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What Went Wrong With… Kamikaze by Eminem?

A review of Eminem's Kamikaze album by What Went Wrong Or Right With...?

30 to 40 year old white, centre-right, heterosexual men are having the time of their lives today as their favourite rapper, Eminem has just released a surprise album titled Kamikaze. Twitter is awash with talk about how Eminem is the G.O.A.T., how he’s attacking mumble rappers and how he’s dissing all his “haters“. Basically his fans are impressed with this, his tenth studio LP, but that’s not exactly an accurate litmus test, after all, his Stans are impressed with everything he makes.

Beginning with the sound of something crashing (possibly his career) Kamikaze starts off okay I guess, although he commences with the corny, frat-boy-sounding line “I feel like I wanna punch the world in the fucking face right now!”. From that point onward, Kamikaze is like a reply to critics of his last album Revival (which by the way, was utter shite) it also feels like some kind of musical catharsis as he airs his frustrations about no longer being “on top of his game”.

So okay, if Kamikaze was non-stop, back to his roots, Chino XL-style “diss everybody who’s mainstream and wack” I’d have to concede and say that Marshall Mathers has finally made a decent album but unfortunately he hasn’t. This LP may take aim at a number of people but it all feels very safe and mild in today’s world. Eminem’s Kamikaze is kinda like Sacha Baron Cohen‘s Who Is America?; a middle-aged man trying to recapture the vibe of the late 1990’s but ultimately lacking something because in the 20-odd years that have passed, society and culture has moved on, and what may have been entertaining in the past is no longer as virulent. Trying to bring back the past without tweaking your delivery and content just doesn’t cut it, and like Who Is America?, Kamikaze fails to pack a punch.

As an example, this album’s title and Licenced To Ill-esque artwork alone would have made people angry had this LP been released in 2001-2005 but in 2018 showing someone crashing a plane into their enemies is blasé. This is not Sonic Jihad (Paris’ post-9/11 LP) this evoking of a suicide pilot is just in the right period so not to offend the sensibilities of the mainstream. There’s also the use of the word “faggot” which is obscured or disguised, and again that’s wussing out, especially considering the amount of times Eminem uttered homophobic lyrics back in the day. Basically, this album wishes it was a nuke but it turns out to be a fire cracker (only this cracker is no longer fire).

Although I never liked his music, there was a slight sense of hostility when Eminem used to call out celebrities’ names. Today, the only place there’s venom is in the last song, only not in the way you’d want. By the way, if this is the lead song for the upcoming Venom movie, it may also turn out to be an out-of-style creation unwelcome in the present day.

Speaking of weak venom, there’s talk on social media of Em calling out crap rappers in this album; he mentions Lil Yachty by name, alludes to Lil Pump, and he disses Trap flows in general. But if you listen to the lyrics more than once, you realise how mild they actually are…

“I can see why people like Lil Yachty, but not me though. Not even dissin’, it just ain’t for me. All I am simply is just an emcee, maybe “Stan” just isn’t your cup of tea, maybe your cup’s full of syrup and lean. Maybe I need to stir up shit, preferably shake the world up if it were up to me”

…not only does that contain some of the most obvious rhymes (with no internals as his fans keep puffing about) but that verse isn’t “shaking or stirring anything up” in fact it’s very tame indeed. The irony that Lil Yachty’s Teenage Emotions met with as much criticism as Revival, maybe Marshall needs to make pals with his fellow “why are they hating on me?” rapper instead of lambasting him.

Kamikaze also takes aim at critics of his previous LP Revival. Eminem at one point raps…

“I’m sorry, wait, what’s your talent? Oh, critiquing. My talent? Oh, bitch I don’t know who the fuck y’all are, to give a sub-par bar”

…so that’s Eminem’s talent? To not know the names of critics? Makes perfect sense. Speaking of critics, when they were collectively riding his dick back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s he didn’t seem to care too much about their role in the music industry but now that the tables have turned, suddenly critics are his number one enemy. This makes him look shallow, foolish and even hypocritical. Here’s a novel concept; maybe stop making shite albums like Revival, that way you won’t get shit reviews.

The fact that he can’t seem to comprehend criticism against Revival, it proves that not only is he deluded but that he’s also petty. Like I said, if you don’t want “hate” then don’t make hate-attracting garbage, and if you don’t want further hate, then don’t comment on the previous hate with yet more garbage (something that is briefly mentioned in one of the skits). The strange thing about this situation is that Eminem thinks the public and the media being critical of him is somehow unthinkable, it’s kinda like the right-wing who bitch and moan about freedom of speech but in reality they advocate “free speech” only when it’s stuff they agree with. It’s like it never occurred to Eminem that if you make crap, people will say it’s crap, according to him that’s “hate” but is it really? Are you sure it’s not just a by-product of making back-to-back mediocrity after attaining an undeserved amount of fame?

