It would be fair to say that I have been incredibly busy of late, as such I haven’t managed to post anything recently. My sincerest apologies, hopefully I can get back into my grove again.
— Marshall Mathers (@Eminem) August 31, 2018
Out of nowhere, at around midnight Eastern Time on 31st August my oldest and dearest friend Marshall stealth dropped a new album.
Wait, what, really?
Didn’t Revival only release in December.
Yes, yes it did, and while last years chart topper was very much a truimph in my opinion – a Fifield Five, many people simply didn’t like it, finding it amongst other things, too poppy, a desperate attempt to remain relevant and if not the final chapter, certainly the beginning of the end.
People are idiots!
Back to Kamikaze, the haters claim that a 45 year old man shouldn’t joke about raping the alphabet. Fuck the alphabet! Without consent…
Hey, I’m only 31….
Meh, haters gonna hate.
Lets just get one thing perfectly clear, Marshal Bruce Mathers III is disgusting, entertaining and brilliant in equal measure. That’s the appeal, that is what Slim Shady is all about. Just to clafrify, this is Slim Shady, the persona that EM adopts to take down celebrities. This time though, it’s not Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears or Sarah Pailin, its the culture of mumble rap, and the young pretenders to the metaphorical Hip Hop throne.
“So finger bang, chicken wang, MGK, Iggy ‘zae
Lil Pump, Lil Xan imitate Lil Wayne
I should aim at everybody in the game, pick a name”
From the very outset and the albums opening track The Ringer, its apparent that the tone of this album is very different from what Eminem brought to the table on Revival (which incidentally, didn’t go viral)
This theme carries through the next track, Greatest and culminates in Lucky You before the return of the infamous Paul Skit, in which Paul questions whether Eminem really wants to open the proverbial can of worms by attacking all his haters with an all out verbal assault album.
Poignant stuff, classic Paul.
Normal is a solid enough track but the tone feels a bit out of place. Mulligans I guess..
Next up is Em calls Paul, claiming that he’s tracked down one of the haters who left negative comments online to Revival, before demonstrating just how genius a particular bar on the track Believe, from Revival really was.
Stepping Stone may well be an early contender for track of the album. Essentially it tells the story of not only the demise of D12 – Eminem’s rap group from way back when, but how the death of Proof changed the aesthetic of their friendship too.
Not Alike see’s the return of Bad Meets Evil. Royce Da 5’9″ and Eminem trade bars across a frantic beat, squaring off in perfect harmony. Once again the subject matter returns to mumble rap and how all the young hip hop artists are of a different breed. For the record, Em goes HAM on this track, spitting some of his best flowing bars since Rap God.
The titular Kamikaze is EMs own acknowledgement that despite it’s varied tone, last years album Revival wasn’t what people wanted from him and as he so eloquently puts it, it’s the title track from his Greatest Hits album Fack, all over again.
Fall is an absolute banger, a prime example of Eminem at his best, bouncing all over a vibrant, eclectic track, a collaboration with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver fame. Again, its tone follows the theme of the album. Essentially, he’s luring you in, daring you to compare him to any of the aforementioned young pretenders. He’s also, in no uncertain terms reminding everybody just how good he is.
And rightly so.
After a handful of listens, the next few tracks are a little underwhelming. Nice Guy is the first of a duet of duets with Jessie Reyez. In all honesty, at this early stage, it doesn’t really resonate. I’m sure it will grow on me.
Good Guy is certainly an improvement, but again, it feels a little underdeveloped. Not a bad track by any stretch of the imagination and given time, I’m sure I’ll find new things to appreciate.
The album closes with Venom. It’s very similar to Phenomenal, the track that he made for the movie Southpaw. Incidentilly, this is a track he’s made for the upcoming movie Venom.
It’s an absolutely fine track, not one I’d skip if it popped up on a playlist, but not one I’d ever jump to put on.
As a massive fan of last years Revival, I was so genuinely surprised that his album dropped so soon. Saying that, waking up to new Eminem is essentially like getting an extra Christmas. Today was a good day.
All in all, the production values are fantastic throughout, this is a big budget studio album, not a diss track mixtape. By the same token, and alleviating all of my initial fears when I heard that a new album had dropped, Kamikaze isn’t Revival B-sides, this is its own beast, and completely different in tone.
After a day of solid exposure to Kamikaze, pumping it on continuous blast, my initial impressions are that this album is both Eminem returning to his Slim Shady roots and, in an industry that has changed, decayed so drastically since he came up, reminding everybody just how it’s done. Eminem goes hard, calling out the culture of mumble rap, with his own imitable style in only a way that he can, whilst simultaneously demonstrating just why he is the best lyricist in the game.
Kamikaze could pave the way for a swan song befitting of the GOAT, in a way that Revival didn’t quite capture. And maybe when, if, he drops it, people will be ready to embrace it.
Thanks for reading, and until next time