For a guy who released Revival back in December of 2017 and spent the earlier part of the summer headlining festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo, Eminem had been a little quiet lately.
— Marshall Mathers (@Eminem) August 31, 2018
That is until Detroit freestyler dropped the brand spankin’ new Kamikaze in the middle of the night on the last day of August. I don’t think there may be an angrier way for surly students to storm back into school next week than with Mr. Mathers’ rapid-fire lyrics blasting in their ears.
Whereas Em caught flak for encumbering Revival with pop stars such as Ed Sheeran and P!nk, and failing to go viral as he raps on “Greatest”, co-executive producer Dr. Dre and him strip things to bare bones…and doesn’t hold anything back, spitting fire and hurling profanity-laden insults at Lil Yachty, Ja Rule, Vice President Mike Pence, music journalists and many, many others I couldn’t keep track of as Eminem’s streams of consciousness hurtled out of control. The only present-day artists who apparently escape Slim Shady’s “Venom” are the guests on this surprise 11-track album, namely Joyner Lucas doing his best to keep up on “Lucky You”, diminutive associate Royce da 5’9″ (“Not Alike”), as well as Bon Iver himself Justin Vernon adding calm backup vocals to “Fall”. And I’m still not a fan of her nasally emissions, but Canadian Jessie Reyez is actually a good fit on her dual “Nice Guy”/”Good Guy” appearances.
There’s a prophetic line on “Stepping Stone” where it sounds like he disses Cardi B while saying how fame is fleeting, but that he’s an OG and will probably outlive all these Johnny (and Jeanine) Come-Latelys. He doesn’t predate Beastie Boys however; Eminem’s idea of a compliment in 2018 seems to be appropriating the artwork of their masterwork Licensed to Ill. Hip-hop sure has changed in the 32 years since fighting for your right to party was considered taboo; if you don’t give Kamikaze a fair listen like I did, at least pay homage to the three kings who happen to have a memoir coming out in a few months by respinning a Golden Age classic!