I’ll acknowledge that criticising in of itself is fine, even criticising critics. I’m not averse to dissing Trap flows either but you have to do it with style and with an angle, you can’t just make a song like “Not Alike” but do nothing more creative than the genre you’re berating. It seems that Eminem needs to listen to Tetraheathen by Trapazoyd which made this comment earlier and better. “Fall” also contains a mock-Trap bit but it also features a horrible hook circa 2003 making it sound worse than the genre it’s critiquing.

Speaking of horrible hooks, “Greatest” sports some decent flow but also one of the most corny choruses on this LP. The title track contains a crap hook too, “Fall” also has a trashy autotuned R’N’B chorus, and “Stepping Stone” contains an atrocious hook as well. In addition, there’s two horrible tracks with the helium-voiced Jessie Reyez. Basically, there’s a lot wrong with this album and no, it’s not as good as his fans are saying it is. One of the most overrated MCs of all time is being overrated once again.

“Lucky You” contains double time delivery as well as featuring a verse from Joyner “I’m Not Racist” Lucas “. This is yet another track with Eminem hating Mumble Rap but with the added fast-rap delivery, the end result sounds like two middle-aged blokes trying to out-do each other with an outdated style.

The entire album is heaving with speedy raps, in fact Eminem seems overly concerned with showcasing his fast flow. Fans of Twista, Tech T9ne, and the rest will probably love this stuff but despite a certain level of skill involved with this technique, double and triple time raps sound tired in the present day. Back when everybody from R.A. The Rugged Man, Tonedeff, Jaz-O to Krayzie Bone was doing this style and doing it well (in the 1990’s and early-to-mid 2000’s) Eminem was making regular-paced Hip-Hop but strangely once the style became worn-out he began making more and more of it. Apparently if you can rap fast, that automatically makes you a “rap god” which seem to be his fans’ logic.

Dissing the likes of Lord Jamar, Joe Budden, Drake, and Tyler The Creator but not in a way that would ignite a beef, this LP seems to be targeting rappers that are past rapping and battling, or contemporary lames who would never say anything in retaliation. In the same way he conveniently chose weaker artists to slate in his heyday, Eminem is doing it once again. Yawn.

Eminem’s career seems to be veering into therapy, therapy for coming to terms with not being as highly respected as he was in the late 1990’s. By featuring on fellow has-been’s albums (Nicki …ahem… Minaj) Em seems to be living in a bubble, reminiscing about 2002 like a neocon convention (listen to his song “Stepping Stone” for proof). And someone needs to tell him that moaning about contemporary rap whilst delivering that message in a style that is now old-fashioned, is ironic as fuck. All this bullshit actually makes me wanna listen to Lil Pump. Nah… he’s shite too.

So yes, this album is better than Revival but that’s not exactly an accolade to be proud of. Saying Kamikaze is preferable over Revival is like saying flu is better than bird flu; you’d rather not have either. And with today’s advancements, none of this shit is as sick as it used to be.

Kamikaz-E.

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37 replies »

  1. This article reeks. Who’s out there deciding what style is “outdated” and what is “new”? Is mumble rap new and cool? Explain yourself more. The last paragraph/conclusion was just stupid. Who are you to decide what is old fashioned and what is new-fashioned?

    • That comment has the stench of brown-nosing all over it. The passing of time dictates what’s old-fashioned numb-nuts. For example 1990s Boom Bap sounded old by the 2000s, then it became classic in the 2010s enough to be considered postmodern (hence younger rappers copying it). The overly-complicated, multi-syllabic style that Eminem keeps peddling sounds corny in the 2010s, maybe wait a bit longer for that shit to get nostalgic.

      Since you don’t seem to care when Eminem makes an entire “stupid” album (by attacking critics who rightly critiqued him) why get all worked-up about my “stupid” conclusion? And by the way, maybe take a look around at my sister site to see what’s “new and cool”.

    • He is a good rapper on a technical level but his content just plain sucks. Dude, you’re middle aged, your fans are pushing middle age, do we really relate to this edge lord angst crap any more? For me, no. Even going back and listening to his older stuff, it just hasn’t aged well as people have aged. On a side note, auto tune mumble rap is crap but everyone knows. We don’t need Em telling us this.

