Read review of Eminem’s 10th studio album “Kamikaze” by Eminem.Pro
«Death is bigger than defeat» (敗北より死) – says Eminem’s promo for the new Kamikaze album.
Kamikaze (神 風) – translated from Japanese – “Divine Wind”, the name of a typhoon that twice, in 1274 and 1281, destroyed the ships of the Mongolian armada of Khan Kubilai on approach to the shores of Japan.
Lately, the events around Marshall Bruce Mathers III remind most of Shakespeare’s tragedies. His personal drama mixes with fights with colleagues, critics’ shelling and political scandals. Looks like criticizing Eminem’s music, his behavior, his looks, his lyrics and physical shape has become fashionable. Journalists, as well as pseudo fans, disassemble his lyrics in attempt to find inaccuracies, fails and signs of weakness and deterioration. I doubt any other artist now faces the same level of scrutiny and it’s hard to believe people are waiting so much for someone to fall. “Lost his actuality”, “Too old”, “Has no influence in the industry”… Aren’t these phrases contradictory?
People pay so much attention, spend so many efforts and time on someone so irrelevant, someone who is not able to make good music. That sounds funny to me. Every person, who talks trash about Eminem must be ready to present the world something that can be as valuable as Mister Mathers’ contribution to the culture. People quickly got used to categorical thinking, but they have forgotten that no man’s opinion is objective enough. “Revival” is not trash, but you can whether like it or not. It’s always a pleasure to hear a justified opinion, even if it is different from your own one. But the atmosphere around Eminem is more like a witch-hunt, than a dialogue between an artist and a critic. In one of his interviews Marshall said he is tired of “being America’s punching bag and motherfuckers just gonna think it’s cool and safe to say whatever they want about me”.
Author: Igor Basenko and Katerina Malik.
Translated and adapted for english speakers by: Katerina Malik, Elena Takmakova and Alaksey Zakharenkov.
“Kamikaze”, an album — protest, an album — statement, not only has become the answer to all critics, but also a preemptive strike on those who might have planned ambush the God of Rap. As for me, this firework of rage has more in common not with Shakespeare, but with another classical story by Gaston Leroux — The Phantom Of The Opera. As Eminem’s story unfolds, I start thinking: “Damn! We got a real modern Phantom of The Opera here!”.
Let me remind you of the story (or tell you this story if you haven’t heard it before). In Parisian opera strange and scary things are happening, for which people blame the mysterious Phantom of the Opera. The owners of the Opera House are so afraid of the Phantom, they pay him in order to keep him pleased, and even let him interfere into the managing process. But the owners change, and the new ones think that the Phantom is a ridiculous rumor, so they stop all payments and prefer not to take orders from the mystical basement dweller, which leads to numerous tragedies, deaths and overall mess (and here is the parallel I’ve made with the mumble rap: the current “owners” of the hip-hop scene obviously underestimated the Phantom of Hip-Hop). The story has a love involved, of course, and this vibe can easily be described by the track “Love the Way You Lie”. Christine Daae, Phantom’s love, who he intends to make a star, is enchanted by him and his talent, and is scared of him, his madness and his disfigured face. This combination is tearing her apart and at last she prefers a safer and more predictable Raul (Eminem’s relationship with Kim looked equally intense, at least the way it was reflected in his lyrics). Eminem and Erik (Phantom’s real name) have intertwined in my mind: both with dramatic past and hard present, both infinitely talented, both prone to self-destructive actions and toxic relationships. What conclusions should we make out of this analogy? That we must not “wake the sleeping giant”, don’t fight with someone who started the whole thing, because he’s the one who can end it. The final scene of The Phantom of the Opera shows that Erik has found the strength to forgive his haters and the woman he loved. In the case with Eminem, the “Kamikaze” release shows how far we are from the final scene.
On August 31st at 7:19 Moscow time Eminem has arranged an early Christmas by dropping an unexpected and unannounced 10th studio album “Kamikaze”.
My first impression of it was: “It’s a fucking bomb”. The bomb which angry Marshall decided to drop on his critics, including the ones who trashed his previous album “Revival”.
“Kamikaze” is one of those albums to listen to on repeat. Every song is likable and easy to listen to. I loved his previous album “Revival”. Some songs I liked more, some less, some got me hooked for a long time. Along with ePRO team we have analyzed every track, every punchline. Every time our impressions change. We also perceived some tracks differently after watching their live performances (I fell in love with “Nowhere Fast” after Em performed it at IHeart Music Awards 2018). For me “Revival” is a great album, maybe even the best of all Marshall’s albums, and I have been playing it on repeat for 9 months now.
But “Kamikaze” is a whole different story. I pounced on it like hungry. The album sounds insane even without analyzing lyrics. I listened to it over and over for several days. Since its release there was not a day I haven’t listened to it. Can’t remember something like this happening before. Our “Eminem.Pro” team loved it so much that we analyzed and translated 70 percent of the material for our readers in the first 24 hours.
“Tried not to overthink it…enjoy“— Eminem announced the release on his socials.
