I personally really enjoyed Marshall Mathers LP2
. It had Eminem go back to his edgier roots with mostly positive results by dropping a collection of solid tracks. However, I really don't know how I feel about this follow-up compilation as a whole. It's quite the mixed bag of goodies with pleasing highs and startling lows. There are a plethora of different artists that performed on this. Eminem himself tries REALLY hard to be a technical rapper, with mixed results. Disc two also features a collection of older work from Em and his associates. Typically, I really don't like old songs being copy-pasted on to new releases. It's mildly annoying that it's all pasted on the second disc, but in this case it helps me forgive some of the low quality tracks on the first disc.
Right off the bat, opening track "Shady XV" is abysmal. It features one of the worst instrumentals on the record, and has Eminem trying way too hard to impress the listener. Including the aforementioned track, a lot of the beats here feel dated and badly mixed. Eminem's performances vary wildly in quality, sometimes sounding impressive in his verses and sometimes falling completely flat. "Guts Over Fear" sounds like a worse version of older cut "Love the Way You Lie", having worse production and a worse hook than his song with Rihanna. I've never liked Eminem ballads, and having "Twisted" on here doesn't help. Despite the decent verses, the beat in D12's "Bane" is almost as bad as the one found on the opening track.
Fortunately, there's some quality to be found on this compilation. The Slaughterhouse tracks, while not anything groundbreaking, are a refreshing break from Eminem's fumbles and make for decent hardcore hip-hop tracks. Frequent collaborator Yelawolf's output ranges from mediocre to strong, ending the first disc on a positive note with "Till It's Gone". "Detroit vs. Everybody" is definitely the highlight of the entire compilation, the hook is nice and simple and there are awesome verses across the board.
As I previously mentioned, the second disc features hits/classics that are mostly of high quality. The problem is that we've heard most, if not all, of this material before, especially if you are a hardcore Eminem fan. There is nothing overly offensive about the second disc, but it seems like it's a bit of an afterthought. It also leads to thinking that perhaps Marshall didn't think the new tracks couldn't stand on their own without retreading past glories. I'd say this compilation, as a whole, is worth listening to. It shows that Em still has potential to put out another decent album, but needs to focus on his song-writing a lot more than on being technically proficient.