Album Review : Eminem - Kamikaze (2018)
Last December, iconic rapper Eminem released an album called Revival and... it was bad. Not sure what happened there, but Revival was a shamelessly pandering pop rap album featuring bizarre collaborations with poorly matched artists such as X Ambassadors and Ed fuckin' Sheeran. It was universally thrashed, but Eminem still likes it. Wait, it's not right.... Eminem still LOVES that monstruosity. He loves so much that he recorded a surprise album called Kamikaze to defend Revival and answer his critics... and it's bad. It's not as bad as Revival, but it's pretty bad nonetheless.
Folks, I'm starting to believe we've lost Eminem for good.
Kamikaze opens with a plane crash sample and the sentence: I feel like I wanna punch the whole world in the fuckin' face, right now. I kid you not. It's the intro to the opening song The Ringer, which.... I kid you not, addresses the bad reviews Revival got. And Eminem doesn't take responsibility for writing that stinker. He claims critics and fans are into Burger King and MacDonalds, but that Revival is actually a porterhouse steak. So it's misunderstood and underappreciated by people with a vulgar palate. The fuckin' ego on this guy, huh? It's unbelievable. He also shits on every younger rapper you can think of, but that's a recurring problem with Kamikaze. The Ringer is near the bottom of the barrel, though.
So, Kamikaze's main argument for Revival is that rap has went down the toilet in 2018. That he's the same ol' badass Eminem he's ever been, but that we can't appreciate him anymore because we're too busy enjoying trap music and SoundCloud rappers. He does that on Lucky You, Not Alike, Kamikaze, Fall.... and you know, I like Fall. The beat is dope and the collaboration with Justin Vernon actually works. I'm the first guy to say Bon Iver sounds like that time I zipped over my testicles, but the eerie quality of Vernon's voice gives nice contrast to Eminem's bars. It would be... welp, a great Eminem song if it wasn't for the butthurt lyrics about Tyler the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt for being better at rap than he is.
There are other good songs on Kamikaze. Two of them: Greatest and the odd apology song to D12 Stepping Stone, which prevent this album from being a complete failure like Revival was. Maybe I latched on to beats and production choices to find redeeming value here, but they showed Eminem still has ideas and ambitions aside from punching the world in the fuckin' face or whatever. He's such a talented lyricist that we've been judging him almost solely on that for his whole career, but despite what he says, he surrounds himself with forward thinking people. And it works well for him when he lets them have a say. He still has some fight in him whenever he doesn't disappear inside his own ass.
Revival was a bad. Deal with it, Eminem. Kamikaze was a bad revenge album with bitter, self-righteous lyrics. And it's not even a full revenge album. There are some relationship songs that offer nothing new and the theme song from the upcoming Venom movie, which has the silliest chorus I've ever heard in an Eminem song. I mean, if you're going to exert revenge, why not go all in? Why would you put some please-love-me-I'm-still-the-same-guy-I-was-on-Recovery songs on it? If you're going to come off like an old, bitter dick, why not die on that hill? I am your audience, Eminem. I've been listening to your songs for two decades now. Revival was trash, accept it and move on, for fuck's sake.