Monday, February 19, 2018


After a somewhat long hiatus Eminem finally dropped his eight album "Revival" - most likely the thematic closer to the trilogy we didn't really know we wanted that also includes "Relapse" (2009) and "Recovery" (2011) which in different ways describes Marsall Mathers' return to a sober life and the hardships and perils of living a stable life without the cruth of those drugs. His latest LP is probably his most  honest album yet as he in a heartfelt way finally make up with many of the problms that has made him relapse, yet his big enough to let go off the anger and see his own wrongdoings as well. I'm talking about songs like "Bad Husband" which is a very different track from the somwhat similiar but totally opposite "Kim" for example. 

As a white emcee that has put out his fair share of wack records, the "True School" heads love to hate on Em while artists like Jay-Z, Scarface, Rakim, Nas, Royce, DJ Premier, and so forth has nothing but the utmost respect for his artistry. Even before the first single of "Revival" dropped haters was quick appearing out of the woodwork to destroy the unheard product and what it looked like on paper based on all the popsingers and commercial soul/R&B artists that was featured on the tracklist. Don't get me wrong, there's a few real golden turds on here but at 19 tracks and 79 minutes long it's clear that Em knows how to make good music at this point - damn, he basically gave the middle finger to half his fanbase, asking them not to support him, did that stop him from making dumb numbers? 

Granted, "Revival" features it's share of weak, uninspired music that would have benefitted tremendously being cut all together but the fact remains that when the LP is good it's really fucking GOOD. 

One of the songs that caught flack was the first single "Walk On Water", produced by Rick Rubin and Beyoncé, and that's just ridiciolous in my opinion, It's a different single for sure, but Eminem is really pouring his heart out here, rhyming his three verses over nothing but a Grand Piano and a string orchestra while Beyoncé does a great job with her vocal part and lyrics. I have a feeling that this was not was Em fans was expecting after the hiatus following "Recovery", an album that overall just felt wrong and forced on so many levels. Here he let all his, and Beyonce's, insecurities shine through over an impeccable melodic instrumental. Lines like "As yesterday fades and the Dresden home is burned to the ground/ and all that's left of my house is lawn/ the crowds are gone, and it's time to wash out the blonde/ Sales decline, the curtains drawn....". It's an excellent way to start an album and the five minutes of somberness and honesty does a great job of preparing us for some hardcore ish with what should have been the two street singles "Believe" and "Clorasephtic".

Not only are these two joints bangers in their own right but it's Eminem kicking the younger generation at their own game. You could call them "trap"-type of beats but it's actually Em and his usual team (Luis Resto, Mark Batson and Mike Strange) that's responsible for "Believe" while Mr. Power single handledly kills "Chloraseptic". "Believe" is by far one of the illest joints on the LP, both production wise and lyricallly. The combination of the strings, the A-minor piano chords, the bass and drums that kicks in during the powerful hook, and the hook itself is really something that would work lovely for a single - "Do you still believe in me?/ Didn't I give everything I had to give you to make you see/ I'll never forget if you turn your back on me now/ and walk out, I will never let you live it down/ I'll never quit, do you still believe.... In me!?" Like I said before this really cries out for a video and radio play.

Both on this and the following track "Cloraseptic" Em is beating the youngings at their own game, with the triplet flow made popular by that girly men Migos. And he sure as hell does a terrific job, showing that even a fairly straightforward and simlple rhyme sceme can be ill as syphillis in the right hands. The trap type beat with its agressive bass line, repetitive piano line and powerful drums that would work well in any club. Again Em kills this mumble rappers at their own game and even get Brooklyn emcee Phresher on the hook. Not to mention the remix where we get Phresher and 2 Chains and a three minute long verse from Em that totally obliberates any blogger that dissed the album based on the tracklist and the first singles.

The second single is an excellent joint that is sort of a follow-up to "The Storm" freestyle diss to the so called POTUS, It's a clever song at that, split into two distinct part. The first part is from a racist white police officer's point of view and is set over a rock rap tune based on a Cheech & Choong classic. Similiar to Joyner Lucas "I'm Not Racist" the second part is straight up boom bap Hip Hop where Em steps into the shoes of a Black Lives Matter activist, feeling violated by the boys in blue on a constant basis, There's plenty of quotables here.

Next up is the third single, "River", featuring Ed Sheeran, a song that I really didn't like the first few times I heard it but that has really grown on me. Lyrically it's a good song that a lot of people can identify with, and I surely take a song like this, pop influences and all, over something like "Without Me" or "We Made It". Ed Sheeran and Em surely has chemistry and the story they tell of a failed relationship that culminates in infidelity and abortion. The song is produced by longtime Em collaborator Emile Haynies and both production and vocals are on point - and the video does a good job of catching the visuals of the record. In other words we are 5 out of 5 "Revival" records so far. Unfortunately we are now at the point where things takes a turn for the worse.

