Eminem shocked the world and shook the hip-hop industry once again on August 31st with his tenth studio album Kamikaze. The project was released without warning and only eight months after his previous Revival LP. Throughout the thirteen tracks Eminem addresses the negative criticism he received for his previous body of work, and once again establishes dominance as the lyrical genius he is.
Deja vu can be felt by avid Em fans as he brings back his notorious alter ego Slim Shady to taunt rap’s present state. The first song alone is just short of six minutes and says over 1,000 words (1,425 to be exact). No one is safe, while Lil Yachty, Machine Gun Kelly, Iggy Azalea, Charlemagne Tha God, and Lil Xan are direct targets. Even rapper Lil Pump’s well known ‘Gucci Gang’ flow is spun to dismantle the young rapper’s creativity. Homage is also paid to artists such as Lil Wayne, Big Sean, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Joyner Lucas who is featured on ‘Lucky You’. A plane crash at the beginning signifies the powerful start.
Controlled frustration is clearly recognized during almost every song of the project. Skits of brief voicemails between the crazed emcee, and his manager Paul Rosenberg reestablish the main point of the tracklist, emphasizing the anger, and misunderstood feelings Eminem had towards the negative backlash that came with Revival.
The mood of the album changes for a moment directly after the last skit ‘Em Calls Out Paul’. During track seven: ‘Stepping Stone’, Eminem addresses the pain that came along with the split of D12, the rap group he had been a part of in the late 90’s, and early 2000’s. He explains how the death of his best friend and fellow member Proof took a toll on the group as a whole, and how they were never able to fully recover from the loss. Eminem apologizes for leaving the group behind when they pursued solos careers. He confesses to feeling guilty for his overshadowing success and lists things he wishes he had done differently to change the present.
At the end, he concluded that what was done has been done.
Once the emotional melody comes to end, Slim Shady gets back to poking fun. Starting off with the playful flow of ‘Bad and Bougie’ by Migos; Em and Royce da 5’9” puncture a beat similar to BlocBoy JB, and Drake’s hit single ‘Look Alive’ Royce begins with a demiurgic verse, and Shady keeps the rest to himself. Throughout his verse, he responds to a subliminal diss from rapper Machine Gun Kelly on Tech N9ne’s ‘No Reason’. He goes into deep detail about his issues with the rapper and explains each reason why he cannot compare. Em is leaving nothing unsaid during this Kamikaze of records.
Slim Shady continues to answer to critiques, but then concludes the album on a softer note. Alongside singer Jessie Reyez, pictures of relationship imperfections are painted. ‘Nice Guy’ and ‘Good Guy’ each express the efforts Eminem puts forth to be the better person, however, he admits that his attempts are not always successful. The final song of Kamikaze seems to be more of a bonus track, and is part of the soundtrack of the upcoming Marvel film, ‘Venom’.
Overall, this project is easily one for the books. After being in the hip-hop industry for two decades Eminem still maintains relevance, which is extremely difficult in such a fast pace, cutthroat career path. The self-proclaimed Rap God has made history once again. This man is one many musical talents can learn from both the young, and old. Thank you, Eminem, for another masterpiece!