Eminem, performing here Aug. 22 at the Stade de France in Saints-Denis near Paris, officially releases his album in six days. 'Marshall Mathers LP 2' leaked early online Wednesday. (Pierre Andrieu / AFP/Getty Images)
Eminem fans got a pre-Halloween treat Wednesday when the rapper’s “Marshall Mathers LP 2” leaked online, six days ahead of its release date.
The album, which will be released Tuesday, popped up Wednesday on several file sharing and MP3-streaming sites.
It is customary for big releases such as Eminem’s to appear online ahead of their release dates. That the album was able to be contained this close to its release date can be considered a success for Em’s label, Interscope Records.
The album, positioned as a sequel to Eminem’s 2000 album “The Marshall Mathers LP,” opens with the 7-minute-plus “Bad Guy,” which contains a lyrical nod to “The Marshall Mathers LP’s” “Stan.” Over icy strings, Eminem raps an elaborate tale about death and the demons inside his head.
“Bad Guy” is indicative of the album as a whole, which often takes a heavy tone as Em parses out his troubles with fame, women and the shadow of his own legacy.
Several tracks are built around classic rock samples: The third track, “Rhyme or Reason,” contains an interpolation of the Zombies’ 1968 hit “Time of the Season,” and “So Far…” is patterned after Joe Walsh’s 1978 song “Life’s Been Good.” Meanwhile, first single “Berzerk” samples Billy Squier’s 1981 hit “The Stroke.”
The familiar subject of Eminem’s mother is visited on “Headlights,” which features fun.’s Nate Ruess on the chorus. But instead of attacking her, Em is remorseful and apologetic toward his mother, wondering “Did I take it too far?” on earlier songs such as “Cleanin’ Out My Closet,” which he says he’ll no longer play in concert and cringes when he hears it on the radio. “Mom, you’re still beautiful to me, because you’re my mom,” Em says, before detailing his mother’s struggle with mental illness and the strain it put on her and their family. “To this day we remain estranged and I hate it though,” he raps, “‘cause you ain’t even get to witness your grandbabies grow.”
Eminem gives props to the Motor City on “So Far,” rapping, “Maybe that’s why I can’t leave Detroit, it’s the motivation that keeps me going/ this is the inspiration I need, I can never turn my back on the city that made me.”
On the album closing “Evil Twin,” Eminem reasserts his place atop the rap game, saying he’s his own competition for hip-hop’s crown. It’s one of several songs to feature the kind of derogatory slang for homosexuals that has gotten him in hot water before and is likely to spark controversy again.
The album also contains contributions from Rihanna (on “The Monster,” which was released to radio this week), Kendrick Lamar (the only other rapper on the album, who appears on the playful “Love Game”) and more.
Eminem is scheduled to appear as musical guest on this weekend’s “Saturday Night Live” and will perform on Sunday’s inaugural YouTube Music Awards.