Eminem blasted through a number of tracks from his soon-to-be-released Marshall Mathers LP 2 (MMLP2) album, ably assisted by Rick Rubin, during the latest episode of Saturday Night Live.
The illustrious rapper first announced the studio album was in the making, back in May 2012. Even prior to an official album title having been assigned, an expectant public awaited its arrival with much excitement. The unnamed album featured in many “most anticipated” album lists for 2013, including Complex Magazine and XXL Magazine, where it was positioned sixth and fifth, respectively.
‘Bezerk’ and ‘Survival’ Live Performances
Saturday’s show represents the sixth occasion Eminem has graced SNL’s Studios as the musical guest.
Rubin, who served as one of the album’s executive producers, was seen mulling around on stage, wrapped in layers of winter garments that suggested he was a little nippy. The renowned record producer then kicked off the proceedings in style, firing up The Stroke by Billy Squier. This prompted an animated Eminem to materialize from the wings, blasting out a rendition of Bezerk, the latest hit single to have spawned from the Detroit rapper’s lyrical mind.
During the opening segment of the riotous rap beat, the curtain in the backdrop descended to uncover Marshall’s supporting band, whilst a resolute Eminem stoked the studio crowd.
Warning: the following videos contain material that some viewers might find offensive. Viewer discretion is advised.
The rap legend then returned, once more, in a camouflage jacket to perform his next single Survival, which was premièred to the world during the big reveal for the multiplayer component of Call of Duty: Ghosts, back in Aug. 14, 2013. The original track features Liz Rodrigues of The New Royales, with production organized by DJ Khalil.
On this occasion, Slim Shady was joined by Skylar Grey. The energetic tune was opened by a soulful Grey, who delivered the chorus with raw power and conviction. Strobe lights intermittently flooded the stage with blasts of light, revealing a combat-themed stage, clearly prepared to reflect the song’s ties with Ghosts.
Eminem also appeared in a couple of comedy skits for the late night television show’s promotional videos, offering a series of deadpan expressions in response to host Kerry Washington’s musings. Alas, during the actual show, Eminem elected not to present any comedy-inspired performances.
Reactions to Eminem’s SNL Performance
The 41-year-old’s performances were certainly not without its critics, however. A number of fans took to Twitter to vent their anger and disappointment, alleging the Just Lose It rapper to have mimed throughout his entire performance. For example, RamsayK pointed out Eminem’s similarity to a fellow celebrity blonde, as the star strutted around the stage:
“Eminem could give Ashlee Simpson a serious run for her money with his lip sync game so on point, smh.”
Michael Brooks was equally scathing in offering his critique of Eminem’s live SNL performances:
“If I had any respect for Eminem at all it’d be lost post-SNL. MCs do not lip sync. What a joke.”
Some music critics were equally displeased. In ruminating over Shady’s alleged lip-syncing attempts, SPIN analogized Eminem to be like a gold medal-winning Olympic swimmer:
“Here’s the guy who wins every rap Olympic gold medal, and he couldn’t even convincingly appear to be swimming.”
On the other hand, Hollywood Life and MTV Music offered far more complimentary evaluations of the Shady Records CEO’s weekend performance. Hollywood Life reports that it was good to see the rapping prodigy’s return, describing the Bezerk track’s performance as “raw and emotional,” before going on to praise the album’s swagger.
What do you think to Eminem, Rick Rubin and Skylar Grey’s collaborative SNL performances, for the new MMLP2 album? Were they lip-syncing disasters, or a return to impressive form? Sound off in the comments section, below.
By James Fenner