When this album was announced the excitement amongst rap fans was palpable; what would Eminem offer next? After the Marshall Mathers LP 2 (MMLP2) heralded a return for his Slim Shady persona, most rap fans were left licking their lips and asking for more. However, it was not another solo album which Eminem was releasing but a compilation album in the mould of Kanye’s Cruel Summer, with D12, Slaughterhouse and Yelawolf as featured artists. This was regarded by many music experts as a risky move as Slaughterhouse and Yelawolf had only recently been signed to Eminem’s label, meaning that their music was less well-known than previous artists signed onto Shady Records –Curtis Jackson springs to mind.
Eminem did not disappoint. His lyricism and wordplay were excellent, but there was one problem. You got the idea that the anger in his voice was no longer genuine as he mellowed with age – barring “Vegas” where he dissed Iggy Azalea – but that felt more like a throwback to the past than any real venom from the 42 year old rapper. His verse in “Detroit vs. Everybody” was also not one of his best with him being outshone by fellow Detroit rapper Big Sean. Despite this, Eminem remains one of the best rappers in the game.
His Shady Records label mates were also generally of a high standard. Yelawolf in particular impressed with his distinctive Southern drawl in his new song “Down” which was one of the best songs on the album. In addition, Slaughterhouse’s “Y’all Ready Know” was also excellent. All the verses were good but KXNG CROOKED especially impressed with his final verse which bent syllables in order to fit them into the rhyme pattern. Luis Resto, Eminem and Mr. Porter all also showed themselves too, adept at producing as some of the instrumentals in the album were excellent as stand-alone pieces, emphasising the time and effort which has been put into this project. Of the best features on the album is surely the Big Sean collaboration whose verse in the posse cut “Detroit vs.
Everybody” contained many complex rhyme patterns showcasing his technical ability. Another excellent artist on the track was female rapper, Dej Loaf whose chorus for the song was both haunting and technically brilliant.
Skylar Grey’s range in “Twisted” was excellent and she takes the prize for second best singing on the album after the outstanding Dej Loaf. Overall it was a good album with many great tracks. Despite this, you can’t help but feel that the standard of anything released by Eminem is so high that – arguably – should have expected slightly more from the album. It pales in comparison to some of Eminem’s earlier albums but that is to be expected as the bar was set so high with his earlier albums being widely regarded as amongst the greatest rap albums of all time. So, overall a good album from some of the most lyrically adept rappers in the game.