Last year was a bad year for Eminem. Despite the commercial success of his ninth album Revival, the negative reaction from both fans and critics was inevitably going to be damaging to the legacy he has founded. With the surprise drop of Kamikaze, Eminem ironically had to instigate his own revival after Revival but finds himself some way short of that mark.
The album is sonically flawed in ways that a platinum selling album with production spearheaded by Dr. Dre should not be. ‘Venom’ and ‘Stepping Stone’ are the two lowlights of the album; Eminem completely disregards the concept of style and substance coming together. Em raps as fast as he can in this near unlistenable staccato manner not because he should but because he can. As is often the case with modern Eminem, he is all skill and no taste. Despite this, there are tangible improvements in Kamikaze – Eminem makes good feature selections for ‘Lucky You’ and ‘Not Alike’. Furthermore, on tracks like ‘Greatest’ and the title song, Em’s hunger and desire comes through like never before.
Eminem’s lyrical content as usual is awkward at its best, unbearable at its worst. His vocal intro on the opener ‘The Ringer’ leaves a particularly bad taste in the mouth of listeners when he expresses desire to “punch the world in the fucking face”. Perhaps most demonstrative of how out of touch Eminem is with modern hip-hop was his attack on Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler, the Creator whilst lavishing praise on artists like Hopsin. These interactions where Eminem shakes his proverbial fists at Soundcloud and the ensuing media circus are somewhat pathetic. This is Eminem’s ninth consecutive number one album – he is not in a position where he should be calling out his juniors to stay relevant. The worst of this is found in his extremely outdated homophobic attack on Tyler, the Creator.
To see a once master lyricist occupy this shock jockey position is sad. Whilst Eminem arguably did this his whole career, it was as a young, anti-establishment renegade. It is a sorry sight however to see a grown man at his peak destroy his legacy by refusing to bow out gracefully.
Image: Mika-Photography via Wikimedia