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Album Review

Eminem just dropped his 10th studio album, Kamikaze. The release went completely unannounced beforehand (as he wanted it), and it steers away from the heavily political vibe that filled 2017's Revival.

So if you're wondering if the famous rapper has mellowed at all here, well, no, he hasn't. Kamikaze unleashes Eminem's anger toward a broad swath of targets, including nameless critics and well-known public figures.

Some lyrics feel raw, honest and confessional. But more often than not, even those self-aware moments boil over into lyrics dripping with vulgar, gratuitous rage toward anyone who oppposes this self-proclaimed “rap god.”

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

“Paul (Skit)” consists of a voice mail message from friend Paul Rosenberg, who challenges Eminem not to engage with some critics of Revival. Although Eminem doesn’t heed his friend's words, Rosenberg still wisely observes, “I mean, I don’t know if that’s really a great idea … it’s a slippery slope.”

Eminem is proud of his originality, calling out other rappers (on songs such as "Fall," "Not Alike" "Lucky You" and "The Ringer") whom he believes are just imitating the biggest hip-hop artists of the day. And in "Not Alike," he also mocks rappers who pretend to have a violent backstory … but actually don't: "You say you’re affiliated with murderers, killas (ayy)/The people you run with are thuggin’ (gang)/But you’re just a wannabe gunna (gang).”

Eminem apologizes for some things he now realizes he shouldn't have said or done. In “Lucky You,” he admits, “I have said a lotta things in my day/I admit it, this is payback in a way/I regret that I did it.” And in “Stepping Stones,” he deals with subjects such as mistakes, mortality and his need to be cleansed from his sin: “I’ma wash away my sins/I’ma rinse away this dirt/I forgot to make amends/To all the friends I may have hurt.” It's a well-intended sentiment, even though from a theological point of view, none of us can wash our sins away apart from Christ's sacrifice for us (and our transgressions).

"Good Guy" refers to a past relationship that, even though it was difficult at times, "still gave me hope." And on “Normal,” Eminem longs for stability he can’t seem to grasp.

On “Fall,” Eminem confesses he was once addict. But now, as a "workaholic" (itself problematic, but less so than being a drug addict), he says he's left behind his former habits: “Me and my party days/Have all pretty much parted ways.” Meanwhile, “Kamikaze” vulnerably admits that he “turned to rap ‘cause it made me feel tough when I wasn’t (wasn’t).”

Eminem apologizes to those he previously offended with his strong political opinions on “The Ringer.”

Objectionable Content

But "The Ringer" still can't resist lobbing some mocking lyrics at the president: “These verses are makin’ him a wee bit nervous/And he’s too scurred [scared] to answer me with words.”

Elsewhere, violent, sexually crude songs rehash previous dysfunctional relationships (“Good Guy,” “Normal” and “Nice Guy"). Eminem attacks an ex verbally, rapping, "Got your tubes tied for him/Got that boob job for him" ("Good Guy"). That song also includes input from Marshall Mathers' seedy alter ego, Slim Shady: “I can hear you say, ‘Marshall, what a skank I’ve been/And there’s a new guy, you’re being replaced by him.'"

"Normal” tells the story of a woman Eminem doesn't trust—even though she could make a good case for not trusting him: “Hope she doesn’t notice me goin’ through her purse/I know she cheats, and while I’m soulless, she’s heartless." In the end, he grimly confesses, "I slipped up and busted her jaw with/A Louisville Slugger”

Still more verbal lashings find Eminem aggressively speaking out against anyone who has something bad to say about him in songs such as “Em Calls Paul (Skit),” “Venom,” “Fall,” “Kamikaze,” “Not Alike,” “Lucky You,” “Greatest” and “The Ringer.”

"The Ringer” hints at more violence, too, when Eminem comments, “I feel like I/wanna punch the world in the f---in’ face right now.” In “Not Alike” he tells haters (specifically other rap artists) that he is nothing like them: “I don’t do Jordans and Audemars/I do explosions and Molotovs.”

We hear various references to drugs, alcohol and substance abuse as Eminem raps about painkillers, marijuana, alcohol and getting drunk. On “Good Guy,” he talks about a woman who smells like “cyanide” and is “blackout drunk," even though "now she’s backin’ out my drive.” “Not Alike” mentions flushing drugs down the toilet before the police show up.

The 13 tracks here contain uses of the f-word, s-word and c-word, as well as many uses of “n-gga,” “b--ch,” “a--,” “d--n" and h---.” Some profanities are in Spanish. We hear many crude references to the male anatomy, too.

Summary Advisory

In an interview with the rapper Sway, Eminem said, “There is something inside me that is a little more happy when I’m angry. There’s a rush of it I like because it inspires me to say something back.”

And say something back he does, as Eminem's anger once again provides the fuel for Kamikaze. Misogynistic lyrics are pervasive, as are violent suggestions, blistering vulgarities and harsh sexual innuendo.

Eminem's famous (and, perhaps more often, infamous) wordplay is still a skill few of his peers can match, especially in an age where so many are accused of using ghostwritten material. But that talent can never erase what you’ll hear on this album, one in which momentary glimpses of vulnerability and confession get washed away by the river of Eminem's rage.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Debuted at No. 1.

Record Label

Aftermath Entertainment

Platform

Publisher

Released

August 31, 2018

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Kristin Smith

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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