Eminem – Music To Be Murdered By (Album Review)


GENRE: Rap, Hip-hop


On the 17th of January, 2020, while men slept, Eminem dropped a 20-track album on us out of nowhere, without warning. This is not a drill, A MASSIVE 20 TRACKS, just like that! Who else other than the rap god himself?

We all thought we’d seen the end of Slim Shady and were more than ready to brand him a Legend when no project had been released since The Marshall Mathers LP2 in 2013. Eminem though did what Eminem does by dropping a voluminous album in 2017, ‘Revival‘. Of course, it’s no longer news that it flopped and was critically mauled, even Eminem knows this seeing as he’s mentioned it multiple times. How did Eminem react to this? 8 months ago later, Kamikaze was dropped, just like it’s successor, without warning.

While Revival sounded a mild-sorta Eminem, Kamikaze was the good old blazing, no-care-in-the-world Slim Shady we all love. A reminder of what rap should be like is what Eminem delivered on Kamikaze, he reinvented himself as a legend in the game who was terribly unhappy and horrified at what the genre had become. Mumble Rap(Trap), Tattoo-faced rappers, basically new rappers were all targeted in Kamikaze.

Listening to a man in his late 40s’ who has been in the Rap game for decades complaining about the rap of youngsters like a grumpy old dad shouldn’t be something as edifying as it turned out to be😅.

One thing is sure, Eminem hadn’t given a F*ck in the past, didn’t give a F*ck on Kamikaze, he continues his amazing run by not giving a F*ck on MTBMB and he makes that fact open and for all to see, this is probably why the media hasn’t been off this album since it dropped.

The rap god’s 11th studio album have turned the world upside down (world = social media). It’s Hitchcock-referencing title “Music To Be Murdered By” is an apt description. Em takes his listeners on a tour of sensitive real matters, ranging from the struggle of legendary rappers still in the game but struggling to get accepted to Good old father abuse to drugs use to addressing rap feuds to euthanized childhood pets and a lot about Mass shootings/Gun culture. All these while staying culturally relevant.

A factor that grew the cultural relevance of MTBMB is the features list. This is the Eminem album with the highest feature numbers and trust me when I say every single person featured went really hard and came through for the legendary rapper. From Royce da 5’9″(who I feel is terribly underrated) to Young M.A, Ed Sheeran, Skylar Grey, Q-Tip, Anderson. Paak and the late emo-rap beast Juice Wrld. These guys kept the cultural relevance of the album on a high and it’s just sheer brilliance on Eminem’s side in his attempt to enable versatility and try to embrace the new demands of the Rap Genre.

This album comes with a few lows though, that’s why it’s not at a 10/10 rating. Firstly, Eminem really didn’t need to make MTBMB this voluminous, Kamikaze had 13 tracks and not only did it deliver hit bangers that showed the rapper still possessed his prolific rapping style, but also passed the message it intended on passing loud and clear. When streaming, notice the reduction in quality of the tracks even as you go down the song list, this is only further proof that it really didn’t need to have 20 tracks, lesser would have been good.

Secondly, I think we all know Eminem for crossing lines but I think he just might have overstepped when he belittles the trauma of a then 26-year old Ariana Grande on the song “Unaccommodating” by comparing himself to the Manchester Arena Bomber. Mixed messages were also sent when the song “Darkness” was intended as a searing critique for America’s atrocious Gun culture but featured a use of gunfire and explosion bits both on the song and its video. Leaves a bitter-sweet-bitter taste tbh.

Thirdly, from when we were kids in school, we loved Eminem not just because of his delivery of rhyme-filled lyrics but because he wrote them. Statistically this album features more ghostwriters than any other Eminem album. Still came out nice though but the Em we knew wrote his own songs, at least most.

The album is still an A-list album regardless, definitely one of the best Rap projects we’ll get this year. Offers over an hour of the World’s greatest rapper blasting his unique style of rap away on low-tempo songs and Up-tempo bangers all the same.

Now on to the hard part, choosing the Top 5 tracks on this explosive album according to all round musical quality attributes.

5.) You Gon’ Learn (ft. Royce da 5’9″ and White Gold)

A mid-tempo rap song that’s got a repetition of a double bass X faint drum slap just shows amazing production. Like that wasn’t enough, White Gold dropped a good anthemic chorus, but Royce and Eminem were on different levels.

If y’all against talk and reparation then I’m not against the thought of separation
While the politicians that are white and privileged ask how is this different from segregation, that’s funny bro
The segregation is bein’ told where I’m gonna go
Separation is bein’ woke and goin’ wherever I wanna go

Royce Da 5’9 on ‘You Gon’ Learn

If Royce probably should get paid twice for his work on this album in general. His calm am chilled way of lyrically awesome but self-aware bars is something not so many rappers possess.

Eminem’s flow is amazing, a classic Marshall flow. Twisting the frequency of his lyrical rhythm to the tempo of the beat is Eminem’s speciality and we are here for it 😊.

4.) In Too Deep

Questionable production but my favorite song on the album personally. It’s got a Hazy drums with faint bass, a Miguel-kinda beat.

In an incredible story, Eminem actually sings about cheating on his girlfriend on a married woman. Although they both enjoy their relationship with each other more than the relationships they’re in, but don’t make any moves to leave their current relationship. A cute little song.

3.) Yah Yah (ft. Royce da 5’9″, Black Thought, Q-Tip & Denaun)

A classic feel with a throwback hip-hop tune and a whole lotta’ Hip-Hop generals. This Club Banger includes enough(maybe too much) samples of Busta Ryhmes’ track “Woo Hah!!! Got you all in check.“, a Q-Tip chorus(which was all we got from Q-Tip sadly), Royce, Black Thought and Denaun were simply amazing. Slim Shady didn’t fall behind as he dished out a quality verse like he always does.

A poster song for Raw, undiluted Hip-Hop and a Club Banger.

2.) Godzilla (ft. Juice WRLD)

The biggest song on the album so far stream-wise. You could understand why, Eminem activated his Rap God technicality and went fastest on this song while Juice WRLD gave an amazing hook and chorus on a Bop-moonbounce beat. Another club Banger and the kind of song you break-dance to.

These chicks are spazzin’ out, I only get more handsome and flier
I got ’em passin’ out like what you do when you hand someone flyers
And what goes around comes around just like the blades on a chainsaw

Eminem’s 3rd verse on ‘Godzilla

Eminem doing all 3 verses without letting Juice do his thing in at least a verse is injustice.

1.) Darkness

A lot of people might disagree with this because this is song with the lowest tempo on the album. Eminem’s telling a story on soft keys and gentle drums, the production is an indie feel and it’s absolutely amazing.

He’s trying to talk about the impact of the atrocious Gun culture and mass shootings in the country and how destructive it is to the society. A disturbing takedown of gun violence from the point of view of the perpetrators in the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, one of the worst Mass shootings in US History

All this while producing a good song on a good beat. Ending with media clips from other mass shootings. Sends Chills😱.

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