Photo Credit: Eminem’s Coachella Performance 2018
Marshall Mathers, aka Eminem, aka Slim Shady, released a surprise album titled Kamikaze late August 2018 making this his tenth studio album and his second album in less than a year. December 2017 he released his nineth studio album titled Revival that did not do too well with the hip-hop critics and did not quite measure up with Eminem’s past successes. Eminem’s Kamikaze release being so close to his last release, without any prior promotion or pre-announcement could be seen as a move to redeem his title as the Rap God in hip-hop, but we aren’t mad at that. This album reminded me of the classic, fast-bar spittin’, double entendre Slim Shady himself. Kamikaze features guest appearances from Royce da 5’9”, Joyner Lucas, and Jessie Reyez, along with production collaborations from Mike Will Made It, Boi-1da, and more.
The 45-minute album starts with the track titled “The Ringer”, a mid-tempo, minor sounding production that will have your head nodding to the beat as Eminem delivers animated bars venting his thoughts and shooting disses to mumble rappers like Lil Pump, Lil Yachty, the President of the United States Donald Trump, and everyone else who had something negative to say about his previous freestyles and latest album, Revival. Eminem raps, “So finger-bang, chicken wang, MGK, Igg’ Azae’ / Lil Pump, Lil Xan imitate Lil Wayne / I should aim at everybody in the game, pick a name.” The track also contains samples and interpolation from “Ooouuu”, a song that was performed by Young M.A. in 2016.
On the second track “Greatest” produced by Mike Will Made It, Eminem also speaks to haters in the industry that are telling him to quit rap. However, Eminem responds in Eminem fashion with lively and vivacious bars reminding listeners of his accolades and success record. On the chorus, Eminem raps, “Greatest in the world, greatest in the world, greatest in the world / No lie, I might be / The best to ever do it, the best to ever do it, the best to ever do it / I feel like the greatest / Woke up to honkies sounding like me / Never be as good, never be as good / Packing up wife-beaters, white t-shirts, white / But I’m the greatest.” The album continues with industry disses on tracks like “Lucky You” featuring Joyner Lucas, “Not Alike” featuring Royce da 5’9”, and “Fall”. Kamikaze also features a skit from his longtime manager, and Shady Records co-founder, Paul Rosenberg, who yet again offers Eminem advice on his crazy decision making as he has done so in the past on other Eminem albums like The Slim Shady LP, The Marshall Mathers LP, The Eminem Show, Encore, and Relapse.
Eminem has always been one to be very transparent about his love life. In the previous albums, listeners learned what his romantic relationship looked like with now ex-wife Kim. In Kamikaze we learn how the single life is treating Eminem and some of the dysfunctional and volatile relationships he is in and out of. On the fifth track off of the album titled “Normal”, produced by Lonestarrmuzik, S1 & IllaDaProducer, Eminem expresses how he is in and out of different relationships with females that tend to be a bit too dramatic, and questions if he may be the root problem in his relationships. In the opening of the song he states, “Yo, how do I keep / (Man, I don’t know what’s up with these h*es, man) / Gettin’ in relationships like this? / (I’m just sayin’) / Maybe it says somethin’ about me / (Yeah, yup) / Should I look in the mirror?” Eminem then goes on to rap the chorus, “I just want you to be normal / Why can’t you b*tches be normal? / Always gotta be so extra / Like a f*ckin’ terrestrial.”
Kamikaze also shines light on how Eminem may be treating his love interest with behavior that may make them turn dramatic in the first place. Songs titled “Nice Guy” and “Good Guy” are sister tracks featuring Jessie Reyez that sound as if they blend together. “Nice Guy” insinuates that Eminem is actually the one being unfaithful with lies over an upbeat, harder bass tempo. The following track “Good Guy”, Eminem raps that he is aware of his doings and can do better over a more pop vocal tempo. Overall, with the release of Kamikaze Eminem reminds fans and critics alike why is he deserving of the title of Rap God, just in case they might of forgot.