Album: The Marshall Mathers LP 2 Label: Aftermath, Shady, Interscope Producer: Rick Rubin
Eminem has spent the last decade working with a select few producers—namely, Dr. Dre, Jeff Bass, Luis Resto, and himself. Going into The Marshall Mathers LP 2, the big news was that he was working with the living legend, Rick Rubin. Rubin was already having a big year thanks to his contributions to Kanye West's Yeezus (and for sleeping on Jay Z's couch in that Samsung ad). Although Kanye consistently praised Rubin's guiding hand in the process for his album, it was hard to pinpoint how he influenced the album sonically. But with songs like "So Far," you don't need to read the credits to know Rubin is there.
The album highlight samples Joe Walsh's '70s rock anthem "Life's Been Good" and Schoolly D's '80s hip-hop classic "P.S.K. (What Does It Mean?)"—two songs that were surely an influence in Eminem's Detroit upbringing, but also the kinds of songs that shaped Rubin's early career. Much like Walsh did with his hit—which meditated on the spoils of being a rock star—Em uses the song to take a look at his life of living in the glass house of fame. He even takes time to wonder what it means to be a hardcore luddite and still have so many friends on Facebook. Celebrity ain't what it used to be. —Insanul Ahmed