Be ready to get murdered by Eminem's music!
Updated: Feb 7
Tell your friend that Shady is back with a surprise, which is his 11th album Music To Be Murdered By that was released on January 17th, 2020 under the labels Shady Records, Aftermath and Interscope Records. Eminem's last album, Kamikaze in 2018 was a bomb targetting mumble rappers, and lately, Eminem was again involved in his long-time feud with Nick Cannon which in my opinion was a ridiculous battle from both parties. As big as Eminem is, he did not need a single promotion buzz to announce his new album but the only thing we heard last year was that Dr. Dre and Em were secretly working on an album. Speaking of the good doctor, Dre was heavily active in the production of the album, alongside The Alchemist and other producers were added to the project such as Mr. Porter, Dawaun Parker, Dem Jointz, Royce da 5'9" and others. The featured guests are Ed Sheeran, Royce da 5'9", Young M.A., Skylar Grey, Q-Tip, Black Thought, Anderson Paak, Slaughterhouse, and the late Juice Wrld.
Music To Be Murdered By starts with the introduction song "Premonition" featuring background vocals by Nikki Grier. Eminem did not waste any time as he's already murdering the first song, and he addresses a lot of subject like his album Revival where he rapped a lot of conscious themes but people said he was boring, then he dropped Kamikaze and people said he sounded too angry, violent and offensive. Eminem states that this hip-hop game would make you go crazy if you listen too much to the fans, he also addresses his success and compares himself to his long-time idol LL Cool J and that not a lot of people appreciate the longevity of rappers which made Em states "Instead of us being credited for longevity, And being able to keep it up for this long at this level, we Get told we'll never be what we were Bitch, if I was as half as good as I was, I'm still twice as good as you'll ever be." The song and the album also starts with a sample of Alfred Hitchcock "Music To Be Murdered By", when I first heard that, it put a smile in my face as it made me think Dr. Dre is back because back in 2006, Dre used that same sample and the same beat intro beat we can hear in Em's song on The Game's original "One Blood" version and Kam's "Murder dem Murderers" for Snoop Dogg's Blue Carpet Treatment but this one never got released because it was considered too violent.
The following song is called "Unaccommodating" featuring Young M.A. with a dope instrumental and a nice lyrical first verse from Young M.A. with her good flow. Unfortunately, Young M.A. has been of one of those victims of doing a song with Shady where Em goes crazy with his flow and his wordplays on his 2 verses which made me almost forget that Young M.A. was in the song, (no disrespect). Speaking of disrespect, Eminem did not back down for stirring controversy on him for talking about subjects like the Manchester attack at Ariana Grande's concert, a 9/11 reference and comparing himself to Saddam Hussein and Ben Laden but let's be real, this is Eminem being Eminem so this is no surprise and it should not affect anyone if you know Shady. "You Gon' Learn" is a nice collaboration with Eminem featuring Royce da 5'9". Both rappers are talking about their troubles and demons to their current journey to stardom, and it seems at the end of his verse, Eminem takes shots at both Nick Cannon and Tee Grizzley. Overall it's a good song with good use of the sample from Billy Preston's "With You I'm Again." Next up, is an interlude called "Alfred" from Alfred Hitchcock's "Music To Be Murdered By." Then we have "Those Kinda Nights" featuring Ed Sheeran which kind of reminds of Em's 2000s days and the song also reminds of Eminem's "Shake That" featuring Nate Dogg. The song has a nice instrumental and Ed Sheeran's hook gives the song a good twist and I wouldn't be surprised and this would be a mainstream hit. "In Too Deep" is a song where Em talks about being in love and in a deep relationship with another woman while he's in a relationship with someone else and that the other woman is in a relationship with another man. The following song "Godzilla" is featuring the late Juice WRLD on the hook. The track has a nice instrumental with Eminem who raps a final fast verse towards the end of the song. "Darkness" is a deep song with a slow instrumental where Eminem raps as the shooter of the Las Vegas massacre in 2017 which makes references to a lot of shootings that have been going on in the U.S.A. This type of song takes me back to Eminem's Encore album and the instrumental reminds me of his song "Like Toy Soldiers". The next song is another duet between Eminem featuring Skylar Grey called "Leaving Heaven." In this song, Eminem raps about the times his back was against the wall, he also talks about the time that his father walked away from him when he was a child to his father passing away in 2019. I think "Yah Yah" is my favorite song from the album with the featuring of Royce da 5'9", Black Thought, Q-Tip and Denaun. Royce starts his verse with interpolation from Das EFX "They Want EFX", and all 3 verses from Royce, Black Thought, and Em were long and seriously insane. Eminem finished his verse by naming with dedication a lot of veteran and hip-hop pioneers from LL Cool J, Run-DMC, EPMD, The D.O.C., King T, Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, Eric B & Rakim, The Notorious B.I.G. and N.W.A. This song that includes 4 of the greatest lyricists we have in this hip-hop game, samples Busta Rhymes "Woo Hah!! Got You All In Check."
Halfway through Music To Be Murdered By, we have an interlude called "Stepdad" followed by the song "Stepdad" where Eminem opens up about his relationship with his stepfather, and then we have the song "Marsh" where the instrumental sounds like a mysterious horror movie background music. The song "Never Love Again" is where Eminem talks about his love and hate relationship and addiction he had with drugs. The song is produced by Dr. Dre, Dem Jointz, and Fredwreck. Then we have the song "Little Engine" where Eminem shows his Slim Shady evil personality, but I felt that the song was out of place and a bit childish. The following song "Lock It Up" has a banging instrumental produced by Dr. Dre with a featured appearance from Anderson Paak, a great song from this duo. "Farewell" is another relationship song where Em has a love/hatred with someone else which makes him feel likes he's in hell. The song has a good production and good use of Serani's "No Games" sample which gives the song a good vibe. Then we have the song "No Regrets" featuring Don Toliver where Eminem reminisces about his drug addiction, putting out his anger in his songs towards other artists like Tyler The Creator and Earl Sweatshirt and going at anybody that mentions his daughter's name. Why should Em have any regrets regarding this, because this is who he is since he came into the scene and got his respect, but we're happy that he is off the drugs and that he is healthy for a very long time. The last song of the album is "I Will" featuring Slaughterhouse members Royce da 5'9", KXNG Crooked and Joell Ortiz and this song is just straight lyrically savage. The beat is crazy, the wordplay and punchlines are fire which makes this song 100% hip-hop. The album finishes with an interlude outro called "Alfred."
As a surprise album, Music To Be Murdered By was a good surprise, and I Iiked it more than Kamikaze itself. The album had fewer filler songs than Kamikaze and Em did a nice balance between him being angry and doing some woke songs as well. His rapping skills are definitely still there after 23 years with his long verses and his wordplay abilities and not one featured guest had a disappointment appearance. Eminem addressed a lot of his personal issues and compared to Kamizake he did not talk about a lot of rappers except for Lord Jamar, Nick Cannon, and Tee Grizzley. Like I said in my previous review on Em's Kamizake, Eminem has to be one of the few rappers that always pay homage to rappers that led a path for guys like him to be present in the hip-hop scene. It's also nice to see him and Dr. Dre back together again as you can see with the album production compared to the previous ones, Dre had to do a lot with the executive production.
Beat Instrumental: 3.5/5
Album Production: 4/5