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Album Review: “Kamikaze” shows a bitter Eminem endangering his legacy

Eminem attends the premiere of “Southpaw” at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square in New York on July 20, 2015. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Eminem released a surprise album, “Kamikaze,” on all streaming services on Friday. This comes eight months after the rapper released his last album, “Revival,” which was met with polarizing responses as critics and fans alike felt divided over the album’s political message.

However, Eminem isn’t rapping about politics as much on his 10th studio album release. Instead, he’s focused on getting back to the old Slim Shady and going at almost everyone who has criticized him over the past few years.

He opens the album with “The Ringer,” a song in which he goes at critics for their reviews of “Revival” and disses rappers like Lil Xan and Lil Pump. He also mentions Lil Yachty, saying he sees why people listen to the “One Night” rapper, “…but not me though.”

In the intro, Eminem also gives props to Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole, all of whom have mentioned Eminem as one of their musical influences. It is a decent opener and gives us the context to what most of the album will sound like and be about.

In the next track, “Greatest,” he talks about his status and influence over a Mike WiLL Made-It beat. Despite the big name producer on the track, the beat isn’t very elaborate. Despite this, Eminem shows off his ability to flow, use metaphors and imagery making “Greatest” one of the better songs on the project.

“Lucky You” features the first guest appearance on the album, with Joyner Lucas opening the track. Eminem then comes back into the track mentioning his many accolades, saying, “I sound like a broken record every time I break a record. Nobody could ever take away the legacy.” He also takes some subliminal shots at rappers who use ghostwriters. The back-and-forth and contradictions of both rappers’ levels of success leads to “Lucky You” being one of the better tracks.

We then get a skit featuring Paul Rosenberg, Eminem’s manager, much like the older Eminem projects with Paul leaving Eminem a voicemail to question his actions. This is then followed up by “Normal,” one of three songs on this album about Eminem’s love life. After a skit during which Eminem answers Paul’s message, Eminem delivers “Stepping Stone,” a track seemingly dedicated to the rap group Eminem started his career with, D12. He opens by reminiscing about his and the group’s popularity in the early 2000s that later came crashing down after the death of friend and D12 member, Proof, as well as the failure of D12 solo albums. At the end of the track, he claims that D12 is officially over.

On “Not Alike,” he reunites with Bad Meets Evil collaborator Royce Da 5’9” and the two flow over a Tay Keith-produced track. While Eminem and Tay Keith are an unusual pairing, the track is one of the highlights, and both Eminem and Royce’s verses were some of the best on the whole project. This song also features a Machine Gun Kelly diss that has escalated into MGK responding with “Rap Devil” on Monday, a direct response to Eminem’s 2013 hit “Rap God.”

The title track, “Kamikaze” and the following track “Fall” have arguably been the most talked-about tracks in the news and on social media. With “Kamikaze” being more of a proclamation that this isn’t “Revival” but a return to the old Eminem, “Fall” is where he goes full Slim Shady, taking shots at Joe Budden, Charlamagne Tha God, and many more.

Of the list of disses on “Fall,” the two that caught the most people’s attention are the disses toward both Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt, who have referred to Eminem as an influence in the past, but have since criticized his albums. The diss toward Tyler, The Creator is even more controversial because he uses a homophobic slur, which comes after many speculated that Tyler came out on his most recent album “Flower Boy.” This is the song that has gotten Eminem the most flack from critics and fans alike and rightfully as it feels like the Tyler diss was made solely for shock value.

The album closes with “Nice Guy” and “Good Guy,” both about Eminem’s love life, and “Venom,” a song for the upcoming Marvel Studio movie of the same name. With “Normal,” “Nice Guy” and “Good Guy,” these are the worst tracks on the album as they contextually don’t match the album’s main narrative, plus the Jessie Reyez features don’t add any quality to either “Nice Guy” or “Good Guy.” While “Venom” isn’t necessarily a good track and has nothing to do with the album’s main topics, it gets somewhat of a pass as it was made for the purposes of being recorded for a movie soundtrack of the same name.

This album contains a lot of disses directed at those who have criticized the rapper in the past, but it doesn’t feel the same as it does when listening to older Eminem albums. His attempt at trying to bring back the magic of ‘02 Eminem feels like someone trying desperately to be relevant. The production on this album is rather generic despite having producers like Ronny J, Mike WiLL Made-It, Tay Keith and Boi-1da, and despite the “controversial” bars, most of the verses throughout the entire album aren’t anything special.

If “Kamikaze” is the last album of his career, he sure did not go out with a bang. And when stacked up with his entire discography, this, as well as his more recent work, doesn’t come close to his classics and could affect his legacy.

Rating: 2/5

9 comments

  1. Who are you? You have no clue what you’re talking about lol o just another number 1 album and another number 1 song get outta here with your 2/5 you 0/5 writer

  2. This old, irrelevant, out of touch fool just can’t stop embarrassing himself. His need to constantly remind people of his “legacy” and attack the younger, hotter artists who have taken his place just scream HAS-BEEN. Who cares if this garbage album is number 1? So was Revival. People will forget this crap in a few weeks and go back to the new YOUNG and FRESH artists that are now dominating the charts. Ronnie, your the oh so typical 15 year old white suburban dick-riding emenim fanboy, which is about all he has left. That’s exactly why he tried to pander to blacks with that pathetic BET anti-Trump Freestyle. He is sooooo desperate to be edgy, relevant and controversial again, but it’s been over for about 15 years now, with even his most ardent fans laughing at his dated beats and corny lyrics. Emenim is WASHED UP!!!

    • You know nothing. Who are these hot artist your talking about. Name some people to show who your talking about. Sounds like your as butt hurt over someone. You probably no nothing about real rap and song structure. Just another nobody with opinions that no one pays attention too.

  3. Rap is for losers, whenever a rapper comes onstage they have to go into a wild whip up of the audience so the brain dead audience will be impressed with their dumbs##t talking. So stupid.

  4. Kamikaze is a SICK album. Lindsay is an idiot and Bob is probably like 90.

  5. Oh and WTF is this website? The About Us page is literally not found. https://www.thelantern.com/about-us/

    I cant believe I gave this moron write a click.

  6. Oh my god. You guys are so bitter. He just dissed you with the powers of insane talent. Everyone but you guys say it’s nothing but great. He got you. Get over it. That album is nothing but insane talent. Go cry somewhere else.

  7. Bro that was just bad lmao you are horrible I bet you eat apples or sum

  8. Eminem, as always on top! The new album, as always, displays events in his life. I hope that soon I will be able to see his concert here in https://best-vegas.com/events-in-january/ in Vegas, and then those artists who are constantly boring! Eminem, come to us in Vegas, we are waiting for you!

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