Eminem’s “Kamikaze” lacks substance

By Peter Zemeske

Eminem’s latest album “Kamikaze,” released Aug. 31, manages to say very little while at the same time being vulgar as ever.

“Kamikaze” is the tenth studio album from Detroit-based rapper, Eminem. The album took many fans by surprise, as there were no singles or statement about the album prior to release. The only hint of new music was a 15-second clip of his song “Venom” on his personal social media with a picture tied to the Marvel motion picture of the same name due for a October release.

The album follows 2017’s “Revival” which was met with less than savory reviews. Instead of taking criticism from both fans and fellow rappers, Eminem decided to make a compilation of diss tracks for all of his critics.

The album opens up with the song “The Ringer,” which serves as both a verbal middle finger to the naysayers and a commentary on the state of rap in 2018. His response to the critics of “Revival” is unapologetically brash and offensive, rapping, “Cause it went over your head, because you’re too stupid to get it, ‘cause you’re mentally retarded but pretend to be the smartest.”

While Eminem got away with offensive remarks such as this in his heyday, this is absolutely unnecessary in this time and age. Despite the negative feedback coming from fans and critics, Eminem is still convinced that he’s the “greatest.” Eminem’s confidence about being the greatest rapper alive sounds less like he’s convincing others and more like he’s trying to convince himself.

The tracklist runs through more songs about critics of his latest work, his self-imposed troubled relationship status, among other things. The song “Normal” dives into his extensive past lyrics regarding violence towards women.

The most ironic song of the album isn’t a song, but rather a skit. The track “Paul – Skit” is a phone call from Eminem’s manager, Paul Rosenberg, telling Eminem that making an album full of responses to critics of his last album isn’t a great idea.

Perhaps this was advice he should have heeded. One of the biggest headlines stemming from “Kamikaze” is Eminem’s homophobic shot at Tyler, the Creator, who is a proclaimed fan of his work. In the song, Eminem says, “Tyler create nothin’, I see why you called yourself a f—-t, bitch.” The lyrics come from his song “Fall” which has a number of notable rappers on his hit-list. Homophobic slurs such as these have no place in rap, even from Slim Shady himself.

“Kamikaze” is another awkward album in Eminem’s recent catalog. He’s distancing himself from fans and non-fans alike, and has no one to blame but himself. If Eminem wants to stay relevant on the rap scene’s crowded stage, he needs a renaissance, and soon.