Eminem is back with a vengeance and gets the explosive revival he sought on his explosive new surprise album, Kamikaze. A direct response to all of his critics of his most recent album before that, Revival, Em proves on his 10th solo album that when he has his back against the wall and counted out is when he really gets back to being his best.
Returning to his rarely used anymore Slim Shady persona, the emcee opens with plenty command and conviction on album opener, The Ringer. Where Em uses his Shady formula of poking fun at everyone from Lil Yachty to Vice President Mike Pence, MGK, Lil Pump and Charlemagne tha God, there is virtually nobody safe from the scorned name drops. Which have the emcee more focused than ever, as he raps about his criticism on the current state of Hip-Hop in 2018 and the double standards he feels is allowed of most critics and journalists of his work. That perfectly segues into the very fast paced and heavy multi-syllable Mike WiLL Made It-produced, The Greatest. Which features such memorable lines as, “Float like a butterfly, I’m gonna sting like a bee. You ain’t harmin’ a thing, I hit a ding as hard as I’m gonna swing. I’m gonna need to put my arm in a sling. But like a wedding band, you gotta be diamond to even climb in the ring. Anomaly, I’m Muhammad Ali. Cause I know one day I’m gonna be the greatest in the world, greatest in the world, greatest in the world.” As he raps about his greatness as an emcee throughout the track and shows several examples like the lines above of why he’s.
The Slim Shady persona is really put on full display most on the Boi-1da-produced and Joyner Lucas featured, Lucky You. A very fiery catchy banger, which finds Em going bar-for-bar with a new age descendent of his, whose flow and rhyme schemes is very similar to his. The two emcees bringing an extraterrestrial flow few could replicate for a track that also has the potential to be the biggest hit on the album and maybe even one of the biggest of Eminem’s career. With Joyner’s almost scene-stealing guest verse and energy he brought to the track really giving energy like that we haven’t seen on an Eminem track in quite some time. Em’s very clever wordplay is very much put on display in yet another very standout track, Stepping Stone. Which also puts closure to his rap group, D12, as well. With the lines, “Thought we was runnin’ shit til we lost the soul of our shoe. The death of Doody broke us in two. We were thrown for a loop, ain’t none of us know what to do. .. and I don’t wanna open up wounds. I just noticed that oomf was gone when we go in the booth. Cause the truth is, the moment that Proof died, so did the group,” really hitting home for Em, D12 and their fans. The very emotional track sounding much the same as one of Em’s more definitive records of his career, Toy Soldiers. You can hear all the emotions really put on full display throughout the track. That perfectly segues into the red-hot Tay Keith-produced, Not Alike. A very fiery shot dance collaboration with longtime collaborator and friend, Royce Da 5’9” taking aim at and making fun at most mumble rappers like a lot of the albums theme does. MGK getting the most heat and diss mentions from Em, who takes aim at him on at least two different tracks on the album.
Towards the latter part of the album Eminem really turns up the heat on his critics. With arguably the most talked about track on the album, Fall, continuing the albums central theme of criticizing the current state of the rap game and also responding to critics of, Revival. Em’s Shady onslaught holding no bars for anybody being safe, as he name drops everyone from Charlemagne again to his former one-time collaborator and labelmate, Joe Budden, as well as Tyler, the Creator and Lord Jamar, among the most notable names mentioned. Even taking aim at, The Grammys with the lines, “And then tell The Grammys to go and fvck themselves. They suck the blood from all the biggest artists like leeches. So they nominate ‘em, get ‘em there, get a name to MC the show. Every parasite needs a host (haha).” Which is quite ironic since Eminem will more than likely get nominated for Best Rap Album and several other of the main rap categories, as well as Best Song Written for Visual Media with, Venom. The very clear-cut single, which is also the theme song for the blockbuster movie of the same name. The gritty and memorable record full of venomous emcee bravado is the perfect track to close out such a stellar return to form album from one of the greatest emcees and wordsmith’s of all-time.
Even the couplet of S1 and Fred Ball-produced tracks, Nice Guy/Good Guy featuring fast rising singer/songwriter, Jessie Reyez, surprisingly fitting well on the album. With the very at times lazy sounding, Normal, being really the only track, along with the way some of the choruses sound being the only things to prevent it from being a classic. Kamikaze, is a true “Shady-esque” return to form from Eminem that so many of his fans had been clamoring for him to bring back for quite some time and that was definitely well worth the wait for the highly-anticipated return of Slim Shady.