Back like he never left, and with a vengeance– the real “Slim Shady” drops new album and puts all current rappers in their rightful place.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this piece are those solely of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of VILLA as a whole.
For many of us late 80’s and earlier 90’s babies, Eminem was a substantial fixture to our early musical collection. He was the perfect MC to concern our parents yet open our young minds to the world we were sheltered from. Most of us never imagined enduring such troublesome topics that Eminem openly rapped about, but we found it interesting and we loved every second that he rebutted social norms.
Since his peak years in the early 2000’s, Eminem has seemingly become calmer, sweeping himself under the rug, so to speak, unseen and only heard of when brought up in curious hip-hop conversations amongst peers. He has become quite mysterious for being such an outspoken artist in the past. Although, this week the beast has surprisingly reappeared; woken and quite frankly angry, Eminem’s silence has ceased. Back to remind listeners just how crazy yet talented he is on a brand new 45-minute long album titled “Kamikaze”.
The album “Kamikaze” is reminiscent of a younger Eminem, a time when he cared none to please well anyone. By taking a first glance at the tracklist, before hearing a single second of the album, listeners can be positive that “Kamikaze” will raise controversy just by the reappearance of the Paul Rosenberg skit. Only the most outrageous of Eminem’s albums have received frantic concerned phone calls from his longtime manager.
Rosenberg explains to Eminem that it is a bad idea to respond to all the people who have spoken out on his talent, lifestyle, or lyrics. While the advice from Rosenberg is sound, Eminem responds later with a voicemail detailing the whereabouts of that “yahoo” writer who wrongfully criticized him.
Aside from the warnings and classic innuendos referencing violence, Eminem’s ultimate feelings displayed throughout this new piece of work are the same as many hip-hop lovers. He is aggravated with the state of rap and is not bowing out to the Lil’ auto-tune rainbow-headed cereal box artists of today.
His message very clear, one thing is for certain, he will not let allow them or anyone else to talk down on craft; regardless if the last album, “Revival”, was well received or not!
Eminem doesn’t veer away from his usual sound, tapping into his “Shady” alter ego while putting his rapid-fire delivery to the test; by using quick and loaded rhymes to equate to powerful unapologetic lyrics. He cuts straight to the point and leaves very few surrenders.
Take the track “Fall” for example:
“You know, everybody’s been tellin’ me what they think about me for the last few months
It’s too loud
Maybe it’s time I tell ’em what I think about them
One last time for Charlamagne
If my response is late, it’s just how long it takes
To hit my fuckin’ radar, I’m so far away
These rappers are like Hunger Games
One minute, they’re mockin’ Jay
Next minute, they get their style from Migos, ’til they copy Drake” – via genius.com
Eminem then goes on to address Joe Budden, DJ Akademiks, Tyler The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, and most importantly ending with a personalized statement to Lord Jamar that stakes how instrumental Eminem’s presence in hip-hop has been. He has left a lasting impression in the rap industry and inspired the artists that currently hold heavyweight titles (J.Cole, Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent, Royce da 5’9″, etc.).
“And far as Lord Jamar, you better leave me the hell alone
Or I’ll show you an Elvis clone
Walk up in this house you own, thrust my pelvic bone
Use your telephone and go fetch me the remote
Put my feet up and just make myself at home
I belong here, clown, don’t tell me ’bout the culture
I inspire the Hopsins, the Logics, the Coles, the
Seans, the K-Dots, the 5’9″s, and oh
Brought the world 50 Cent, you did squat, piss and moan
But I’m not gonna fall…” – via genius.com
While Eminem took to many other tracks like “The Ringer” to point out rappers 21 Savage, Lil Yachty, Lil Pump, and Lil Xan; the album wasn’t only about saying his peace to everyone he could possibly think of. The album also gave opportunities to new artists, Joyner Lucas and Jessie Reyez, and reunited him Royce da 5’9″. The three all have playful yet intense back and forth spouts of their respective songs, though, the most interesting songs seemed to be “Normal” and “Stepping Stone” where Eminem strays from his attacking lyrics to be more intuitive.
Whether an Eminem fan or not, the album did its justice and for the moment reminded listeners of the feelings that emoted from music such a short time ago. While it may not seem like Eminem’s album is coming from a good place, its frankly coming out of concern. Where does that state of rap go as the younger generation comes to adulthood, how will the skill of rhyming (or lack thereof) transform, and what will be the true messages that are received? Although Eminem is nothing close to a role model for the average citizen he gave over a decade of his life to a craft that is currently letting him down and ungrateful of the strides he made.
As of now, Eminem is no longer an artist that has the attention of the world which is unfortunate because this piece of work will be short-lived and misconstrued. But there is a credit to be given. Eminem has opened himself to more scrutiny for what can be displayed as sensitivity in the hopes that younger artists and/or fans of those younger artists can challenge the state of hip-hop.