“Kamikaze” goes from fierce to heartfelt
Following one seemingly innocent tweet Aug. 31, “Tried not 2 overthink this 1,” Eminem dropped his new album, Kamikaze, on the unsuspecting masses. Even with no publicity prior to its release, the album managed an impressive 434,000 sales in the first week of release, the fourth-highest sales week for any album in 2018.
The album starts off strong. The first track—“The Ringer”—opens with a background sound of a plane creashing, followed by Eminem rapping, “I wanna punch the world in the face right now.” The thundering beat produced by Illa Da Producer gives Eminem the kick to his lyrical flow. The song attacks prominent rappers Eminem calls “mumble rappers,” such as Lil Yachty, Lil Pump and Lil Xan. The disses don’t end there, though: the track concludes by bashing media journalists who didn’t give him good publicity for his last project, “Revival.” He raps, “But my beef is more media journalists, I said my beef is more meaty, a journalist, can get a mouthful of flesh.”
While Eminem’s opener outwardly roasts rappers and journalists alike, what makes this album unique are its heartfelt songs, like “Stepping Stone.” The song has an upbeat vibe but Eminem adopts an apologetic tone when he opens up about his regret for not leading his old rap group, D12, in the right way after their leader passed away in 2006. He says, “And at the time I was goin’ through my own struggles too. So I wasn’t in no condition to be coachin’ us through.”
Eminem gets personal again in “Normal” when he raps about searching for a healthy relationship. This vulnerability shows a softer side of the rapper and humanizes him to his audience, reminding fans that he is more humble and self aware than the audience might think.
This album struck a chord in listeners of all ages, and was Eminem’s way of telling his critics that he still has the skills to embarrass anyone in the rap game and to make a platinum selling album.