monster") , and Kendrick Lamar ("Love Game").

When The Marshall Mathers LP 2 was officially announced at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards many saw it as a publicity stunt. "Calling it The Marshall Mathers LP 2, obviously I knew that there might be certain expectations. I wouldn't want to call it that just for the sake of calling it that. I had to make sure that I had the right songs – and just when you think you got it, you listen and you're like, 'F*ck, man. I feel like it needs this or that,' to paint the whole picture. So there's not gonna be, like, continuations of every old song on there or anything like that. To me, it's more about the vibe, and it's more about the nostalgia," said Eminem in an October interview with Rolling Stone. After listening to all 16 tracks it is clear to me that MM LP 2 was not a publicity stunt at all. The album pays homage to old school hip hop, punk rock and classic rock, three genres that get the respect they deserve in this rap opera. Eminem is still on top of the rap game and is arguably the best technical rapper of all time.

The first track of the album, "Bad Guy", is the sequel to "Stan" (featuring Dido) from The Marshall Mathers LP, a fictional song about an obsessed man claiming to be Eminem's number 1 fan. "Bad Guy" is in the perspective of Stan's younger brother, Matthew. The song is an extremely dark tale which lasts seven minutes and 14 seconds, the longest track on the album. Another song that captured my attention was "Rhyme or Reason", MM LP 2's third track. It samples 1968's timeless classic "Time of the Season" by The Zombies. Em is in his element in this track which features clever and witty rhymes as well as Rick Rubin's proficient producing. The eighth track, "Berzerk", is the lead single on the album. It is a tribute to the Beastie Boys and features samples of their 1987 single "Fight For Your Right" and yet another epitome of classic rock "The Stroke" by Billy Squier. The song "Rap God" is the ninth track and is my favourite song on the album. It is another tribute to old school rap. There is a verse in the song in which Eminem raps an astonishing 97 words in 15 seconds, a breakneck pace of 6.5 words per second.

Whether or not you like Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is a classic that will be enjoyed by hip hop fans for years to come. I decided to rate this album 8 out of 10 because it is clear that Eminem's still the quick, quirky and the quintessential rap artist that we all know and love.