Had the album held a solid 10 songs then this could have been a very focused album but as par for course lately Em is more often than not trying to cram like 20 tracks and have a little something for everyone. Big mistake! I for one relaly liked 3/4 of Rick Rubin's productions on "MMLP2". Hearing their Beastie Boys homage on "Bezerk" was nothing short of excellent, "Rhyme & Reason" was pretty brilliant and Rubin, Kendrick Lamar and Eminem om "Love Game" was pure Hip Hop at its finest. So with that being said Eminem and Rick Rubin can be a great combination, But who the hell came up with the idea of sampling Joan Ett's "I Love Rock & Roll" and barely doing a better interpretation than Britney Spears. And to make it an obnoxious misogynistic joint with weak punchlines like "Your booty is heavy duty like diarreahea" or "You're so fucking fly that you belong in the mile high club". As if that wasn't enough, Rubin's next contribution is basically the same type of song - but instead of Joan Etts he's actually sampling Mark Wahlberg and John C. Reily coked out of their mind recording their "Boogie Nights" demo "Feel The Heat". Punchlines includes "I ask her do she want a computer lodged in her vagina/ Said my dicks is an apple, she said put it inside her,,,,"

While track 6 to 12 features some good lyrics and themes overall they are simply bad records that you don't want to hear again. Track 12, "Framed" is a monster of a record that any Emnem fan from the Slim Shady days to the "Relapse" days are gonna have a field day. It's certainly a Slim Shady record but with some politicial agenda, given how several emcees' lyrical output have been used as evidence in trials. Em is taking this agenda and building a case over super underrated producer and DJ Muggs associate Fredwreck. If it wasn't for the hilarious Steven Avery reference you could easily believe this was an unrelased track, but as such for any doubteers this is pure proof that Em never lost a step. The same goes for "Offended", a lyrical onslaught with a flow that's up there with the best and produced by IllaDaProducer and Eminem. The only downside is the extremely wack hook which works better in the sandbox than on a record.

Following this two excellent joints, we get a lyrical boomerang featuring P!NK called "Need Me" which is all sorts of bad and really boogles the mind whose idea it was to place that song there. Because as Eminem himself said in an interview on the album the epitome of the album is the three final songs - "In Your Head", "Castle" and "Arose". And they sure as hell make up for all the wackness we had to endure between track 6 and 12 (plus 15). I'm big on thematic concept records and "In Your Head", produced by Scram Jones, is sort of like the calm before the storm, but the two final records that closes the album is a one-two-punch that's pure excellence. "Castle" is produced by the always reliable DJ Khalil and is as heartfelt as they come. Liz Rodriguez vocal hook is nothing short of beautiful and the accustic guitar really add to the overall atmosphere. And when the drums kick in and the Farfisa Organ closes the song as Mathers take his suicide attempt by downing his methadone pills its nothing short of a masterpiece. But the song isn't over there, the story continues under the title "Arose",

Sampling Bettle Middler's classic "The Rose" which is heard very slightly under Eminem's verses. Melonhead claimed that this was a case of bad mixing which is all wrong, had the Middler sample been put to the same volume as the verses it would have been travesty. Instead it we are aware of the well known sample being there and that is certainly enough. We had "Walk On Water" but its relaly "Arose" that proves that Rick Rubin is still a top producer when it comes to Hip Hop and overall this is one of the best Eminem songs since the last 15 years, If you can relate this definitely hits home and with the beat, the scratches, the vocals and the flow this is as good as Hip Hop gets these days. This is so heartfelt as it follows up on "Castle", with Em writing letters to his daughter and after Kim taking custody of their girl and then loosing Proof he decides to take his own life. As "Arose" begins one of the most heartfelt moments on the song is Mathers soul leaving his body and seeing himself from up above - something a lot of people experience it after they die in the physical form.

And as his last line on "Castle" is "excuse the cursing, baby/ but just know that I'm a good person/ though they portray me as cold/ And if things should wosen, don't take this letter i wrote as a goodbye note/ because your dad's at the end of his rope/ I'm sliding down a slippery note, Anyways sweetie I better go/ I'm getting sleeping.... Shit I don'r know". These lines and meaning is totallty flipped as Em decides he wants to live, and flush the Methadone in the toilet while deciding ti not only give his life another chance but also his rap careér.

1 comment:

  1. great to see you back this blog is one of my favourites!!

    i wanted to like this album and it has the odd decent track but too many clunky lines and cheesy choruses ruin it as a listening experience for me. I reckon he doesnt hang out with enough rappers who can tell him when he's wack. that song where he plays a cop was kinda interesting and a good message but also still felt pretty naff