“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.