Hip-hop legend Eminem released his 10 studio album “Kamikaze.” After the overwhelmingly negative feedback of the previous album “Revival,” longtime listeners considered this to be a redemption album.
The drastic change of sound within hip-hop would call for Eminem to make a critical transition. The single “Lucky You,” featuring Joyner Lucas, left fans hopeful he’d be able to blend his style of rapping with the current demands of production. The sudden release of “Kamikaze” was telling that he learned much from the last album. He didn’t lead any fans astray with a preview to a tracklist or any features. Many quickly dismissed “Revival” before it was released with features Ed Sheeran, Alicia Keys and Skylar Grey. Fans felt he was just going to release a dated album and that added on to the already negative feedback.
Looking at the album cover inspired by the Beastie Boys, “Licensed to Ill,” Eminem gave his intentions of putting an end to his criticisms while possibly sacrificing the image of his stardom. From the start of the album, Eminem satisfied his intentions while showing why some regard him as the greatest rapper alive. Within introduction track “The Ringer” and “Fall,” he removes himself from the high stature in hip-hop to respond to his critics he felt went beyond reason and gives his thoughts on what’s popular in the genre. He attacks the up-and-coming rappers that lack originality within their music by using the same choppy flows over similar trap-inspired beats. With name drops toward Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Pump, Joe Budden, DJ Akademiks and Charlamagne tha God, casual listeners were captivated.
The rapper especially grabbed the attention of many when calling out artist Tyler the Creator. Eminem is notorious for the obscenity within his content dating back to his first album, “The Slim Shady LP.” In today’s current societal expectations, being aware and understanding cultural and sexual differences is vital. That is why some listeners crucified Eminem for his anti-gay slur towards Tyler the Creator in the album. A transition is not only critical musically, but in fact, needed in his lyrics.
Producers Boi-1da, Mike WILL Made-It, Ronny J and Tay Keith’s collaborations are sprinkled throughout the album to keep the engagement active from listeners. These producers used their signature sound and blended it with something Eminem could build on. While the production was solid, Eminem never failed to continue to flex his expertise in the art of rap. He displayed his impressive diversity of flows using patterns from rapper Playboi Carti’s “wokeuplikethis*,” Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE,” and comically used the infamous flow from Migos’ “Bad n Boujee.”
Even though Eminem called out many figures in pop culture, he continued to show his lyrical prowess, and improved listenability of “Kamikaze.” However, there still isn’t a general consensus if this project is good or bad. A good project doesn’t necessarily require conversations outside the music but rather have a conversation about the music. With that said, Eminem and even the fans created “Kamikaze” to truly be an anomaly in this current stage of hip-hop.