Directions Eminen Can Possibly Take On New Album

(Radio.com) It's been nearly three years since Eminem's last solo album Recovery, but until recently, the famously private rapper's plans for releasing new music were purely a matter of speculation. In February, Eminem's manager Paul Rosenberg told Billboard that the rapper was working on a new solo album and that it would come out some time after Memorial Day. Yet nearly three months after Memorial Day, there was hardly new information. Finally, in mid-August, a new Eminem single, "Survival," debuted in the trailer for the video game Call of Duty: Ghosts. An angry, rock-inflected track, it featured Eminem arguing for his own relevance, claiming "it ain't over 'til I say it's over."

A week-and-a-half later, we found out it's not over. A pair of Beats By Dre ads during the VMAs announced that Eminem's upcoming eighth album will be called The Marshall Mathers LP 2 and named Dr. Dre and Rick Rubin as executive producers. The album, a sequel to 2000's The Marshall Mathers LP, is due out November 5. Shortly after announcing the album's release, Eminem also put out the first single, "Berzerk," an '80s throwback in the vein of the Beastie Boys, hinting at the direction the album might take.

Other details, however, have been scarce, and, given Eminem's tight-lipped approach, it's hard to say what's been on his mind in making MMLP2. However, the Detroit rapper has always been able to drive conversation, and it's inevitable that whatever he's planning will feel like a big deal when it arrives. With his resources and place in the game, Eminem could take just about any direction and have it make sense. Here are five possibilities for the rapper's upcoming album:

1) Go Beastie Boys: It's no accident that "Berzerk" sounds like a Beastie Boys song. Produced by original Beasties collaborator Rick Rubin and sampling the "Fight For Your Right (To Party)," it's a direct homage that has Eminem playing the part of the group's long lost fourth member. And although the connection isn't quite as overt, the massive drums and jolts of guitar on "Survival" could easily pass as a modern tweak on the crashing beats of Licensed To Ill. Since he's out of step with rap's current trends anyway ("Berzerk" even takes a shot at Future, one of the genre's biggest hit-makers at the moment), it makes sense for Eminem to take on a throwback sound. Furthermore, the Beastie Boys have always been an influence for Em: In an interview with SPIN in 2000, he claimed that hearing the group for the first time was what inspired him to rap. It's only right for him to bring things full circle.

2) Go For A Proper Sequel: The Marshall Mathers LP is Eminem's best-selling album, so like any successful franchise, it's due for a sequel. The decision to bill the upcoming album as such surely is a promise of some sort: Does it mean we can expect to revisit some of the same characters and plot lines? MMLP is iconic Eminem, simultaneously funny, disturbing, violent, detailed and technically astounding, with beloved tracks like "The Real Slim Shady," "The Way I Am" and "Stan."

Em complains about being a media scapegoat and dealing with overzealous fans, but the album seems designed to attract more attention and make those problems worse. "Kim," for instance, is a shockingly graphic depiction of Eminem killing his wife—terrifying, offensive stuff but also an incredibly well-constructed rap narrative. MMLP was a bomb. These songs were conversation starters before the rise of the Internet outrage machine, and they spawned memes before we knew what those were. Today we'd be flooded with Real Slim Shady GIFs.

A sequel might return to the original's crisp pop-rap production, pushing Dr. Dre back onto the radar. It might bring back some of the same stories, with Stan as a guy who tweets at Eminem every day and tries to start Eminem-related hashtags. It might be a reprise of the horror-tinged lyricism that Recovery mostly avoided. But even if it doesn't strictly revisit the sound or the content of MMLP, it can be a proper sequel if it's an album that provokes people, impresses listeners and, most of all, demands attention. Read there more possible directions here.

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Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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