The bleach-haired villain of rap has reached a flop point in his long-running career or to better word it, Marshal Mathers has finally reached the “has-been” title of fame. His 9th studio album Revival did nothing but prove that maybe it’s about time to finally drop the mic and walk out of the studio. Musically, the album only hits gold on the album rating spectrum. Revival is filled with overwhelming bland hooks and repetitive sound makes for an exhausting listen, and one thing is for sure, Eminem is no longer in his prime. The bleach is gone, the alter ego is silent, the once drug in fueled artist has calmed sobriety.
With the Slim Shady alter ego no longer fitting him, Eminem seems to be stuck in a depressing, self-deprecating feedback loop, revisiting different versions of his former self. The track “Walk on Water” Feat. Beyonce’ is a perfect example of how the artist takes a stab at himself as well as acknowledges the fact that he is no longer is the God of rap as he once was, “The crowds are gone and it’s time to wash out the blonde. Sales decline, the curtains drawn they’re closing the set, I’m still poking my head out from behind and everyone who has doubt, remind now take your best rhyme, outdo it, now do it a thousand times. Now let ’em tell ya the world no longer cares or gives a fuck about your rhymes and as I grow outta sight, outta mind, I might go outta mine ‘Cause how do I, ever let this mic go without a fight?”. And if the beat knocked, the album would probably be tolerable, because I mean who wouldn’t agree that a sick beat can replace crappy lyrics. But legendary executive producers Dr. Dre and Rick Rubin managed to overload a tracklist with uninspired production and instantly forgettable hooks. The album is chock full of stale piano ballads that undercut Eminem’s attempt to explore the weight of his self-doubt.
Now that we got the self-doubt; “whoa is me” part of the album out of the way, let’s bring light to the political bullshit that flooded through this album. Eminem has been no stranger to politics and racial divide with songs like “White America” on The Eminem Show, the song is set up as a speech that Eminem himself addresses his lyrical content and the impact on the white youth of America “I speak to suburban kids who otherwise woulda never knew these words exist…And they connected wit’ me too because I looked like them.” On his Encore album he went after the Bush administrations agenda and dedicated a whole song known as “Mosh” that targeted former president George W. Bush and the war on Al-Qaeda “Fuck Bush, until they bring our troops home.” So why is it that this time a stab at the president is so booed worthy? Because it is redundant! Not only are we now in a generation that is suffering in political divide and political debate, but the “I hate Trump” spiel is less appealing coming from another rich white man. In his song “Framed” from the Revival album, RollingStone review describes it best or better than I could “Eminem reaches back to early tracks like “’97 Bonnie & Clyde” in both sound – relying on the simplest of beats, just two guitar licks and an unchanging drum loop – and violent content: The rapper offers advice here on how to get away with homicide.” With that being said, If you proclaimed you hated the president and already dissed him on some airtime that you got, what would be the next cliché’ step? Murdering the president’s daughter of course! “Dog, how the fuck is Ivanka Trump in the trunk of my car?”. Come on man, we get it you hate Trump, jump off the bandwagon and make some actual music. Eminem had once taken pride on the fact that he was against the establishment and poked fun at the celebrity pop life, now he has become apart of the establishment and has grown to sound like a pop artist, in which at one point he would despise. Even his features on this album seem to be a bit of a head-scratcher. From Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran to Pink, these artists alone would be artists that Em’s past persona would bash and destroy.
The only one thing that makes this 19 track bullshit of an album worth a listen is the understanding of how far Eminem has come as not only an artist but as a person. I can respect and acknowledge that, and for that id give him multi-platinum for growth as an artist. Once the outsider looking in, he is now on the inside and accepted as part of hip-hop royalty. Despite being the highest paid male artist of the 21st century and mentioned by Forbes as one of the wealthiest artist of hip-hop “Eminem isn’t known as a businessman like some of the other names on this list, but he’s still the best-selling rapper of all time and moved more albums in the U.S. during the 2000s than any act in any genre.” Still didn’t earn him the credibility as one of the greatest rappers of all time. In the peak of Eminem’s prime obstacles arose from being a white rapper in an all black genre. He was constantly discredited as a rap artist and was frequently included in the pop genre that he detested. Today, Eminem has proven to have broken the boundaries that kept him secluded from the rap world. From his collaboration with artists Kanye West and Lil Wayne in “Forever”, to taking home the BET Hip-hop award for best lyricist back 2010, he’s finally noticed as the rapper he’s been working so hard to be noticed as. He’s established. He has definitely come a long way as a rapper and more so a person, even though his juvenal lusty jokes are still within his lyrics, he has matured past that rowdy, I don’t give a fuck attitude of which he started with. A music lover can only hope that Eminem still has that fire within him to create that nostalgic feeling you got when listening to his past albums, back when Slim Shady was the fuel to the fire and his anger unleashed memorable lyrics with the dark side of creativity. For now, we wait for the recreation of Eminem. Over all, the album is only worth the buy to have a collection of his story not the sound.
Musical Sound: Gold
Growth of an artist: Mulit-platinum
Worth the buy: Platinum