Surprise! Eminem‘s dropped a surprise album over night called ‘Kamikaze’. Surprise! It’s stuffed with controversy. It’s Slim Shady’s calling card, after all.
After the muted response to his last LP, 2017’s ‘Revival‘, Em’s taking stock and he’s decided send for everyone by way of response. As a whole, it’s both thrilling and flawed, but then again, why did we expect anything different?
Here are some of the biggest talking points from a very controversial return.
Eminem’s nicked The Beastie Boys’ artwork
The most immediate thing to notice about ‘Kamikaze’ is, of course, its cover image. If said image seems familiar to you, that’s because it is. Slim’s replicated the artwork for the Beastie Boy’s classic ‘License to Ill’.
— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) August 31, 2018
There’s some casual homophobia. Facepalm.
Oh yes. Out of all the moments of ‘Kamikaze,’ one of the most notable sticking points from the album is that the use of a homophobic slur on the title track, in reference to Tyler, The Creator.
“Tyler create nothing,” Slim spits on ‘Fall’. “I see why you call yourself a f*****, bitch.”
We’ve starred it because the word is muted. The lyric is likely a reference to Tyler’s recent references to his own sexuality on the ‘Flower Boy’ album.
The lyric is shocking, but of course, it’s nothing new for Eminem – whose back catalogue is littered with homophobic references and slurs, including the frequent use of “faggot” and the term “gay-looking” in his 2013 ‘Rap God.’ Grow up, mate.
The problematic relationship with the women in his life continues
Eminem’s volatile relationship with the women has been well-documented within his music (see: ‘Cleaning Out My Closet’)
This trope is serviced yet again on ‘Kamikaze,’ most notably on the track ‘Normal.’ It speaks about a volatile, mutually toxic relationship that throws several parallels to the hit single ‘Love The Way You Lie.’
Em raps in the song’s opening: “I love you but I hope you fuckin’ die tho.”
The slagging off of nu-gen hip-hop
Following on from Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, Eminem name-checks, and proceeds to insult, a whole mix of nu-gen artists from the hip-hop scene.
On the album’s opening track ‘The Ringer,’ Eminem takes aim at the ‘mumble rap’ generation and name-checks Lil’ Yachty before accusing Lil Pump and Lil Xan of imitating Lil Wayne: “Do you have any idea how much I hate this choppy flow / I can see why people like Lil Yachty but not me though.”
He adds: “Especially an effing ‘Recovery’ clone of me / Lil Pump, Lil Xan imitate Lil Wayne.”
Then critiques the looks and flow of the barrage of face-tatted Soundcloud rappers that have burst into the mainstream; “Because half of these rappers have brain damage / All the lean rappin’, face tats, syrup out like tree sap.”
There’s even time for Slim to dip his toe into the not very shallow pond that is Drake’s feud with Meek Mill, which is apparently still a thing: “You got a couple of ghost writers but to these kids it don’t actually matter.”
Eminem really liked ‘Revival’
It’s fair to say that ‘Revival,’ Em’s ninth LP which was released last year, had quite a tepid reception. We gave it three stars, calling it a “vital, if flawed, politically charged album.”
He references his last studio album several times throughout ‘Kamikaze,’ suggesting that it was you who wasn’t listening properly.
“Revival didn’t go viral,” he yells on ‘Greatest’ with only the smallest hint of bitterness.
“Let’s sleep on it like they did Revival,” he continues on ‘Normal,’ claiming that, “If you’re looking to get a porterhouse you better go get Revival / but y’all acting like I tried to serve you a slider / Maybe the vocals should have been auto-tuned, then you would have bought it.”
The break-up of D-12
On one particular track on the album, Eminem touches about the break-up of his rap group D-12, sprouting from the death of member Proof in 2006.
On the track, Em talks about the guilt that he feels for using his membership in the group to boost his profile, while other members of D-12 – which included Proof, Bizarre and Swity McVay – didn’t quite reach similar heights.
“To all the friends I may have hurt / I better stop and say my grace,” he raps. “I pray that I don’t fall / I never meant to use you all as my stepping stone.”