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EMINEM BRINGS THE SHADY FOR A CLAPBACK

Y’all had to go and conjure Shady. Smh.

Once again for those in the back, real hip-hop’s fundamentals are lyrical skill and its rhythmic executions and mastering both, is essential for achieving maximum supremacy in this endeavor. That should be period end—now take a seat.

But throughout Kamikaze, frustrated elder Eminem spazzes in multiple dimensions on the mumble youngins for their lean-soaked sins against the culture, bashes the brutal echo chamber of smugly thuggin’ tweets and grams from a bitter new chorus of clickbait critics (called out as Charlamagne, Joe Budden and Akademiks), while concurrently grappling with his own harsh reality check—Revival’s giant L last year. All of this lyrical conversation happening while the MC is mimicking, flipping, then absolutely nuking every modern millennial flow that we currently know; cue “The Ringer,” “Lucky You” and “Not Alike.”

Eminem, now cruising midway through his 40s, is also in the struggle with an age-old argument about the soul of the hip-hop genre itself—and perhaps, his own guilt for the role he played in mass gentrifying it. Does the commercial success and mainstream accolades like Grammy Awards (cue “Fall,” "Greatest"), not just invade but potentially crush the foundations of genuine lyricism that defines the actual culture? If you employ ghosts, can you truly be the GOAT?  Is being the Rap God based on skill or who sells the most?

Hip-hop is a whole culture, sure, but new music is ruled by the youth.

“Are you really just gonna reply to everybody who, you don’t like what they have to say about you, or the stuff you’re working on?,” manager Paul Rosenberg is heard delicately pondering on a voicemail to his client, now inserted as one of Kamikaze’s interludes, “I mean, I don’t know if that’s really a great idea.”

Since he’s unleashed Kamikaze four days ago, total silence from the multitudes of targets, no one had the nerve, or the heavy pen to reply, except one. Machine Gun Kelly came with a diss called “Rap Devil” on Labor Day, answering an idol who clowned his whole existence on multiple tracks. But MGK took too predictable a route to discredit his rival, and talked about Shady being "old."  Good luck with that.

Ah, the aging of the '90s standard bearers. It has been a complicated, fascinating journey to watch unfold, with each senior statesman of the genre reinventing themselves in real time amidst a rapidly-changing streaming landscape. Jay-Z stays focused on the Carter family touring dynasty. Diddy dotes on a business empire. Snoop pals with Martha Stewart and recorded a gospel album. While Nasir bricked his own revival, being born again with Yeezus.   

But Eminem’s sweet spot seems to be staying mad AF, so he retreated to stew and lick his wounds (“I’m watching my fanbase shrink to thirds, and I was just tryin to do the right thing, but word”) only to return with 13 new flame emojis. Where Revival was exceedingly mature in subject matter but not at all fastened to youth-centric sounds, Kamikaze really succeeds in connecting to a thoroughly modern feel, even if it’s doing so to completely and totally mock the whole situation. Mimicking a style, while burying the flow: take notes.

Guess I know better than to shade a prodigal great, but was in the room for this one back in the day. Seen the dopeness with my own eyes. Way before 8 Mile, shit even before Dr Dre. That night when a razor thin, intense white boy from Detroit came through the Wake Up Show on 92.3.  An appearance btw, that changed his whole history by taking out five different MCs in one-take battle rounds with absolute lethality. Stumbling through a cypher wasn’t an option then, you see. 

As hip hop dominates as the most popular genre the world now, even bigger than rock, what is the true measure of being the GOAT? Kamikaze demonstrates clearly that if you don’t know, now you know.

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