A few weeks back, I came across a blog post describing Eminem as “a dried-up old hack”. You might be tempted to assume the veracity of this narrative, but I would highly advise you to sit down, have a listen of his latest album ‘Music to be Murdered By’, then be the judge.
The rapper and arguably “King of Hip Hop” is famously known for surprise-releasing albums, most especially after the nauseatingly decadent ‘Kamikaze’ in 2018. His latest one was no exception. The world woke up to MTBMB’s release on January 17th, an album which soon after shot to #1 on Billboard 200 album charts, earning him his 10th career chart-topper album -of his 11 in total. It also raked in 279,000 equivalent album units, becoming Billboard’s biggest debut album so far this decade.
“Laughing all the way to the bank, I spray flames ?They cannot tame or placate the monster” ? #MusicToBeMurderedBy – https://t.co/dVwswJMbkO
Thanks to @Danny_Clinch for capturing ? greatness for the album. pic.twitter.com/7uj799V7DV
— Marshall Mathers (@Eminem) February 12, 2020
Be wary that suspense is bound to take over you upon listening to the album’s intro track “Premonition”, which gives out a shrill scream deserving of shivers. Carefully listening through the hour-long album, Eminem basically defends himself from both the people and media’s perception, with features from Young M.A, Juice WRLD, Q-Tip, Ed Sheeran, Anderson.Paak and his close collaborator, Royce Da 5’9”.
Kicking off 2020 as an internet firestorm incarnate, the 20-track album also earned “Slim Shady” a top 3 Billboard hit in recent years with “Godzilla”, a collaboration with the late Juice WRLD. The track’s visual release on Monday (March 9) sees a drunk Eminem experiencing major hallucinations. Other than holding a missile launcher to an armed robber and vomiting Legos, the video also features legendary boxer Mike Tyson who punches him, landing on a hospital bed. The Cole Bennett-directed video also pays tribute to the late Juice WRLD.
— Marshall Mathers (@Eminem) March 9, 2020
Churning out rhymes and doing lyrics faster than (probably) anyone else, Eminem introduced the #GodzillaChallenge a fortnight ago. He issued the (now viral) challenge, to see who can “spit” lyrics from the “Godzilla” track with the same speed and precision as himself.
— Marshall Mathers (@Eminem) February 25, 2020
“Darkness”, which was the first video off MTBMB exemplifies Eminem’s focus on issues such as gun violence and mass shootings. This, of course, relives memories of the late Nipsey Hussle, XXXTentacion and most recently, Pop Smoke who were all gunned down by unknown assailants. “When will this end? When enough people care”, he raps.
— Marshall Mathers (@Eminem) January 17, 2020
With Eminem, controversy resides. His “Unaccommodating” stint with Young M.A ruffled feathers with Ariana Grande’s fans. “But it seems like the more they studied my music, the more they remind me of eyeballs/ I’m watching my pupils get cornier/ But I’m contemplating yelling ‘Bombs away’ on the game/ Like I’m outside of an Ariana Grande concert waiting,” raps Eminem. Following the criticism, he did not hold back, releasing a statement, “This album was not made for the squeamish. If you are easily offended or unnerved at the screams of bloody murder, this may not be the collection for you. Certain selections have been designed to shock the conscience, which may cause positive action. Unfortunately, darkness has truly fallen upon us.”
— Marshall Mathers (@Eminem) January 23, 2020
Eminem has managed to maintain his style throughout his career and with precise longevity. There is no doubt that the 47-year-old rapper is among the world’s most lyrically gifted rappers. It will be exciting to see whether or not he will drop a follow-up album later in the year.