Updated: May 13, 2020
Guess who's back, back again...that's a corny way to start a review - but not nearly as corny as some lyrics on this album - but don't take that as a negative because I still find them clever, witty and hilarious. Legendary Detroit rapper Eminem surprised the world (again) when he dropped his new surprise album 'Music to Be Murdered By'. Eminem is entering his 4th decade in music which is mad - and on this surprise drop he is changing up his sound to a more modern one which is different from his usual style, with elements of his old self in the mix with his goofy lyrics and classic double/triple entendres. After nearly 25 years in the game since 'Infinite' dropped, you'd think he'd run out of content, and while some of it is similar to his older albums he still has new things to say such as his views on gun laws on 'Darkness' as well as his first thoughts of his Father's death on 'Leaving Heaven' with Skylar Gray.
It's an Eminem album so you can expect some flashy rapping and high technical skill on shows. His rhyme schemes are insane, his flows sharp, his word play is crazy, we get sections of super sonic rapping as well as his ability to rhyme any word. I honestly think this man could rhyme laptop with Armadillo. The production features more modern almost trap beats with common sounds being booming 808's, kicks, snares as well as that specific trap baseline that's prevalent among trap songs. The features do a great job on a whole this album, not a bad feature but it'll discussed more in the track reviews. Some shocks in there such as Juice WRLD and Young M.A but I'm glad they happened. The hooks are very hit and miss from Eminem personally with some ranging from average to poor while some of they are good.
To get into the songs on this album, the intro, 'Premonition - Intro' is a brilliant start. There's too many good bars to count, I'll pick out my favourite, "Only way that you're ahead of me's alphabetically//'Cause if you diss me I'm coming after you like the letter V". The beat is a great trap beat and I'm a sucker for 808's, this is accompliced with a menacing flow to create the perfect introduction. Young M.A has a good feature, nothing special though in 'Unaccommodating' while Em steals the show with his razor sharp flow, hard lyrics and a pure hip-hop hook with the catchy element. The deadly duo of Royce da 5'9'' and Em are back on 'You Gon' Learn' with great chemistry, great flows, great rhyme schemes over a hard baseline - but it's Eminem who edges this one with the help of the beat getting more triumphant as his verse goes on with all instruments intensifying. White Gold also has a nice hook on this. Em & Ed Sheeran's best collab yet comes on the club anthem 'Those Kinda Nights' where Ed does the hook - and I prefer club type Ed than melancholy Ed - and Em handles the verses. It felt old school, almost like 'The Slim Shady LP' Eminem over a modern beat with his fabricated, humorous story telling. Favourite line has to be "Seriously though, jokes aside, how you doin'? You straight?"//She said, "No, I'm bi"//She said, "Are you drunk?," I said, "No, I'm high//I'm checkin' out the chick," she said, "So am I"".
'In Too Deep' sonically sounds nice, nothing new content wise as it's a song about an affair. Great hook from Em. 'Godzilla' features the late, great Juice WRLD, one of my favourite artists who unfortunately passed away last month. His idol was Eminem, so it was joyous to see him absolutely kill the hook on this one. Eminem's flashy rapping as a metaphorical 'monster' was enjoyable over the best beat of the album which provides such energy and bounce to it. The last 20 seconds are breathtaking too - literally. 'Darkness'. Wow. Not lyrically amazing but so potent. The whole song is a double entendre of his anxieties as an artist and the Las Vegas shooting. It's intense, and to really get to grips with it you need to see the music video, click here to watch it. Moving forward, 'Leaving Heaven' features an intense chorus from frequent collaborator Skylar Gray, and 3 verses from Em about different aspects of his life - but I take a focus on the third verse where he finally lets the world know how he feels about his Father's death, "I hate that I'll never get to say "I hate you" to your face". It's a really good track with such layers to unravel. 'Yah Yah' leaves me speechless. 4 legendary rappers, over an obnoxious beat with a killer baseline, undefeatable lyrics and an addictive hook - is peak hip-hop. Listen to it yourself if you don't believe. I just wished Q-Tip got a verse.
'Stepdad' has a horrible hook in my opinion where the multi layering vocals really don't work but it's kind of catchy so I suppose it does it's job. I enjoy the verses, no matter how false to a certain degree they may be it's still a funny story. 'Marsh' is a unique song to say the least yet it's another disappointing hook. The verses are fine with some nice lyrics but there are a few really corny ones in there. It's not a bad song but on the lower end of the album. 'Never Love Again' is fine but again not the best - we've hit a minor blip in the album. The hook's an improvement on the last two songs but what I like the most about the track is it's a breakup song - but when you analyse closer it's about his relationship with drugs and addiction. Clever.
Too skim over a few songs, 'Little Engine' has a fire, 'Relapse' type hook with nice synths going off a screaming sound keeping the fire beat menacing. 'Lock It Up' has a nice Anderson .Paak feature where his smooth vocals kill the hook and his smooth flow kills his verse. Em does his thing here as well it's a good song. 'Farewell' could be song of the summer with it's atmosphere helped by the incredible sample of 'No Games' by Serani. What year Don Toliver is having. After shining on Travis Scott's 'JACKBOYS' Compilation, he is now collabing with Eminem. The misty beat compliments Don Toliver's hook and delivery well on 'No Regrets' as he gives us a great hook. Eminem is solid as well but as I've said his verses are all through this. Finally, 'I Will' is a great posse cut from the Slaughterhouse members bar Joe Budden (for obvious reasons) over a modernised boom-bap beat. A solid end to the album. Em even takes jabs at Lord Jamar that go hard "...been claiming rap when it's not yours//If it was anyone's house G Rap and Rakim would be havin' you mop floors//Run-DMC would be havin' you cleanin' sinks//Yeah, your group was off the chain, but you were the weakest link".
Yeah this is a long one, I had a lot to say. Not a bad song on the album just elements of songs I don't like. The first half of the album is on track for a 10/10 but there's a minor drop off in quality in the second half. Artistically a huge step up from Eminem - while I enjoyed 'Revival' & 'Kamikaze' - the sound of this album artistically is an upgrade. He's making the music he wants to make.
FAVOURITE TRACKS: Premonition - Intro, You Gon' Learn, Godzilla, Darkness, Yah Yah, Never Love Again, Little Engine, Lock It Up, Farewell, No Regrets, I Will
LEAST FAVOURITE TRACK: Stepdad
OVERALL RATING: Light 9/10
*REVISED SCORE: Review may not match favourite tracks and overall rating because I've since re-listened and changed my score.*