    • To be more accurate, he sounded like a stereotypical battle rapper from the 2000s trying to sound like a Trap rapper from the 2010s. Since he didn’t mumble like Desiigner, it’s not exactly Mumble Rap per se. By mixing fast-rap with Trap it came off incoherent. Like I said, if you want to mock Trap properly, you’ve got to properly understand the components of it, something Tonedeff did in TETRAHEATHEN. If he wanted to mock Mumble Rap in isolation, he’d have been better doing what Hopsin did in “No Words”. Either way the target and the aesthetic didn’t exactly match.

  2. Emeinem lost it long ago when he started making pop music instead of hip hop his last few albums have been disappointing. His fans dont want to her that tho. watch out for stans

  3. go to twitter right now: its just some old fans taking about how he murdered every new rapper, how he is the goat,, how this generation is offended by everything. glad to come here for some constructive criticism.

    • Thanks. It’s annoying when people assume shit about people. I personally don’t like Lil Yachty, Lil Pump etc. in fact everybody from Donald Trump to Drake (people he “sent for”) I’ve mentioned in this site but that doesn’t mean I automatically praise Eminem. I’m sure there’s enough old-schoolers who dislike either Eminem or this LP but social media is always in divide and conquer mode.

      I’m sure my spam folder is filled with comments by his fans who can’t comprehend that people can have different points of view, and that there’s people who don’t follow a contrived path of accepted opinion.

  4. for a guy who absolutely despises the guy even at his prime you did good.
    its like u like the album but u still gotta HATE.
    but u like asap rocky so what do u know.

    • Fucking hell, I thought I’d check my spam folder and sure enough there you were. You’ve disagreed with all my articles about Eminem but for some unknown reason even when your god drops an album you enjoy, you just can’t help but come here and bitch about my opinion. Are you a complete fucking nut-job or do you deep down agree with my assessment?

      The fact that I’ve criticised A$AP Rocky twice on this site (check the contents) it makes your shite little comment null and void. But yes, when a rapper makes an album that’s above average I acknowledge it, even if I dislike the artist (I assume that’s what you’re referring to).

      For your information, when I heard the first two tracks I began by writing a “What Went Right With…?” article but the further I got, the worse the album got. The corny hooks, the out-of-date style, the late dissing of Mumble Rap, it just became yet another overrated yet below average album by Eminem so it became the review you see here.

      It’s still really perplexing why an Eminem superfan would keep coming here to read shit they know they’ll disagree with. Do you have my shit bookmarked so you can flagellate yourself every now and again?

      Since you’re addicted to my site, here’s some further reading for you: https://whatwentwrongwith.com/2016/05/04/what-went-wrong-with-the-word-hater-and-its-use-in-popular-culture/

  5. And this is why I stopped liking Eminems music. I used to be a huge Eminem fan and use to be a huge influence to me music-wise. I thought the song with Joyner was ok. But if his flow is outdated, who should I study to get better flow as a rapper? Anyone u personally suggest?

    • If you want to stand out from the crowd you’ve got to have something distinctive. The trouble with double-time is that most of it sounds the same. At least back in the day Bone Thugs-N-Harmony gave it a soulful twist but since the 2000’s it just became hackneyed.

      You should study any rapper who is unique (past and present) just go to https://whatwentrightwith.com and listen to Meechy Darko, Panama P.I., Snagglepuss, or even Red Rat.

      What’s missing in contemporary Hip-Hop is a slick flow like AZ, Big Jaz, Camp Lo etc. You should listen to some slicker old-school flows, learn from them and bring them into a new age…

      I would love to hear a contemporary/updated version of that type of flow. Try rapping “old” over a “new” beat like this…

  6. This album sucks . It is totally devoid of character . Compare this LP to recent releases (within the last year) “No Shame” by Hopsin and “All Things Work Together” by Lecrae . Both of those artists aren’t upfront in the mainstream . But Lecrae and Hopsin are still fairly big . It’s obvious Uncle Marshall doesn’t try anymore and his skill level has incredibly diminished but , his (fairly recent) track with Royce – “Caterpillar” – was pretty good . However it’s not on this album .

    Now we know for sure about his skill level . We have to take his whole career from 1987 up to present day into account here . With K-Rino having released “Mightier Than The Sword” in April there’s no debating . Eminem – after all these decades – isn’t even a top 500 of all time emcee . The sad thing is that back from 1994 to 1999 he may have even been in the top 150 .

