While watching the music video for “Berzerk” this morning, something occurred to me. A lot of the comments were screaming about “Slim Shady being back!” and “This is the Eminem we’ve been waiting for!”.
Yes, The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is plenty to be excited about. It’ll be Em’s first album since 2010′s Recovery. It also finally reveals what the hell he’s been up to every time a rapper mentions “they were in the studio with Eminem”. But just because he’s making a sequel to his second album from 2000 doesn’t mean that Slim Shady ever went away.
2009′s Relapse was full of Slim Shady-isms. I consider it as dark an album as the original Marshall Mathers if not darker. All the shock value Em’s known for is all over the place including the skit for “Tonya” which still weirds me out to this day. One of my favorite cuts from Relapse would have to be the album’s final track, “Underground”. It differs from the rest of the album as Em doesn’t use the accent that’s featured on the rest of the album. It sounds like pre-deal Eminem and when word got out that Relapse 2 would featured more content like “Underground”, I was pumped.
Then the critics started. No one would get past the accent. Eminem went back to the studio and eventually announced that Relapse 2 wasn’t happening; instead the world got Recovery.
Recovery was made to silence Relapse‘s critics; to put Eminem back on the map as relevant rather than the washed up sober rapper that he was called on Relapse. He accomplished this (hello 4.4 million+ copies!) but whatever happened to those Relapse 2 tracks?
Enter MMLP2. With his status as one of the best ever re-solidified (Bad Meets Evil EP in 2011 didn’t hurt) , I think Em went back into the vault and dug out those old Relapse 2 tracks and started reworking them. Started building with Dr. Dre and linked up with Rick Rubin (since Jay and Ye did it. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if they followed Em’s lead and brought in Rick after hearing he was working with the Def Jam co-founder.) and started getting back to his pre-Recovery direction.
“Berzerk” shows signs that we won’t see the silly first single from Eminem anymore after the debacles of “Just Lose It” and “We Made You” but he doesn’t steer away from his pop culture name dropping. While I don’t think he can toe the fine line between disgusting and dope like he did with MMLP‘s “Kill You”, I can almost guarantee that he’ll be back to the topics that dominated Relapse: all the things that Tipper Gore got mad about in the first place.
So Eminem is fooling everybody. A dye job doesn’t mean that Slim Shady is back. He’s just trying to prepare you for what the world wasn’t ready for 3 years ago.
Eminem has your attention and Slim Shady never left. He just knows a Rihanna hook is a great place to hide a demented MC behind.