When Marshall Mathers debuted on the rap scene in 1999, he was a breath of fresh air. He was unlike anything that we had ever seen before. Before Eminem came on the scene, white rappers were marginalized in hip hop. Besides the greatness of the Beastie Boys, white emcees found it very difficult to land on solid ground within the black community of rhyme slayers. There wasn’t anybody worthy of joining that fraternity of emcees. Vanilla Ice? Snow? The kid from Young Black Teenagers? Even Everlast from House of Pain, all failed to be legitimate players in the rap game. Enter Marshall Mathers, otherwise known as Slim Shady, or to the mainstream audience, Eminem, a mix of rage, fury, energy, hunger, humor, promise, and enough verbal ammunition to leave other rappers lying in their graves. No longer could a white rapper not be taken seriously. But when this dude spit, the world had to stand on pause and pay attention.
Eminem has worked hard to become one of the hardest working and most successful rappers in music. Over the past decade plus, he has sold over 100 million albums worldwide, toured the entire globe, and become a household name amongst music lovers. He is consistently mentioned in the short list of top emcees in the game. After his debut, The Slim Shady LP, put Em on the map, he won his first Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. He then followed that up with The Marshall Mathers LP, and The Eminem Show, which also both won Grammy’s for Best Rap Album. He was the first recording artist to win three consecutive Best Rap Album Grammy Awards, a pretty impressive feat, seeing who his competition was at the time. He followed that up with 2004’s Encore, and then took a 5 year hiatus before dropping Relapse, which was the precursor to the highest selling album of 2010, Recovery. Like with any rapper growing old, Eminem defied the times and dropped one of his crowning career achievements with Recovery. How does someone now pushing 40 and a father, still find ways to stay relevant and create raw and honest hip hop music?
You reinvent the wheel again and take a trip back in time. Eminem has resurfaced again today, releasing “Berzerk,” the first single off his much anticipated, Marshall Mathers LP 2, which was given the release date of November 15th. The announcement of this brand new chapter in the Marshall Mathers story came to the world via a commercial that was aired for Beats by Dre during the Video Music Awards this past Sunday night. MMLP2 is produced by Dr. Dre and Rick Rubin, and after hearing “Berzerk” in its entirety all morning long, the song is soooo Rick Rubin. Rubin is a hip hop god. He has worked with everyone in the game from Run DMC and the Beastie Boys to Jay Z, and most recently Kanye West, on the fantastic Yeezus album. “Berzerk” is classic “Beastie Boys” hip hop with its scratches, samples, and raw break beat. The track has Em spitting fire over a nasty electric guitar riff with a throbbing bass line that knocks your brain out. The song is vintage Em, dissing celebs, dropping verbal gems with his voice changing throughout the track. The song sounds like Marshall is having fun again. Working with Dre and Rubin on this album will allow Eminem to stretch and expand his sound. Rubin has a tendency to bring out the best in the artists that he works with. I have no doubt, the same will happen to Mr. Mathers. “Berzerk” is a pretty nice start to what will be sure to be another big year from Detroit’s finest. But for now, let’s all smile and exhale that at 41 years old, Eminem is back, and still a major force to be reckoned with.