Eminem struggles to live up to his own legacy in surprise album ‘Kamikaze’

Lance Evans, Writer

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Rap is the one of the most influential genres in pop culture right now, with experimentation beginning to invade a number of artist’s repertoires.

The huge strides that the industry is taking, with albums such as “Flower Boy,” “Kids See Ghosts,” and “Astroworld,” sugggest that a new aesthetic will soon take over the culture.  It is leaving many of the OGs at a loss for how they want to approach these changes.

A perfect example of deteriorating talent is Eminem, the highest selling rap artist of all time.

With classics such as the “Marshall Mathers LP,” “The Eminem Show,” and his work with D12, there is no question about Em’s legacy in the game. But in the midst of an evolving scene, Shady has dropped the ball tremendously with his past two albums.

“Revival,” a widely criticized piece by both fans and critics, showed Em was trying to mix up his talents, but the pop rap ballads left a lot to be desired.

On Aug. 31, he dropped his surprise album, “Kamikaze,” which has aroused quite a buzz. People are saying that Slim has returned stronger than ever, but is that just a facade?

Listening to “Kamikaze” without giving much thought to it will immediately give off the impression of technical prowess. The beats are tight and banging, with credited producers including Ronny J, Tay Keith and Mike WiLL Made-It.

Em keeps the listeners on their toes with speedy bars, constat flow changes and lyrical playfulness.

The featured artists, Joyner Lucas and Royce Da 5’9, drop heat on their respective tracks, and Jessie Reyez adds musical spice with her singing in “Nice Guy” and “Good Guy.” In reality though, there is not much more that is good about the album and there are most definitely flaws.

After his last album flopped, Shady said that with this new album, he’s stepping back up to the throne and claiming his spot as one of the best rappers in the world. He goes to great lengths to drive this point, as seen in his bar on “Lucky You.”

“Cause I took an L when I dropped my last album. It hurt like hell but I’m back on these rappers,” Em says.

Lyrically, if one gives great thought to it, this album is sub-par at best in regards to the content.

In “The Ringer,” Shady goes in guns blazing about how he is the best in the game and takes plenty of shots at mumble rappers of today.

But two songs later, he admits the low quality of his last album, stating that he needs to be more humble. It is almost as if this album is contradicting itself in a way, showing how confused Em is in this evolving state of rap.

Instead of staying true to the “no f**** given” way of life he grew to be known for, it is like he is purposely trying to stir up controversy by insulting as many artists of the day as possible.

He hits on Pump, Machine Gun Kelly, Tyler the Creator, Drake and Earl Sweatshirt and more. He seems to name drop just for the sake of it, and quite frankly, the bars are not the kind that will leave those artists reeling.

This album felt like a disgruntled  and aging artist trying to revive his glory days. It may be entertaining, but “Kamikaze” lacks serious substance and suffers because of it. In the long term, it will be overshadowed by Shady’s best works, which have solidified his legacy as one of the most proficient rappers of our time.

 

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Eminem struggles to live up to his own legacy in surprise album ‘Kamikaze’