Eminem’s new album hits the target with ‘Kamikaze’

Kevin Barr, Featured writer

Less than a year after the critical and financial failure of his album “Revival,” hip-hop legend Eminem released a new record (without any promotion to boot) to his millions of ravenous fans.

The album, titled “Kamikaze,” is both a ferocious attack on some of Eminem’s critics and fellow “new-wave” rappers, including names like Joe Budden and Lil Pump, and also a surprisingly introspective view into the mind of a man obsessed with rhyming and solidifying his position as the undisputed “greatest of all time.” “Kamikaze” is, putting it quite simply, a lyrical masterpiece.

Eminem uses his acute grasp of language and alter-ego Slim Shady to target a never-ending list of rappers, including but not limited to, Lil Pump, Lil Xan, Lil Yachty, Tyler, The Creator, Machine Gun Kelly and Drake. For those unfamiliar with “Slim Shady,” in the late 1990s, Eminem created three distinct personalities to use when rapping: Eminem, Slim Shady and Marshall Mathers. Slim Shady is the embodiment of psychopathy and dementedness, and Eminem primarily used him as a vessel to put out some of his more explicit content, even releasing a critically-acclaimed album using only his alter-ego to rap, titled “The Slim Shady LP.”

The importance of the distinction of Slim Shady rapping versus Eminem is that Eminem hasn’t used his alter-ego in a very long time.

In fact, most Eminem fans had assumed that he was metaphorically dead, killed by an almost lethal overdose Eminem suffered in the late 2000s.

The controversial character makes a return on “Kamikaze,” taking debilitating shots at Eminem’s opponents and critics, leaving a wake of destruction throughout the album. Eminem also uses the album to diss President Donald Trump and other members of the Republican Party, which was a contentious theme of his previous album.

However, Eminem does make a conscious decision to address his displeasure more sparingly, leaving room for only small jabs scattered sparsely throughout. Thematically, “Kamikaze” addresses some glaring issues fans and critics had with “Revival,” namely, an obsession with Trump, with almost every song making reference to his campaign in some way or another, and, ironically, a regression into an exceedingly vulgar and unfamiliar territory which was a prominent issue many had (and have) with the president.

One of the things that made Eminem so successful was his life story: a white high-school dropout who was so good he became hip-hop’s $— a predominantly black industry — highest-selling artist of all time.

Once Eminem had everything he ever wanted, he simply had no more to talk about; thus, “Revival.”

Once Eminem’s supremacy was challenged with the failure of “Revival,” he was thrust into unfamiliar territory, and he used this rediscovered anger and passion to create what is one of his best projects ever, and certainly one of the best albums of the year.

Eminem also uses the album as a shoutout of sorts, name-dropping some of who he thinks are the best in the game, including Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Andre 3000 and Joyner Lucas (featured in arguably the best song on the album, “Lucky You”).

“Kamikaze” is a dense, brilliantly and meticulously rapped project coming from Eminem, proving to the small, but vocal, sliver of critics he has left that he is not to be messed with. In his own words, the only person left to compare him to now is himself.