Review: Eminem’s ‘Kamikaze’ doesn’t shatter any expectations


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Story by Isong Maro / Contributing Writer

Marshall Mathers, better known as Eminem, has released a new album titled “Kamikaze.” The album was released unexpectedly and featured little to no promotion prior to its release. The artwork for the album features the tail of a fighter jet and is a shoutout to the Beastie Boys’ album “License to Ill” released in 1986.

“Kamikaze” is a follow-up to his last LP, “Revival,” released in 2017, which received a lot of backlash and poor reviews. One of such was given by media personality Joe Budden, who was also a member of the now-defunct rap group Slaughterhouse that was signed to Eminem’s Shady Records. He felt that the subject matter on “Revival” was a marketing scheme meant to take advantage of the ongoing political and racial divide in America.

This album is 13 tracks in length and has a more contemporary hip-hop sound with a lot of trap influences, a sound that Eminem has not really explored on his albums before. Some of the producers on this project include Boi-1da, S1, Mike Will Made It, Ronny J and MTSU student Tay Keith. Eminem is also credited as a producer on a few songs as well.

Featured artists on this project include Joyner Lucas, Jessie Reyez, frequent Eminem collaborator Royce da 5’9” and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver whose vocals can be heard on the song “Fall.” Vernon is not officially credited.

A lot of the subject matter on this album appears to be a response to the criticism that Eminem received for “Revival.” He also talks about his distaste for new wave hip-hop. Sonically, the album features playful and up-tempo beats similar to some of Eminem’s older work but with more contemporary production techniques. On the track “Greatest,” Eminem effortlessly rhymes over one the aforementioned beats, talking up his accomplishments.

“Lucky You” features production from Boi-1da and has Eminem trading fast-paced rhymes with Joyner Lucas over a very catchy beat.

A low point on the album is the song “Normal,” where Eminem talks about his relationship woes in a manner that is ironically cringeworthy. However, it is very reminiscent of Eminem songs in the 2000s. There also two skits on the album. The skits are phone recordings between Eminem and his manager, Paul Rosenberg, where Paul appears to be trying, unsuccessfully, to talk Eminem out of making this album. The album probably could have done without these skits.

Eminem’s contribution to hip-hop is undeniable, and his legend status was never really in question, despite the poor reviews that his last album “Revival” received. Making an entire album just to rehash this might not necessarily be the best idea, given the point he is at in his career.

While this album is a solid body of work, if Eminem never makes another album, it might not be a befitting closer to an amazing solo discography. This project is exactly what one would expect from an Eminem album in 2018. However, it might be time for Eminem to make his “4:44.”

To contact Lifestyles Editor Sydney Wagner, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

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