So let’s see what he created this time.
First — the cover. The cover of Eminem’s tenth album looks a lot like the cover of “Licensed to Ill” — the album by the legendary group Beastie Boys, which influenced Marshall a lot. And it’s a tribute to hip-hop veterans. The “Kamikaze” cover is done by Mike Saputo, who has been working with Shady Records for years and created a lot of stuff for the label. He has designed covers for several Eminem’s and other artists’ albums, merchandise, promo materials (there’s a big article on ePRO about his work, you can read it here). According to Mike, it took him only 3 days to create this cover, and Eminem made it clear he wanted to pay his respects to the legendary Beastie Boys.
In the cockpit of FU-2 aircraft (which, probably, means Fuck You Too) is Lt. Mathers III, and he is showing his middle finger, setting the tone of his new work and describing the main topic of the whole album. If we take a closer look at the cover, we will notice tons of interesting details. For example, Em’s classical symbols: the inverted letter E, Shady’s hockey mask and microphone-shaped marks for victims, symbolizing either his awards, or those he has dissed in this album.
The most interesting element of the cover is mentioning Slim Shady as an executive producer along with Dr. Dre. That explains why this album sounds so damn good: it was produced by the greats.
Another peculiarity of Eminem’s tenth album is the return of skits whit Paul Rosenberg. There are only two skits, which tell us the main things about the album: “Kamikaze” is a reply to critics, and Em doesn’t give a fuck what consequences it will bring, he’ll do it anyway.
Hey Em, It’s Paul. Umm, I listened to the new album. Umm, are you really gonna just reply to everybody who you don’t like what they have to say, uh, about you or the stuff you’re working on? I mean, I don’t know if that’s really a great idea, it’s-it’s like, what’s next? Kamikaze 2, the album where you reply to everybody who didn’t like the album that you made replying to everybody that didn’t like the previous album? It’s a slippery slope. I-I don’t know if it’s a really good idea. Umm, anyway, hit me back.
When I first listened to the album, I had a strong deja vu. It’s like hearing old Eminem from 00’s again. To a certain degree “Kamikaze” has an old-school sound, which brings us back in time to early Marshall’s works.
“I wanna punch the world in the fucking face right now”
The album starts from the sound of the plane crashing and an Intro, which sets up the mood for the whole album.
Yo, I’m just gonna write down my first thoughts, see where this takes me,
’cause I feel like I wanna punch the world in its fuckin’ face right now, yeah!
Marshall is here to kick ass, his goals are clear and he is very angry. But is it really that simple? If it wasn’t him, it would be. But with Em it never happens the easy way. He has hidden in the depth of his rhymes tons of interesting things.
From the first track “Kamikaze” impresses listeners with the awesomeness of the rhymes and lyrics. In “The Ringer” he continues the topic he started in “Chloraseptic ( Remix)”, recorded in January, 2018 as an answer to the criticism of the “Revival” album. This topic will be one of the main topics of the album. Possibly, already at that time Em had the idea of releasing the “Kamikaze” album.
In his rhymes Em addresses the new generation of hip-hop, fans’ double standards, the way media reacted to his previous album “Revival” and the way journalists treat him, and, of course, he hasn’t forgotten about the US President Donald Trump, which shows that he is still loyal to his principles and ideas.
The first lines of the album contain strikes on Vince Staples, who criticized Em’s BET Hip-Hop Awards freestyle (called it trash), and on Joe Budden (you must remember what he said). Punning mumble rappers, Em imitates Migos’ “puppy style”, also known as triple flow (“yes, bitch, I told you I’m a dog”). Mike Pence also gets a punch, along with Lil Pump, Lil Xan and, naturally, criticizing him mass-media (word play “media fingers”).
Just read carefully the lyrics of the first track and you’ll see how many things Em gathered in them. And he “was trying not to overthink”. A real flood of thoughts and anger, wrapped up in quality rhymes.
In the second speed track “Greatest” Em shows one more time who is the greatest rapper in the game, proving the right choice of the name for the track. By the way, Mike Will Made It, producer from Atlanta helped to produce this track. Do you remember his photos with Dr. Dre and Eminem at the studio, which were published in January, 2018?
In “Greatest” Em continues to attack the young generation of modern rappers, accusing them of excessive bragging and overflowing the scene with inexpressive and monotonous music.
So you sold 10 million albums, eh? (what?)
Only problem is you put out 10 million albums, eh? (haha)
Marshall tells newbies that if you have sold 10 millions copies of your albums — it’s a phenomenal achievement, but it’s not an achievement if you have put out 10 millions of albums, because it would mean that each of your albums was sold just once. Eminem uses this hyperbola to draw attention to the fact, that some artists concentrate on the quantity of recordings instead of quality.
He hasn’t left behind “Die Antwoord”, the group which he had mentioned in his single “Untouchable” from the “Revival” album. Guys didn’t like that Em mispronounced their name, so they decided to respond him. Em didn’t hesitate to fire back.
I know there are people that are pissed about the way
I misprounouced their name, “Die Antwoord!”
Fuck, I still can’t say this shit,
but how quickly they forget
Marshall refers to his lines from “Untouchable”, where he intentionally mispronounced the name of the group “Die Antwoord”: “I’d rather hear ‘em say “Die N-word” than Die Antwoord / Ninja, now it’s better disguised banter”. (By the way, read my “Untouchable” review in EJ #30).
In “Greatest” Eminem announces that he will continue to “attack” other rappers in the “Kamikaze” album, and he really does it further in the album in the tracks “Not Alike” and “Fall”. Rapping “‘Cause if I lose it we can rewind to some old Ja Rule shit”, Eminem is addressing his beef with Ja Rule, and he warns all rappers that if he wants, he can destroy their careers. (For those of you, who don’t remember, that beef took place 16 years ago because of 50 Cent’s contract with Shady Records, and it has become the end of Ja Rule’s career).
Yelawolf, Em’s colleague from Shady Records, also gets some attention. He is mentioned in the line “Psychopath, Michael’s Jack’s blowin’ up like a raft”, referencing their collaboration track from the “Shady XV” album, hinting at Michael’s nervous breakdown in June 2016 and the fact that he left the label after his album “Trunk Muzik 3” was released.
It’s interesting that in the “Kamikaze” album Eminem puts the lines with M-16 bullets, when he rhymes: “Bars are like bullets when I spit them schemes / That’s why I call the motherfuckers M-16’s”. The hip-hop verse is also called “16”, because it consists of 16 bars. This album is definitely full of bullets.
In the third track “Lucky You”, which has an outstanding sound, Eminem continues to criticize modern hip-hop, especially trap and mumble. In this song Marshall presents Joyner Lucas, who might be his new protégé. As he told later in his interview with Sway, he sees himself at the beginning of Joyner’s career. Two artists make a great combination of sound, rhymes and flow. Marshall had also noticed that Joyner is “with a hard-edged narrative approach”.
Joyner’s and Em’s verses in “Lucky You” are contrasted. On the one hand, we got a young aspiring artist, who makes great music, but who is not recognized or rewarded for it yet. On the other hand, there’s a hip-hop stage veteran, leader of the industry, with big amount of awards, but whose role in the modern hip-hop is severely underestimated by critics, colleagues and listeners.
It’s worth noting, that in “Lucky You” Eminem raps one part of the second verse even faster than he raps in “Rap God”, almost as fast as he does in “Majesty”. He spits 205 syllables in 20 seconds, which gives us about 10,2 syllables per second (compared to “Rap God” with 9,6 per second, and “Majesty” with 10,3).
Proceeding with the criticism of the contemporary hip-hop, Eminem raps in “Lucky You” about the lack of lyrical content today, saying that mainstream rappers don’t bring up real topics, their lyrics are too simple, rhymes are too plain and they don’t try to present any idea to listeners. Eminem even imitates the triplet flow (3 notes in 1 beat), which has been criticized before (and not only by Eminem) for being used too much in the mainstream rap.
Em also attacks new generation rappers for having forgotten the roots of the genre they work in, and for not paying enough homage to the predecessors. Having millions of streams/views/ likes on social media and big sums of easy money from digital platforms such as iTunes, YouTube, Apple Music, Spotify they put themselves above those who were before them. Nowadays a lot of young rappers can put themselves in one row with the hip-hop legends such as Jay-Z, 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G., and even aren’t afraid to say that they surpass the veterans. Little bastard MGK and his Eminem’s diss is a great example of this.
When 2Pac, Biggie or Eminem started their careers there were no digital platforms with huge audience, they had to work hard for each album sale and for each sold-out concert. Today’s generation are not familiar with this. In “Lucky You” Eminem says that despite all his capabilities, he still works hard on his music, and writes lyrics until “wheels fall off” (“But I wrote ’til the wheels fall off, I’m workin’ tirelessly, ayy”). And while he is still capable of writing his own rhymes, no hater can make him leave the rap game.
Paul, yo, um. So I got your message, I wish you would answer the fuckin’ phone. Um… (Turn right). Yo, I don’t plan to reply to everybody who fuckin’ says something fucked up about me. But I will say this, I was reading some comments last night about, like (Turn right), what people are fuckin’ saying about Revival. And uhh… Yo, this Yahoo motherfucker, whatever the fuck his name is, said I rhy—literally said I rhymed “rhymes” with “chimes”. “Sucker free, confidence high… Such a breeze when I pen rhymes”. (Turn right). Like, you don’t understand I’m rhyming the entire fuckin’ sentence you fuckin’ moron. (In 100 feet, turn left). It’s my fault ‘cause you’re fuckin’ stupid… But I swear to God this motherfucker lives in Michigan and I think I figured out his address… And I’m on my way to his fuckin’ house right now. (Turn left). I’ll hit you back later.
I am talking to you, but you already know who the fuck you are
Em continues to assault modern rappers, mumble rappers in particular, in the track “Not Alike”, recorded along with his friend from the times of Bad Meets Evil hip-hop duo — Royce 5’9“. Em and Royce make fun of mumble rappers, mocking their flow and rhymes. For example, in “Not Alike” chorus Em imitates chorus from Migos’ “Bad & Boujee” track, rhyming incoherent word set. And Royce is rapping about modern rappers’ rhymes being too childish.
One of interesting things about “Not Alike” is Eminem mentioning Machine Gun Kelly. Marshall refers to the track “No Reason” — collaboration of MGK and Tech N9ne, in which MGK attacked Em. Eminem said MGK shouldn’t have used this collaboration to diss him, and he shouldn’t have dragged into this Tech N9ne, who also had collaborated with Em on the songs “The Anthem” и “Speedom”. And, of course, Eminem remembered how MGK was speaking about his daughter Hailey Jade and Shade 45.
I don’t want to go deeper into the story of the beef between MGK and Eminem, we have a detailed story about it on www.Eminem.pro (you can read it here, if you don’t remember). As Marshall explained in interview with Sway, he was more irritated by MGK telling everyone in the industry that Eminem had banned his music form Shade45 on SiriusXM, than by MGK’s tweet about his under aged daughter.
Now you wanna come and fuck with me, huh?
This little cock-sucker, he must be feelin’ himself
He wants to keep up his tough demeanor
So he does a feature, decides to team up with Nina
But next time you don’t gotta use Tech N9ne
If you wanna come at me with a sub, Machine Gun
And I’m talkin’ to you, but you already know who the fuck you are, Kelly
I don’t use sublims and sure as fuck don’t sneak-diss
But keep commenting on my daughter Hailie
In the same interview he explained that he mentioned Machine Gun Kelly on “Kamikaze” not because of Kelly’s tweet about Hailie. “The reason of this diss is much smaller” … “The reason of the diss is”, — told Em, — “is that he said: “I’m the best rapper alive since my favorite rapper kicked me out of Shade 45”…
Like I’m trying to take his career away from him, but I don’t give a fuck about his career. Do you really think I think about you? Do you have any idea how many rappers who are better than you there are there in the world? You’re not even part of the conversation, I don’t care if you say anything or not. But when you come to Tech N9ne’s album and people go: “Yo, MGK has dissed you, he dissed you, he did it! I turn on. I ask myself if he has really got me down? I keep listening. He’s just saying: “You’re not Gods”. And then someone sends a screen from his Twitter. And it said: “Finally dropped the weight off my shoulders, you’re just rapping, you’re not God”. Something like that. And I’m like … In the song he sings: “You all just rap, you’re not Gods.” And then he tweeted: “You’re just rapping, you’re not God.” Dropped the weight off his shoulders. And by the way, it was right before his freestyle about Shade 45. And I’m like: “Shut the fuck up, bitch … Just shut the fuck up. Now I…
As you know, MGK responded to Eminem’s words by releasing diss-track “Rap Devil”, and Eminem buried him with his response “Killshot”. But that’s another story. Let’s get back to the “Kamikaze” review.
In “Not Alike” Eminem openly attacks MGK (unlike MGK himself), dedicating a whole verse to him.
But just in case you forgot really and need Ja memories
Jarred like strawberry or pineapple, apricot jelly
I respond rarely, but this time Shady ‘bout to sound off
Like a fuckin’ cocked semi-Glock demi-god
Let me put a fuckin’ silencer on this little
non-threatening blond fairy cornball takin’ shots at me
You’re not ready, fool, break yourself like Rocksteady Crew
Obviously, I’m not gettin’ through
We can get it poppin’ like Redenbach, lettin’ off like Remy Ma
Heavy artillery, Godzilla, harsh with a hard shell
With a motherfucking heart bigger than Bizarre’s belly
Only time you’ll ever say I lost / You’ll be talkin’
‘bout Fetty Wap, better call Diddy
Just to try to get me off, and you better hope
I don’t call Trick Trick
Bitch, this shit don’t fly in our city
You attacked “Revival”? I’m attacking you!
Title track from the “Kamikaze” album is concentrated on Eminem’s previous work — “Revival album, which didn’t go over well with critics and fans.
Marshall is not happy with the way things turned out for “Revival”. He is angry his album was undeservedly poorly received and criticized. And that’s why he wants to thrash everyone. “Kamikaze” is a track that sounds fun and starts from “Revival” being compared to track “FACK” (many critics consider this track to be Eminem’s worst one, don’t listen to critics, friends).
“Yeah, I’m a fuckin’ kamikaze crashin’ into everything. / To beat me, like an Islamic Nazi, is impossible”, — Em says in the beginning of the track, stating his invincibility and showing the highest level of rhyming, using absurd phrase “Islamic Nazi” (which just can’t be true). “Kamikaze” is an upbeat track, recorded in a manner of a good old Slim Shady, and Eminem is releasing his anger even more. He’s not just attacking anyone or bragging. In the first half of the album he addressed his critics and his enemies, but in this track he is just showing his weapons. Releasing an album with this amount of assaults and disses, responding to haters is a big risk for his sales and his career in general, but Marshall understands it and he couldn’t care less, because he is a “fuckin’ Kamikaze”.
The mood of the track is similar to the mood of a Kamikaze pilot, who is not afraid of dying and doesn’t care about anything but destroying his enemies, despite the consequences. This mood is echoing during the whole album. Em craves payback and wants nothing but blood of his opponents.
In the track “Kamikaze” Eminem also speaks clearly about his position on ghostwriting (ghostwriter is a person who writes lyrics for another MC). Em doesn’t accept this and he wonders, how could someone be into hip-hop if he can’t write his own lyrics? Em wants to convey the idea that if your text wasn’t written by you, you can’t be considered a real MC, and can’t be trusted because your words were not said by you. It’s very relevant for the young generation of rappers, as they use ghostwriters and still pretend to be on the top of the game.
Along with the fans we thought that when Em was speaking about ghostwriters, he implied Drake, but Marshall heard of those rumors and commented on the situation in his interview with Sway, refuting fans’ guesses:
I will always treat Drake well because he did something good for one of my daughters that I will never forget, and I will always be grateful for it to him, and I like Drake. What I’m trying to say in these lines is that I don’t know what’s true and what’s not. At this stage. Because there’s a lot of shit going on about that rapper, or about this one… and I’m saying that personally I don’t do that, I don’t do that, and I will never do that. If I need a ghostwriter, I just have to throw the fucking mic away. You know? These are my personal beliefs. If there are people who use ghostwriters… Fine… If that’s okay with you… But I speak for myself, I don’t do like that… No matter what other dudes do, it’s not about me. Never, not a single line. I wouldn’t be able to have fun if I wasn’t able to write myself.
Continuing the sabre-rattling in his track “Kamikaze”, Emimem reminds that he is one of the best-selling artists of all time, not to mention hip-hop artists, among which he is undeniably the first. Throughout the album Em crashes down on critics, rappers and haters who wrote negative reviews on “Revival”. Em wants to destroy all his critics, though he is not sure if he’s gonna survive this attack or not, just like a Japanese kamikaze, who commits suicide to defeat the enemy. His reputation is at stake. Using word “cyclone” and “psycho” in a wordplay he shows how angry and frustrated he is. And he is ready to do whatever it takes to strike back on offenders.
Once Eminem declared his abilities, he proceeds to actions, and in his main crushing track “Fall” he makes a dead-set at Joe Budden and Tyler The Creator, who hurt him the most with their reviews on “Revival”, and he also keeps condemning the state of contemporary hip-hop. “Fall” starts with Em admitting it took him too long (almost 9 months) to respond to criticism. Paul and Dre advised him to think twice before releasing this album, and Em demonstrates that even though they are the only people who he might listen to, nothing could stop him since “Revival” failed and hip-hop is in a state of dilapidation.
An important place in “Fall” is allotted to Eminem’s 10th sobriety anniversary (he celebrated it in April, 2018). This struggle is his promise to himself to stay away from drugs. Another promise was made in “Not Afraid”, where Em states that he was done with all the beef: “No more beef lingers / No more drama from now on”. Now he realizes he is breaking this promise, because “Fall”, as well as the rest of the album, is a diss to many rappers. This illustrates that he was affected so greatly by the undeserved negative reception of “Revival”, that he had to break one of his promises and even call Slim Shady back.
You wanted Shady? You got him!
In the second verse of “Fall” Eminem attacks Joe Budden and DJ Academiks, hosts of “Everyday Struggle” show, who in December, 2017 expressed his negativity regarding “Revival”, and especially regarding Em’s most private track “Walk on Water”. Joe criticized “Revival” right after the track-list was released. He made his opinion about the first single, cover and track names. An interesting fact is that Eminem released “Kamikaze” on Joe’s 38th birthday (August 31th). In “Fall” he promises to kill Budden if he doesn’t shut up and then to zip up the bag with his body in it.
Somebody tell Budden before I snap, he better fasten it
Or have his body bag get zipped
The closest thing he’s had to hits is smackin’ bitches
We must admit that Em didn’t pay much attention to Joe, according to his words, they weren’t so close. Apparently, Em just didn’t give much fucks about Joe.
DJ Akademiks, who called “Revival” trash as soon as it was released, got his share of Em’s anger. You must remember how after the teaser for the “River” video was published, where Eminem was in a hotel room with Sarati, Akademiks rushed to tell his subscribers that Eminem was spotted with a hooker. Later it was obvious that it was just a promo campaign. Referring to that situation, Em is using a word play to answer Akademiks:
And don’t make me have to give it back to Akademiks
Say this shit is trash again, I’ll have you twisted
Like you had it when you thought you had me slippin’ at the telly
Even when I’m gettin’ brain, you’ll never catch me with a thot
The most controversial line in “Kamikaze” must be the line from “Fall”, where Eminem disses Tyler The Creator for calling his track “Walk on Water” awful on Twitter.
Tyler create nothin’, I see why you called yourself a [faggot], bitch
It’s not just ‘cause you lack attention
It’s because you worship D12’s balls, you’re sack-religious
If you’re gonna critique me / You better at least be as good or better
This line with the word “faggot” was met with the mass criticism in media. Eminem thinks Tyler’s comment was inappropriate, due to their previous relationships. Tyler admired Eminem before that, and Eminem respected him in return. Though situation with Tyler is not that bad as with MGK or Joe, Eminem admitted he went too far in his attempt to hurt Tyler and he feels uncomfortable about it now. He also recognized that he has offended the whole community by this word, not only Tyler.
And then tell the Grammys to go and fuck themselves
They suck the blood from all the biggest artists like some leeches
So they nominate ‘em, get ‘em there, get a name to MC the show
Every parasite needs a host (haha)
Above all that, Eminem decided to turn his anger to Grammy Awards, as he believes that this award has rotten lately. I’m glad that this is not only my opinion and that key personalities from music industry share it with me. I believe the last adequate ceremony was in 2011. After that Grammy was impossible to watch, nominees were doubtful and made me resent. In “Fall” Eminem speaks harshly about the award, calling it a parasite, comparing it to leech, that sucks music out of artists like blood.Eminem also addressed Grammy in his interview with Sway:
Every fucking year, I’m just tired of it. And for some unknown reason they always give you these hints that you might win the “Album of the Year”, it mattered to me, but now I don’t think so. This year, during the Grammy time, I was at home and watched how Jay and Kendrick did not get it. And I felt like one of them would get it, felt like Lucas would get a Grammy for “Not Racist”. He absolutely had to get that fucking Grammy. Every year when we were nominated for the Album of the Year, we would come, and then “the Winner is Nora Jones!”… Who?… I’m not trying to say anything bad about her music, I just… I’ve never heard of her before. Neither me nor my friends. Well, we went like “OK” and then the Steely Dan. OK, I know Stilli Dan, I heard something about him. But better than Marshall Matters’ LP? OK, fine. I saw the same shit with Fifty, Fifty didn’t get “The Better New Artist”. No one’s ever blown up like that since Snoop did that! My first album couldn’t do that. I’ve never seen anyone blow up with the first album like he did. And he didn’t get a Grammy. Next year I was back there. What was going on at that time? “The Eminem Show”? There’s nothing wrong with me! I don’t care if I lose to a fucking Kanye or someone else… I was like OK, I respect him, I know who he is, Kanye has had a strong influence on the music. OK! But stop picking us up here to sell your fucking show to the highest bidder by throwing everyone in a row every fucking time! Since then I just said never invite me again, please, just don’t do it. My answer is “no” for the next hundred million years. I’ll never go to the Grammys again in my life. They give the victory to whoever they want, they give it to their “favorites”, fucking “ohh, critics praised very much, but in fact there were sold two records only”. Of course, it’s not always about sales, I understand, Vanilla Ice is a good example of that, I understand. But sometimes it happens when something unimaginable covers the whole world and has a huge impact on the music, and you give the award…. Fucking Lottie Dottie?.. Who? Lottie Dottie!!! Well Lottie … You know, I don’t even know who beat Kendrick and Jay! It seems like they’re all deaf and don’t even notice what’s going on in the business, but they think that “Oh, we’ll call Beyoncé here, we’ll call Jay, we’ll say that all those names were here today,” so I guarantee you that the people from the Grammys have contacted Beyoncé’s team or Jay-Z’s and hinted… Every year they hint that you’re going to win. Just for you to come in.
Note: “Complex” magazine have called “The Marshall Mathers LP” the biggest victim of the Grammy’s neglect of all time. In 2011 Eminem’s album was one of the most likely candidate to win “Album of the Year”, competing with “Kid A” by Radiohead, “Midnite Vultures” by Bec and “You’re The One” by Paul Simon, but the award went to a coming from nowhere group “Steely Dan” and their album “Two Against The Nature”. The biggest tracks in 2001 were, probably, “Stan” and “The Real Slim Shady”, but although Eminem was nominated in 4 categories, only got 3 awards: “Best Rap Album”, “Best Rap Solo”, and “Best Rap Duo or Group”.
In the end of “Fall” Eminem slaps Lord Jamar, who told DJ Vlad that Eminem is a guest in a house of hi-hop, because he is white and can’t be a part of “culture”.
In his response Eminem compares himself to the rock’n’roll legend Elvis Presley, who was also convicted in stealing black music and selling it to masses. Em has already brought up this topic in “White America” and “Without Me”. He also tells Jamar how strongly he has influenced hip-hop and modern rappers, “Hopsins, the Logics, the Coles, the Seans, the K-Dots, the 5’9”s“.
Eminem reminds that it was him and Dre who raised 50 Cent, having him signed to “Shady Records” and “Aftremath Entertainment”.
The Real Marshall: even closer to his fans, even more emotions, even more open-minded
In “Kamikaze” Eminem is not only erupting his anger and resentment. In this new album Marshall also reveals other feelings, opening up in front of his listeners and fans.
For example, in “Normal”, which I personally consider to be one of the coolest tracks on the album, Eminem expresses his desire to be in a normal relationship, contrary to the dangerous ones he has created in some of his songs, such as “Love the Way You Lie”, “Tragic Endings” and “Revenge”. And at the same time in “Normal” Em opens up about his need of relationship, that would be different than his real relationship with Kim, which was brightly portrayed in his early tracks “Kim” or “Love You More”.
The track “Normal” illustrates one more time how much Marshall has grown as a person and as an artist in last years. This track is logical sequel of the track “Bad Husband” from the “Revival” album, on which he revealed to the public the details of his marriage, for which he is apologizing in “Kamikaze”.
We at ePro think that in “Normal” Eminem speaks about his ex wife Kim and his feelings to her that are still in him.
She won me over the second she tried to run me over
Similarities in “Normal” and in another track from “Revival” — “Remind Me” — further prove our theories. In “Remind Me” intro Em described his first impression of Kim: crazy girl, who scares people. But the young Marshall finds it beautiful, because he thinks he is crazy too. In “Normal” Eminem compares him and his partner to a flammable mix.
“Normal” is a very ambiguous track, Em probably has hidden some message in it, but all we can do is guess.
Following the relationship topic Eminem has recorded two connected tracks for “Kamikaze” — “Nice Guy” and “Good Guy”. These records narrate about Em’s love life, where he is just trying to be a “nice guy”. They illustrate that his relationship with his partner are complicated, twisted and sometimes frustrating.
Both songs were recorded with Eminem’s new protégé Jessie Reyez, whose talent amazed Marshall. He told Sway that he plans to help her build a career.
I see “Nice Guy” and “Good Guy” as a pleasant addition to the “Kamikaze” album. They are not carrying a lot of meaning, but they do sound great and remind the fans Eminem is a regular person with normal emotions and feelings, just as any other man. And as any other person, he seeks a stable connection with an important person to him.
D12 is over
The most emotional track on “Kamikaze” is “Stepping Stone”, which tells the story of D12 band, how it all began and how it all ended.
Em is reminiscing the old times with the band and admits Proof’s death crushed them. He apologizes to his friends, with whom he has started the career for being distant and for not discussing it earlier. At the end of the day it destroyed their band.
The death of Doody broke us in two
We were thrown for a loop, ain’t none of us know what to do” — Eminem.
He mentiones his own problems (maybe drug addiction or personal life problems) and solo careers of the members of the band as reasons of D12 falling apart.
The death of Doody broke us in two
We were thrown for a loop, ain’t none of us know what to do
And at the time I was goin’ through my own struggles too
So I wasn’t in no condition to be coachin’ us through
Everyone tried to go solo, really nobody blew
In “Stepping Stone” Marshall regrets that he didn’t become the connecting link, couldn’t replace Proof. Proof’s death remains the main reason that led to D12’s collapse.
‘Cause the truth is, the moment that Proof died, so did the group
In the end of the track Em tells something that we all knew, but didn’t want to believe, discuss and accept. Every Eminem’s fan dreams of a new D12 album, but Eminem ends this anticipation by saying “D12 is over”.
Done all we possibly can, I know we kept our hopes up
But the longer we spend livin’ this lie that we live
The less is left for closure, so let’s let this go
It’s not goodbye to our friendship, but D12 is over
Even though in the track he is definite about the end of D12, after I watched his interview with Sway I though that Eminem was a bit contradictory or disingenuous, when he said: “To record a new album now … in this environment… I just don’t know if we would be able to do that”.
So while he is drawing the line and telling “D12 is over”, he is hinting that atmosphere might change and become more pleasant for recording a new album.
Anyway, Marshall is sharing his deepest emotions with us, and, more important, with guys from D12.
I got a song filled with shit for the strong-willed
When the world gives you a raw deal
Sets you off ‘til you scream, “Piss off! Screw you!”
When it talks to you like you don’t belong
Or tells you you’re in the wrong field
When something’s in your mitochondrial
‘Cause it latched on to you, like—
Knock-knock, let the Devil in
“Manevolent as I’ve ever been, head is spinnin’”, – raps Eminem in “Venom”, final track of the “Kamikaze” album. He draws a parallel between himself and Venom (parasite symbiote from the Marvel universe) and compares himself to Devil or a monster. Reviews and critics have made Eminem very angry. This anger spawned the “Kamikaze” album.
In “Venom” Em linked himself to a character by Edgar Allan Poe, who hears the heartbeat of his dead victims.
In the final track Em goes back in time to the beginning of his career, remembering Scribble Jam, Rap Olympics, times when he and his friends from D12 were sleeping in bad motels and moment, when Dr. Dre believed in him and showed Slim Shady to the world. Even back then Em realized he would face a big amount of hate, criticism and envy due to his success. In “Venom” Eminem tells that he was always ready to strike back and to punch this fucking world in the face. And now…
Square in the face, this fuckin’ world better prepare to get laced
Because they’re gonna taste my—
One more time Eminem compares his rhymes to bullets (“With the ballpoint pen I’m / Gun cocked, bump stock, double-aught, buckshot”), showing his opponents he still has enough shit to throw at them even when he recorded 12 tracks.
Slim be a combination of an actual kamikaze and Gandhi (Gandhi)
Translation, I will probably kill us both
Now we realize Slim Shady is a kamikaze. Em has locked away his alter ego to write “Revival”, but after he faced all the negativity, he had to set him free, and when he did that he wasn’t sure if Slim was gonna survive this attack or not.
In the last verse of “Venom” Emimen portrays himself as a parasite, released on his listeners and scares their parents with his infinite influence on his fans. Here Eminem has a curious spin on the Venom symbol topic. He pictures himself as a normal person, and a powerful influencer at the same time. Just like Venom he intrudes bodies of his fans and changes their lives.
So escapin’ me is impossible
I latch onto you like a—parasite
And I probably ruined your parents’ life
And your childhood too
’Cause if I’m the music that y’all grew up on
I’m responsible for you retarded fools
I’m the super villain Dad and Mom was losin’ their marbles to
You marvel that? Eddie Brock is you
And I’m the suit, so call me—Venom
20 years… 2 or maybe 3 generations of listeners grew up on Eminem’s music, admired him, loved him, made tattoos in his honor. We can say for sure that Eminem definitely influenced on all his listeners. But now people have started to forget what brought Eminem on top of the rap industry.
From “Revival” to “Kamikaze”
The “Kamikaze” album is a logical continuation of the “Revival” album. And, like Marshall said, without “Revival” and all its critics, he wouldn’t be able to create “Kamikaze”. “Revival”, which showed us Eminem as a vulnerable person with all his feelings, emotions, experiences for the first time, album in which being so close has become a necessary step in creating “Kamikaze”.
Negative reviews were always painful for Eminem, he opened up about it in “Walk on Water”, and the flood of criticism of “Revival” has become a catalyst that led Em to the state where he needed to let his emotions out. And to cope with it he needed Slim Shady.
This new album shows us the same regular person with the same human emotions, but this time he expresses it all in a different way.
“Revival” revealed a grown up artist with his principles and civil position. Nothing has changed during the past months, his principles are still there, and it doesn’t look like Eminem is going to betray them. He accents it by expressing his opinions on uncomfortable topics, such as current hip-hop industry state, ghostwriters and once again Trump politics. The main thing is that Marshall is again using his platform, his music, his name to deliver his message to society. Like my colleague Katerina Malik noticed, nowadays Eminem plays the role of a strict parent in hip-hop community. He scolds the younger generation, but they definitely deserve that.
“Kamikaze is another way of releasing emotions, sharing them with the public. And it’s a way to give fans what they were asking for”.
Many fans were saying that Eminem had lost it, that he can’t be considered the top artist anymore and that he should give up his career. But “Kamikaze” has proved… No, there is no need to prove anything, ha has done it years ago… Em has reminded that he is still the best, he confirmed his status and his right to be on top. He demonstrated no one should mess with him, because he can diss anyone and fight back so hard that will knock out the offender, just like in good old days. He pointed out the sad state of the contemporary hip-hop, and with hip-hop being so pathetic right now there’s no one to take his place.
And he is not ready to leave yet. His eyes are sparkling, he still enjoys writing lyrics and he will please us with his work.
Not only Eminem has pleased his fans by releasing “Kamikaze”, but also has blown up the industry and media (which one more time provided double standards they have in judging him by writing tons of negative reviews with low ratings right after the album was released). Em was the leader of the Global digital Artist Ranking for two weeks. His new record debuted on the 1st place on the iTunes album chart in 103 countries, and it was on the top of Billboard 200 (with 434,000 units sold first week), and it held position on the iTunes chart for two weeks in 80 countries. On all streaming platforms “Kamikaze” is still on top of the charts and it’s not going drop its positions. All tracks from “Kamikaze” entered the Billboard Top 100 chart and Top-20 charts on streaming services. Damn, who else can do it now without any promo campaign?
Now all Eminem’s fan base can sleep tight. Slim Shady has survived the attack. He clearly showed what he is capable of. And you shouldn’t forget that next time when you decide to criticize him and his work. You know, I think “Kamikaze” is another career peek for Eminem, which will be hard to climb for his competitors.
Hip-hop Phantom chose not to remain silent and if he is going to be kind enough to forgive his unreasonable opponents and enemies is still a question waiting for response.
And now I congratulate Eminem on the stunning album, where he made his thoughts absolutely clear to the public!
And “Revival”… I think the fans were just not ready for it and couldn’t appreciate that precious gift they got. It was too much to give. Once you listen to “Kamikaze”, I suggest you read my review on the “Revival” album, listen to it one more time and try to understand better what Marshall was trying to tell you.