Rap God has done it again. Marshall Mathers, better known as Eminem, released another surprise album. “Music To Be Murdered By” dropped at midnight Jan. 17.
While it might seem like he has broken his silence, the Detroit native has made a few musical appearances since putting out “Kamikaze” back on Aug. 31, 2018. He was featured in the songs “Lord Above” by Fat Joe and “Remember The Name” by Ed Sheeran.
The gap between Eminem’s last two albums was bridged most notably by “Killshot.” This was the final song in the rap battle between Eminem and Machine Gun Kelly.
Mathers’s newest album title and cover art was inspired by Jeff Alexander’s album “Alfred Hitchcock Presents Music To Be Murdered By.”
While this new album was a surprise, it came with a little more of a warning than “Kamikaze.” On Aug. 28, 2019, Mathers tweeted, “People think they want this problem ‘til they get it.” This was an effective way to spark suspicion that new music was coming.
There are many things that can be broken down from this album, but we will focus on four.
First, Mathers has not only retained his incredible ability to rattle off syllables at a quick rate, but he sounds as if he’s getting faster. There are parts in “Unaccommodating” and “Godzilla” that may have exceeded the rate of the lines in “Rap God.”
Second, the rap battle with MGK: Eminem says in “Unaccommodating” that the feud is over between the two. Mathers sounds as if he also declared himself the winner when saying, “I cleansed him of his mortal sins.”
Many people believe the beef started back in 2012. Kelly commented on a picture of one of Mathers’s daughters, saying that she was rather attractive in a slightly more explicit manner.
If this was not the start of it, MGK certainly lit the fuse in March of 2018. He was featured in the song “No Reason (The Mosh Pit Song)” by Tech N9ne. Kelly appears to take a jab at Eminem saying “You just rap, you’re not Gods.” This is in reference to the song “Rap God.”
In the same song, MGK said: “You gone need a doctor, I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout the one from Compton.” This is in reference to Dr. Dre, who signed Mathers to Aftermath Entertainment and has produced the majority of Eminem’s music.
Mathers’s response came from “Not Alike” on “Kamikaze.” He tells Kelly, “Next time you don’t gotta use Tech N9ne if you wanna come at me with a sub-machine gun.”
MGK retaliated rather quickly with “Rap Devil.” The name of the song is an obvious reference to “Rap God.” For nearly five minutes, Kelly takes numerous jabs at Mathers.
Eminem delivered the final blow in the war with “Killshot.” It took him just over four minutes to respond to MGK. While many people debate who won the entertaining battle between the two rappers, it is now over.
The third notable element in “Music To Be Murdered By” is the enigmatic relationship between Eminem and his ex-wife Kim. He has never been quiet about her. In fact, he has mentioned her many times in his music throughout his career.
In his last three albums, Mathers has provided some detailed insight about their relationship. He has been able to find new ways to essentially say the same thing. “Bad Husband,” “Tragic Endings,” “Normal,” “In Too Deep” and “Farewell” all share a similar message.
The songs talk about the mutual abuse and strong disliking for one another, and that they also cannot live without each other. How does that work? Eminem and Kim are possibly the only ones with the answer.
The final topic of examination is Eminem and his status as the greatest of all time. Mathers has been vocal lately about his status as the best rapper both today and in history.
He was straightforward about this issue in his song “Greatest” on “Kamikaze.” The hook of the song says he feels like the “greatest in the world.” If that is not enough, the next line goes on to say, “No lie, I might be best to ever do it.”
The topic comes up again in the song “I Will.” Mathers says, “They wanna put my style to the test. Am I still the best? They want the crown on my head.” Mathers seems to view himself as the best in the game today.
He seems to have a problem with what the rap game has evolved into today. This new album, along with “Kamikaze,” appears to be him expressing his displeasures with artists today. He has done so before these albums though.
In 2012, Eminem was featured in the song “Syllables” with Dr. Dre, Jay-Z and four other artists. In the song, each artist expresses their issue with this new age of rap music. They express that they believe the genre has digressed from what it should be.
As far as Eminem’s rank in the rap game both today and forever, those are debates that may never be agreed on. There is something that does not need to be overlooked. That is Eminem himself.
Mathers may very well be the last elite artist from the best era in rap music history. The genre’s peak started around the mid-1980s when N.W.A. burst onto the scene. The 90s ushered in Snoop Dogg, Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G. Eminem took off in 1999 with “The Slim Shady LP.”
That era is coming to an end. Eazy-E died of AIDS in 1995; Tupac was murdered in 1996; The Notorious B.I.G. was murdered in 1997; Ice Cube is doing more acting than he is music and Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg are in the mogul stage of their careers.
Dr. Dre is not one to put out his own music often. His three solo albums came out in 1992, 1999 and 2015. With the Compton, CA native being 54 years old, it would be surprising if he drops another album.
Unless Dr. Dre decides to release his much-anticipated album “Detox,” Eminem could be all we have left from this shining time period.
Who knows how much longer he’ll stick around? Mathers is 47. There may not be much more music we will get from him.
So appreciate this album. It may be all we have left from a glorious time in this genre’s history.