sun 14/08/2022

Album of the Year: Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP 2 | reviews, news & interviews

Album of the Year: Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP 2

Album of the Year: Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP 2

Marshall Mathers shows increased maturity yet loses none of his youthful exuberance

No idle bragging

“Maybe I needed to grow up a little first/ Well it looks like I hit a growth spurt”. So goes MMLP2’s opening track and over the course of the next hour it becomes apparent this is no idle brag. The album’s dizzying mix of melody, syllables-per-minute, heart and hurt means, despite the endless plaudits being given to rival "deadly fucking serious” Kanye West, it was really the nutcase from Detroit who demonstrated the greater artistic maturity in 2013.

Some may consider the term “mature” ironic given Marshall Mathers' love of adolescent word play. But that would be to misunderstand how Em’s mischievous and raw rhymes work their magic. On this, the sequel to 2000’s The Marshall Mathers LP, three aspects of his trade stand out. The first is the vocal work. Despite sounding deeper and more growly he is still able to spit out such quick-fire verbiage it leaves the listener giddy with delight. The most exhilarating moments are “Rap God” where one imagines Mathers to be breathing through his ears and 3.46 minutes into "Love Game" where he suddenly slips up half an octave to send a shiver down your spine.

Secondly, there are the expertly picked samples and collaborations which help capture the iconic pop-rap magic of early hits such as “My Name Is” and “Stan”. “Monster” with Rhianna fully deserved its number one slot and the hillbilly guitar-assisted “So Far” knocks most rap-metal into a cocked hat.

Finally, there’s Em's new-found wisdom - a sense that whilst he refuses to grow up he's never stopped learning from life. It reaches its peak in “Headlights” - a nuanced dissection of the rapper's relationship with his mother. The bruised lyrical path starts with childhood hurt (“You’re kicking me out/ It’s 15 degrees and it’s Christmas Eve”), moves on to an epiphany of understanding (“that's when I realized you were sick and it wasn't fixable or changeable,”) and ends with a sense of sadness (“I didn’t get the chance to thank you for being my Mom and my Dad”). The level of craftsmanship on MMLP2 would have always made it a hugely entertaining album. But the sense that every word is still of profound emotional importance to its creator makes it an essential one.

Watch Eminem's video for "Monster" overleaf:

He is able to spit out such quick-fire verbiage it leaves the listener giddy with delight


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article


You forgot to mention "Beautiful Pain". Beautiful Pain is one of the most beautiful songs I have heard. Marshall did a great job on this song. Marshall put a lot care in to this song, you can tell by how well laid out this is song and the fact that it only has 2 cuss words in it, and It has deep heart felt meaning in this song. I Love this song! Beautiful Pain should get more credit and some sort of mention in the media.

Finally a review that doesn't lack common sense and didn't just slide on the surface, but went more into the depths of this album.

Add comment


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters