Hip Hop | Rap
It is a secret to very few people that the once-godly rap artist Eminem offered us a fair share of flops in the decade just gone. in particular, his 2017 record Revival, and his surprise drop the following year, Kamikaze.
To elaborate a bit more on the recent history of Eminem’s fall from grace, Revival was ironically, anything but a revival. This album was downright atrocious, in a way that needs little justification at this point.
As for Kamikaze, which followed shortly after towards the end of August 2018, I saw as a slight improvement upon Revival with this newest album, but that still wasn’t saying much, and the album was still very poorly received. As well as this, I would actually argue that the misplaced anger, and the ties to Revival on Kamikaze was even more of an eye roll.
With the quick history lesson covered, we can fast-forward to January 2020, and Eminem surprise-dropped a new project, titled Music To be Murdered By.
With the bombardment of new music that I’ve had to tend to and the end of last week, I failed to even realise that Eminem had released this new project, until I was made aware of it on the evening of last Friday.
Given the way I felt about the last two projects, I was more reluctant than ever to give an Eminem album a listen. I still felt it fairly soon to be releasing yet another project after Kamikaze (less than a year and a half). And given the title, I assumed that Eminem would still be flailing about angrily and blindly, attacking, or “murdering” other artists. The only thing which forced me to listen to Music To Be Murdered By, was that it seemed to have slightly more critical praise than the two prior projects.
But does Music To Be Murdered By really lift Eminem from the hole he has been digging for himself? My answer would be…sort of.
Music To Be Murdered By is yet another slight step away from the hellhole that Revival spawned. However, I would say that this album improves upon Kamikaze more than Kamikaze did upon Revival. Whether that be because of the reunion of Eminem and Dr. Dre, or just a slightly different outlook for the rap artist, there is much less of a selfish focus on the whole “Eminem vs the world” attitude, and instead turns to more socially relevant subject matters like domestic abuse in the song “Stepdad”, and even the 2017 Las Vegas shooting on the lead track “Darkness”.
I would like to give credit to “Darkness” for being the most genius song that Eminem has crafted in years (barely even arguable at this point). but the way that Eminem, at first, leads listeners to believe that he is rapping about his own pre-performance anxiety, he puts a fatal plot twist on the narrative to reveal that the titular narrator of the track is in-fact Stephen Paddock, the individual who committed the Las Vegas shooting. Pair that with a beat which remixed Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence”, and you have a track whose masterful crafted feels true to the Eminem who reigned as a rap god back in the 2000's.
But of course, while there is a handful of other songs that I found enjoyable on this album, I also have to point out that there are simultaneously another handful of tracks, which share the same sins as the two previous albums, hence making this album quite the mixed bag.
But a mixed bag is certainly an improvement upon two albums that I would regard as fundamentally bad. Although, a mixed bag is still far from good. So I will conclude by stating that Music To Be Murdered By is the next step in a hopeful pathway that Eminem will eventually return to his former glory, but theres still a fairly long way to go.
Favourite Tracks: Darkness | Yah Yah | Stepdad
Least Favourite Track: Those Kinda Nights
Marshall B. Mathers III | Shady/Aftermath/Interscope Records