In today’s modern day of controversial figures in the music industry, there are very few individuals that are more divisive than Marshall Mathers, Eminem himself. While the man is undoubtedly a masterful lyricist, he also has had some rather questionable opinions and some debatable choices in his life. Nonetheless, the man helped pioneer rap into the 21st century, and he has been a prominent voice in the music industry for over two decades now. His latest release, “Kamikaze” was released at the end of August, and the music industry, as well as his fans, are quite divided to say the least.
Eminem was at the top of his game in the early 2000’s. The rap world was in awe of Eminem all the way through 2004’s “Encore,” but the prevailing opinion is that ever since then he just has not been the same. Almost 15 years later, that opinion just might change with his newest album “Kamikaze.”
The album was released without so much as a press release, and fans all over the internet were in shock when a brand new Eminem album dropped only eight months after his last one. Right off the bat, “Kamikaze” feels like a return to form for the fast rapping Mathers, but not everyone agrees. While many people think “Kamikaze” is some of his best work in years, others feel that is nothing more than angry ranting that further proves Eminem is a has-been.
I would argue with the former; this album is absolutely, and surprisingly, very well done. Eminem has obviously released successful singles over the years, but this feels like the first complete album ever since 2002’s “The Eminem Show.”
Right away the album shines with two insult-laced tracks that take jabs at nearly all of Eminem’s “haters” from the last few years in “The Ringer” and “Greatest.” Immediately, listeners know they are in for a treat of classic angry Eminem, and the train is not slowing down at all. Mathers goes out of the way to call out many well-known naysayers of his, from Die Antwoord to MGK and Drake. Even President Trump is not safe from his tirades.
The album continues on with the next few tracks, “Lucky You,” “Normal,” and “Stepping Stone.” Each one is just as strong as the last, and you really feel like you are listening to Eminem at the turn of the century. Insult after insult flies by and rhyme after rhyme flows through, and it is a ride that listeners do not want to get off.
In the latter half of the album, we have the title track, as well as a pair of songs called “Nice Guy,” and “Good Guy.” The title track continues along with the fury that has been thrown around thus far, but things start to change with the pair towards the end. It would not be Eminem without some controversy, and it is these two songs that many feel are out of place on the album. Personally, these songs are quite strong, and a welcome change of pace on an otherwise stellar album, but not everyone would agree.
Lastly, Eminem finishes off the album with a track titled “Venom,” which is going to be in the upcoming “Spiderman” film of the same name this October. It is a phenomenal bookend to an absolutely stunning return for Eminem, even though fans are very divided on the matter. However, one thing is clear: after years of struggling to break back into the genre that he helped mold, Eminem is back on top once more, and he looks like he is not going anywhere any time soon.