Eminem’s meteoric rise to the top of rap in the 2000s was unexpected, to say the least. Yet with every album he releases, he tarnishes the work that made his early work so good. Music To Be Murdered By lacks a lot of the infectious energy and witty lyrics from earlier albums, but Eminem still raps with enough technical skill to keep us engaged.
Much criticism was levelled against Eminem regarding his recent music, saying he was stuck in the past. While there are still tracks where Eminem sounds bitter about these jabs, namely the opening track, he seems more open to adapting on this record. On ‘Godzilla’, Eminem showcases his fast flow, meticulously rapping around booming synths and a strong trap beat. The album’s strongest point is undoubtedly the production choices Eminem makes. Many beats on the record have Eminem rap outside of his comfort zone, with tracks like ‘Darkness’ and ‘In Too Deep’ having a much slower beat. ‘Darkness’ also has Eminem rapping from the perspective of the Las Vegas shooter, and the way he hides this until the end is extremely clever.
However, the record still has some of Eminem’s worst musical habits. ‘Those Kinda Nights’ is just Eminem rapping about various previous sexual encounters, with Ed Sheeran providing a weak and formulaic hook. ‘Leaving Heaven’ has overblown bass and a very simple beat brought back from the 2000s. While Eminem raps about his past trauma on ‘Stepdad’, the mismatch of the hook and general tone against the lyrical content is jarring, and downplays the heavy ideas the song touches on. Music To Be Murdered By is by all accounts a perfectly okay album, but given his recent music, it shows Eminem being willing to experiment with interesting production and incorporate elements of modern rap, and ultimately is the step in the right direction.
Image: EMR via Flickr