The value we put into music is completely arbitrary. However, I can definitively say that Eminem’s recently released album “Kamikaze” is not only a tail-spinning gutter ball into the cupboard of forgotten music, but a confrontational, feeble slap from the dying genre of gangster rap in the face of modern adversity.
Starting strong by immediately disparaging other, younger artists such as Lil Xan and Lil Pump, Eminem shows an inherent lust for his former place at the top of the charts but his inability to accept new music simply because it is not the style in which he creates. Continuing on his struggle to revive his ever-decreasing fan base, the song “The Greatest,” not so shockingly a reference to himself, further implies his total belief in the quality of his own music. This is not a new development in the character of Eminem. Having already releasing songs such as “Rap God,” again in reference to himself, delusions of grandeur are an empirical part of his style and rapping in general. The song, however, has a somewhat desperate tone melting in between the lyrics, like an old engine in a vintage Porsche struggling to get up to speed.
Nearing the middle of the album, two short skits in the form of voicemails being left on cell phones, first to Eminem from his manager Paul Rosenberg and then the opposite, break up the aggressive album with even more turmoil. Rosenberg’s voicemail questions the theory of the album from the get-go and is rebutted with a vague explanation and a threat towards an unknown person who questioned Eminem’s lyrics, leaving the listener with the belief that the hard Detroit rapper hasn’t gone cold underneath the golden glow of fame and
Throughout the rest of the album, there are songs about women and people he seems to care about in some way or another, as well as multiple references to the band that made him, D12. The guilt of the past seems to come to its zenith in the song “Stepping Stones” in a public monologue of deep feeling and arguably the realest song on the album, leaving the listener a little better off for having heard a story of legitimate emotion.
Ending the album, the song “Venom” reiterates the conditions of his past like every album before it: with the brutal details of poverty in Detroit. With a huge part of his character being defined by the city, it was worth further examination to see its influences onto this album, but they are few and in between. Although he may have grown up during the lowest points of Detroit’s history, the shadow of industry and corruption doesn’t cast as far as it did 15 years ago. Kwame Kilpatrick is in prison and the final bricks of the Little Caesars Arena have been placed, driving the city into a new era and leaving Eminem without a seat. Detroit is without a doubt the cold fire that forged the character of Eminem into a brutal thug of the early 2000s, and although he may be one of the most talented lyricists to ever live, I believe it is time for Eminem to take on more worthwhile endeavors.
Unfortunately, he instead chooses to spend his time making a hate-filled album with a title that implies his view is pointed