  7. Insane Clown Posse’s assertions from 1999 to 2004 (during ICP and Esham’s beef with Eminem) that Eminem was a “top 40 pretty boy bitch” have proven to be true . Proof (Rest In Paradise) , Swifty McVay , King Gordy and Bizarre squashed the beef with Psychopathic and Reel Life . If you look at the music that ICP , Esham , Twiztid , ABK , Blaze Ya Dead Homie , The Dayton Family and Boondox put out in the last two years versus Eminem’s pop rap there’s no question as to who reps the culture better .

  8. I think this was his best effort in 8 years and frankly you need to listen to it a few times to fully grasp everything. Yeah, Revival was trash. But Kamikaze, he snapped. Respectfully disagree with much of this article lol

  9. Btw, is this blog specifically to negatively criticize albums you don’t enjoy personally? Hell, this is the internet. You can write whatever you want. Not sure why you take the time to put music you dislike so much under the microscope. You’re a sort of “anti-stan” which ultimately makes you a Stan anyway in some fashion. Oh well. I assume you’ll respond with some disdain like the other commenters who disagree with you. Do you have any articles that shed positive light or do you just sit behind a screen and pick apart successful artists that rub you the wrong way?

    • I do both motherfucker! I sit behind a giant-arsed screen listening to music, and bash away at them keys until I either puke or cum. Just kidding, but you wanted disdain.

      By the way, it would have taken you like two minutes to discover a link to my sister site https://whatwentrightwith.com/category/music/ and see that I take the time to put music I like and dislike “under the microscope” as you put it.

      And no, I don’t “Stan” any thing or anyone. If you say what I like is shite, that’s fine. I’m not a friend or relative of any of these famous fuckers so you can say what you like, even about artists I enjoy. Surely that makes me the antithesis of a “Stan”. So go ahead and berate some of my artists, fill ya boots!

      And actually, I respond to commenters in the way they respond to me – give respect and you get some. If you let disrespect slide, you end up with something akin to the YouTube comments section – someone’s gotta keep trolls and morons in check.

  10. Haven’t listened to any em since I was a teenager like 15 years ago lol. Personally I liked her album tho. Thought it was a lot more composed and took more talent to craft then a lot of the shit I hear my students listening to these days like Lil Xan and 69.

  11. Hopsin is far from trash . He has matured . He is corny and immature at times . But , what rapper isn’t ? Eminem was one of the corniest emcees out there . He has technical lyrical skill but still has been prone to asinine behaviour . Look at Eminem’s music videos from 1999 to 2011 . People say ICP , Twiztid and Esham were / are corny but at least they were original . Eminem copied Pharoahe Monch , Tonedeff , Chino XL , Masta Ace and Twiztid for his entire mainstream career .

    Hopsin has cited Eminem , Tech N9ne , Crooked I , Ice T , Yukmouth , Xzibit , Esham , ICP , Royce , Bone Thugs , Nas , Twista , Ice Cube and Canibus as being his main influences .

    That’s actually a pretty decent list of emcees to be influenced by (when those emcees were in their respective primes) compared to a fool like Lil Yachty (whose biggest influences are probably Soulja Boy , Lil Wayne and Drake) .

    Check out this track from Hopsin’s latest album :

    You see how much more authentic and real he is than a 2018 Eminem ???

    If we leave hip hop and look at folk music we can see that artists are influenced by popular trends . The Pogues were influenced by Irish / Celtic folk music from the first half of the 20th century . They retained that rich cultural tradition and still came up with their own authentic sound .

    So – yes – Hopsin was influenced by Eminem . I feel that with a track like “Marcus’ Gospel” he has paid tribute to Eminem’s best attributes and progressed as an individual artist in his own right .

  12. I don’t really see how it’s a failure in any way, personally I loved the music and it’s on track to be a success when it comes to sale and then- what else makes an album considered good I’ve ran out of stuff

  13. I talked to my friend who has been a hardcore believer in Eminem’s lyrical abilities since February 1999 . He sees Uncle Marshall in his prime – from 1994 to 1999 according to him – as the most lyrically gifted emcee ever . Obviously , I think that is totally ridiculous .

    We engaged in a heated debate over this latest album and how well Eminem has aged over time as an artist .

    I won the debate early on when he admitted that Apathy of The Demigodz and AOTP is better than Uncle Marshall and consistently drops better albums as the years pass .

