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The Eastern Echo Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

Eminem's "MTBMB"

Review: In "Music To Be Murdered By," Eminem embraces anger and supremacy

Eminem surprised the world with his new album "MTBMB," where he addresses his critics, gun control awareness and drug abuse.

Slim Shady is back and we are living in his world like an apocalyptic playground. Marshall Mathers surprised us all by releasing his eleventh studio album "Music To Be Murdered By” and social media is railing off the tracks. The 20-song LP features frequent collaborators Royce da 5’9 and Skylar Grey along with new, promising artists Young M.A. and Don Tolliver.

Eminem has never let out a word on his releases since his harshly reviewed Revival album. Get ready for some controversial bars.

The opening track “Premonition (Intro)” picks up right after 2018 "Kamikaze,” where calling out media critics is his focus. He laughs at music conglomerate reviews where he supposedly sounded bitter or weak, yet he was still spitting ether.

No matter what Eminem adapts to, the criticism will not end - but at least his rage is still intact. “Unacommodating” featuring Young M.A has both emcees in a discomforting yet charismatic attitude to the media. In Thanos mode, Slim Shady warns listeners to beware of triggers - he’s leaving carnage to today’s rap scene.

Mathers received backlash from one of his bars involving Ariana Grande’s Manchester tragedy. However, die-hard Eminem fans reminded “Arianators” that he’s just as charitable and aware as any music veteran.

“But I'm contemplating yelling "Bombs away" on the game / Like I'm outside of an Ariana Grande concert waiting.”

Take the accompanied video of “Darkness,” where Marshall re-enacts the assailant of 2017’s Las Vegas mass shooting. Indeed, the video resurfaces an evil tragedy but it highlights gun control through its mention of imbalanced gun laws in the United States. Mental anxiety while performing on a stage also gets spotlighted in the grim visual. At the end, Mathers asks “When does it end? When enough people care” - hopefully it brings more consideration on gun policy from lawmakers.

The most impressive track on this LP should be "Godzilla" featuring the most surprising chorus from late rapper Juice WRLD. Juice’s chorus is perfect while The Rap God is slaying the microphone in Ultra Instinct fashion. I haven’t heard Shady rap this fast since “Rap God” dropped - it is amazingly ferocious, just like the titled monster.

"I'm Atilla, kill or be killed, I'm a killer, be the vanilla gorilla / You're bringin' the killer within me out of me / You don't want to be the enemy of the demon who went in me/ And be on the receiving end of me, what stupidity it'd be / Every bit of me’s the epitome of a spitter."

If you didn’t know about Eminem’s eleven years of sobriety, the breakup songs “Never Love Again” and “In Too Deep” enlighten us on why he’s private from the public eye. He’s singing out his situations through strange drum rhythms, leaving us to guess if it’s a new woman or a figurative prescription drug. The beat switch from sorrow pop to trap makes it proficient when he flushes away his demons.

“Gotta take you in doses, but when you're not at my side / I shake in convulsions, separation anxiety 'cause we may be the closest / Yeah, baby we hopeless, don't we make an atrocious Combination / We know, it's like playin' with explosives.”

A standout emerald on the album, where Eminem is fully closing the closet on his father, lies in “Leaving Heaven” featuring Skylar Grey. Skylar’s voice is satisfying to this rock-rap song where Marshall remembers his accomplishments tailed by media pricking on his lyric controversies (i.e. Tyler the Creator, MGK). What they should realize is they’re only strengthening the inevitable: Mathers only gets more versatile and angry if you keep poking him. I’m not shocked on his absolute malice toward his father, even after hearing of his death in June 2019. If the first Mathers wasn’t absent from his life, the world wouldn’t have the universal King of Hip-Hop today.

Of course Slim Shady takes over with the extraterrestrial flexes on favorites “Marsh” and “Little Engine.” Marshall is literally out of this world because of over 20 years in mind-breaking wordplay with psycho tendencies.

I have to acknowledge another newcomer - Don Tolliver - for his melodic chorus on “No Regrets” - it’s a very introspective outlook on Mathers’s troubled history and derogatory remarks in his recent beefs. This ghostly trap banger done by D.A. Doman is flawless where Em claims nothing in his life should be changed.

At the end, unfulfilled rap supergroup Slaughterhouse was reunited for a boom-bap song of classic hip-hop - “I Will." Kxng Crooked, Royce da 5’9 and Joell Ortiz all lend a prophetic hand to the mic, but Joe Budden is missing from the track. Another posse cut from earlier “Yah Yah” pays homage to rap icons for paving way to today’s storytellers.

Eminem is still at the top of the mountain - or even higher - despite critics’ confusing issues and age. He’s still a legendary storyteller with explosive excitement to pull from anywhere. There’s no desire for him to beef but only to make the iconic content that everyone cherishes.

I rate this album 5 out of 5 Swoops.