September 4, 2018 Eminem – KAMIKAZƎ (Album Review)
On the heels of his 2017 album Revival, Eminem surprised fans on Friday, August 31, 2018 with a midnight tweet saying that he had just released a full-length LP entitled Kamikaze (stylized KAMIKAZƎ) via Aftermath / Shady Records / Interscope Records. Catching many off guard, the new collection of songs became available for immediate streaming and became the biggest buzz on social media outlets over the extended Labor Day weekend.
His tenth overall studio label, straight out of the gate, it was apparent that all of his critics who slammed Revival were on the chopping block ready to attack the top-selling rapper once again. Some complained that with Revival there was not enough of Eminem’s ‘Slim Shady’ persona, well sit back and eat your words, because with KAMIKAZƎ, Slim Shady is front and center.
Charging full-speed ahead out the gate, the album opens with “The Ringer,” a cut which takes hits at many current day rappers. Additionally, it takes some political stabs at current President Donald Trump all while dedicating an entire verse to his hatred of this new so-called ‘mumble rap’ that is popular, a style which Eminem accuses of being choppy and poor Hip Hop flow standards.
Moving on, tracks such as “Lucky You” and “Fall” still show Eminem’s immense vocabulary and lyrical skill. This is all while showcasing that he should be on top the Hip Hop throne, a spot he deserves to be. Opening up old wounds, “Good Guy” once again pours out the bad feelings still left after the tumultuous relationship Marshall had with Kim Mathers, mother to his now 22 year old daughter Hailey. Then, on the album title-track, “Kamikaze,” is where we hear him rapping over a hypnotic beat that tells the listener how he is going to crash into everything, smash into everything, and basically completely demolish the game again. A bold moment, it is no doubt a highlight on the standout album.
Speaking of standouts, one of the many highlights on KAMIKAZƎ unfolds on “Stepping Stone,” a song which has an old school beat that really shows off Eminem’s skill; even when he does not rap as fast or as cleverly as he does on some of the other tracks. The song is all about his sympathetic feelings towards D12 – his former group which he basically said broke up after founding member and right-hand man Proof was murdered senselessly in a nightclub back in 2006. An emotional moment, we hear Eminem apologizes to all the remaining members of D12 in what he calls using them as his stepping stones to success and how that was never his real plan, but it was really for every member to have equal success of their own.
At over 45 minutes, the litany of MC’s who were dissed on KAMIKAZƎ is staggering. Just to name a few, there is Lil Yachty, MGK, Tyler the Creator, Joe Budden, Drake, and Charlamagne. This is all all while giving credit to Old School MC B-Real of Cypress Hill, and a random shout out to Kathy Griffin. Already causing a reaction less than a week following its release, Eminem does not hold back and that is exactly what fans love.
All this said, not only are fans surprised by the release of KAMIKAZƎ, they are also pleasantly surprised just how good it is. For an album of this caliber to be released in under a year from Revival shows just how great of an MC Mr. Mathers really is. It also proves how good the caliber of producers he has surrounded himself with, of course including longtime collaborator Dr. Dre, who also acted as executive producer alongside Eminem on the record.
Overall, KAMIKAZƎ is exactly what Eminem followers like and have come to expect – clever punchlines, sincerity, lyrical wordplay, and great beats. Most of all, it features an angry Slim Shady, combined with the aforementioned elements which encompasses much of the album. So, those complained where he was on Revival, the real Slim Shady has stood up once again. That is why CrypticRock gives KAMIKAZƎ 4.5 out of 5 stars.