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:
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.