    I then mentioned Chino , K-Rino , RA , Canibus , Slug , Celph Titled , One Be Lo , Virtuoso , Ill Bill , Del The Funky Homosapien , Immortal Technique , Copywrite , Killah Priest , Brother Ali , Sage Francis , The Gift Of Gab , Z-Ro , Ras Kass , Vinnie Paz , Necro , Tragedy Khadafi , Vakill , Aceyalone , Tonedeff , Lyrics Born , Lateef the Truth Speaker , Rhymefest and Kool G Rap .

    He called all of them “underground nerds” or “washed up and old” .

    Eminem’s fans seem to always defend him . Even when they know that for years they’ve seen him sell out and drop whack albums .

    Eminem made fun of Canibus seven years ago during his BET cypher with “lyrical spiritual miracle in a swimming pool” .

    On this album Eminem does needless multisyllabics much , much more cringe worthy than his “impression” of Canibus in 2011 . Uncle Marshall has legitimately ran out of ideas . He should hang up his mic . Fuck — he’s going to be 50 right away and still doing pop rap . The fucking Stans dick ride him endlessly . His fans have grown up and gained positions of power on popular YouTube channels , on Instagram and in Hollywood . The fucking corruption makes me sick .

    My friend also says you of play identity politics in general on your blog . What do you think of that ??

    • 1. “Washed Up” implies that someone was successful at one time.

      2. If anybody is washed up and old it’s Eminem. And don’t forget that if it wasn’t for Dr. Dre, Marshall would be an underground nerd too.

      3. Nobody likes Eminem but mainstream lames aged 30-50.

      4. You can’t really criticise other rappers from the same period whilst rating Eminem. Shit makes no sense.

      5. I couldn’t give a fuck what “your friend” thinks.

      6. Only in a world this shitty would terms like “social justice” and “identity politics” be seen as negatives.

      7. You can selectively read articles on this site and assume I’m on a particular side but that’s projecting. That kind of opinion is usually indicative of someone insecure with their own demographic.

  14. To make it clear my friend and I are two separate people . He lives a 4.5 to 5 hour flight away from me in The Greater Toronto Area (Canada’s largest urban area in population by far — I live in Edmonton , Alberta which is only the sixth biggest city in Canada by population) .

    How do you think Eminem will respond to Machine Gun Kelly ? What do you think of MGK and his Eminem diss ?? I think it was a decent attempt for an emcee of Kelly’s limited lyrical abilities .

    • For me there’s too much “I respect you but”, “you’re my idol but” type bullshit: “The big bad bully of the rap game can’t take a fuckin’ joke… Yeah I’ll acknowledge you’re the G.O.A.T.”

      If you’re gonna diss do it without kissing his old arse every other line…

  15. Yeah , I see your point about Machine Gun Kelly . I actually prefer him to non-spitters like Chance the Rapper and these guys :

    https://youtu.be/HfDc97eNOvc / https://youtu.be/FUXX55WqYZs / https://youtu.be/Kbj2Zss-5GY / https://youtu.be/cwQgjq0mCdE / https://youtu.be/U9BwWKXjVaI

    I mean at least Eminem in his prime could spit . Machine Gun Kelly at least tries to spit hard(ish) multisyllabic rhymes over decent beats . Like Dillon Cooper ,
    A-F-R-O , Snak The Ripper , Black Pegasus , Demrick , Passionate MC , Dave , Chris Rivers , Los , Token , Gavlyn , Chris Webby , Nitty Scott , John the Author , Kryple , Denmark Vessey , Jarren Benton , Snow Tha Product , Denzil Porter and Cyhi the Prynce do on a (in most cases a much , much) smaller level .

    Today’s mainstream fans seem totally unable to recognize talented emcees .

    He’s vastly overrated but at least MGK tried / tries . Which is more than I can say for the rappers I put in the video links .

  16. Wouldn’t you rather hear Machine Gun Kelly and those emcees I’ve listed as
    young(ish) and underrated instead of an extremely washed up Eminem , Nas , Pusha T , Snoop Dogg or Jay Z ? Or the mainstream puppet shills in the video links ?

    • I’d rather listen to more credible young MCs (Denzel Curry, Meechy Darko, ZillaKami etc.) over average young rappers like MGK. I don’t overly dislike him but when it came to that diss it was no 2nd Round K.O. or No Vaseline. I’d love to hear a good old-fashioned Hip-Hop beef again.

      BTW I do rate A-F-R-O and Dillon Cooper, they’re both credible and talented. So yes, I would rather listen to all of these younger cats than a bunch of washed-up has-beens.

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