Highly-anticipated album showcases Eminem’s refreshing lyrical strides
Eminem’s album debut in 2017 was disappointing, to say the least. Revival, his ninth studio album, missed the mark on many things fans have come to expect from Eminem, and throwaway lines coupled with bad production led fans like myself to rank it near the bottom of his discography. Eminem apparently felt differently, as he dropped Kamikaze on August 31.
The first three songs on the album are near perfect, and his parody of “Gucci Gang,” his cheeky nod to the great Kendrick Lamar, and his collaboration with Joyner Lucas all made the start of this album the most fire start that Eminem’s had since Recovery.
Going further, Shady blatantly and very clearly disses widely-recognized artists like Drake, Lil Pump, Lil Yachty, Migos, Young Thug, MGK, and more. And yes, I said Shady. If there is one theme to take away from Kamikaze, it’s that Shady’s back, and he isn’t leaving anyone alone.
As I progressed through the album, I began to have more problems with the songs. “Normal,” while a clear Drake diss, was just a bad song, with lines like “Always gotta be so extra like a fuckin’ terrestrial,” which just made me shake my head. The song featured a hook which just sounded awful. Eminem shows us his worst singing voice in his decades-long career. “Not Alike” might just be my favorite song on the album, as amazing production coupled with a great hook—a Migos diss—and Eminem teams up with one of the few rappers who can keep up with him, Royce da 5’9”. “Kamikaze” is a classic, and is probably the most fun song of the album. “Fall” has a hauntingly beautiful hook, and portrays Shady catching up with Eminem beautifully. “Nice Guy,” and “Good Guy,” are easily the two worst songs on the album, and were definite skips when I listened through it again. Their odd concepts with mediocre lyrics and decent—but still sub-par production—makes them feel like Revival rejects that were just tacked on to Kamikaze. The track “Venom” is a movie track, and a pretty good one at that. A pretty strange but hyped hook and decent verses make it worth listening to, but its presence on this album is a little head scratching to say the least, though it could do with the fact that Venom and the main character have a very similar relationship to Slim Shady and Marshall Mathers.
Overall, Kamikaze was Shady’s strongest album since Recovery, and that’s saying a lot. It showed us a version of Marshall Mathers that is on top of his game, both lyrically and content wise, a stark contrast to the old, reflective version that we saw on Revival. Kamikaze is refreshing, and it has made me excited to hear the next project from the “Rap God.”