On Sunday, during the VMAs, Eminem announced a new album, his first since 2010’s Recovery. It’s called The Marshall Mathers LP 2, and it’s coming to us November 5. Last night, we even got the lead single, “Berzerk.” Pulling out the herky-jerky kill-spray everything flow, Em has a good ol’ time.
Yes, that’s a Rick Rubin beat; what’s more, Rubin is apparently co-producing the album with Dr. Dre. Even if Rubin wasn’t fresh and hot off his Yeezus run, that’d be an auspicious sign. At the very least, we can now wonder: What will bringing in a second voice — and an estimable, soothing, guru-like one at that — mean for the shaking up of the traditionalist Eminem-Dre axis? Right now, it means Em doing Licensed to Ill. When Jay Z got on a blocky ’80s Rubin beat, he did his own thing, weaving an instant classic drug yarn. When Eminem got one, apparently, he just wanted to be Adam Horovitz (see the album’s trailer for more: He even does “So What’cha Want” beanie chic). Not that that’s a bad thing. Eminem’s lead singles are almost always hyper and technicolor; rarely, though, has he sounded like he’s having this much fun.
Say what you will about his post-rehab work (the awkwardly miscalculated Relapse, the neutered Recovery). He’s one of the most naturally gifted rappers we’ve ever had, he’s got Rick Rubin beats, and he’s now consciously put us in the mind of his classic second album. Let’s see what happens.