It seems like it was just yesterday that Eminem ruined his career with the unbelievably terrible Revival. Released in Dec. 2017, it was a joke of an album that featured everything from outdated bars to poor mixing. It seemed as if Eminem, who once ruled the rap game, had fallen off. Fast forward to Aug. 2018, and we have a new, surprise album drop from Slim Shady. Called Kamikaze, the album was released with no promotion, except for one tweet by Eminem that simply said, “Tried not 2 overthink this 1… enjoy.” Fans of Eminem were quick to praise the album, saying, “the king is back,” and “G.O.A.T.”
But after a few listens, it’s evident that Eminem is simply too outdated for the new generation of hip hop listeners. While we do see a vast upgrade in bars and production from his previous 2017 effort Revival, it’s simply not enough to make Eminem relevant again. It’s also clear that this album was meant as nothing but a barrage of insults to the new generation of rappers. Every song seems to contain a different jab at a different rapper, some, albeit, more clever than others. However, Eminem does not shy away from controversy on the new tape. Eminem still somehow struggles to understand that the homophobic words he uses in his songs have an impact beyond music. On “The Fall,” Eminem proves this once again with his vulgar use of hate speech against Tyler, the Creator.
In the past, Eminem has always defended his use of homophobic slurs by saying that he doesn’t use them as derogatory terms. The same is true this time around, with Eminem stating to a reporter, “Those kind of words, when I came up battle-rappin’ or whatever, I never equated those words [with being gay],” but this rhetoric has been used almost endlessly by the rapper. It shows his ignorance on the issue. While he may use the word as an insult, he doesn’t seem to realize that it holds real weight. The insult is that the person is gay, and the fact that Eminem does not even seen it as an insult shows that he is still, like his raps, stuck in the past and unwilling to move forward.
However, to true Eminem fans, the music reigns king, and it’s hard to say that this album is worse than his others. This, however, doesn’t mean that it is good. While there are better bars and much better production on this album, I don’t see it bringing Eminem any closer to a new generation of hip hop fans, in fact, it may be just distancing them further.