In just two days, the hip-hop world has shaken with groundbreaking news. First, the up-and-coming Kendrick Lamar raised the bar with his verse in Control, challenging his peers and competitors to either step up their game or be destroyed by his own. Then yesterday, legendary veteran Eminem gave us the first sneak peek to his eighth, untitled album, which is rumored to come out this fall. There are several things that I find interesting about this news. For one thing, we’re starting to see and hear an entire generation of MCS who’ve been raised by Eminem; rappers in their mid-20s who were between ages 9 and 12 when they first heard Slim Shady’s over-the-top lyrics in My Name Is, and have been listening to him ever since; artists like Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean (who both mention Eminem’s influence on them in Control), Mac Miller, Hopsin, Jarren Benton, Tyler the Creator, Machine Gun Kelly, and many others. The other thing I find interesting is that Eminem and Kendrick, who are both proteges of Dr. Dre, released songs two days a part from each other. Is that a coincidence? Or was this somehow arranged for publicity for Aftermath/Interscope Records?
Apparently, the track that Eminem released, Survival, is not the first single off his new album. The song is meant to promote the new Call of Duty game, Ghosts, and plays in the background of its trailer (the picture above is from the video of Eminem introducing the song and trailer to COD fans). The track is good, though not great. It reminds me of his song with Pink, Won’t Back Down, which was off his 2010 album, Recovery. Both songs include a I’ll-never-stop-fighting mentality, underwhelming female hooks, hard-hitting, rock-‘n-roll instrumentals, and Eminem’s hostile, rapid-fire wordplay. As always, Eminem’s clever lyrics prove why he’s one of the greatest MCs to ever pick up the mic. But sometimes, I just wish he would slooooooow down and not sound so angry all the time. I feel like with this new track, Eminem was trying to replicate pump-up songs like ‘Til I Collapse, which is often played before sporting events and has been featured on a number of movie and video game trailers. So far, the song has garnered polarizing views from fans, with some proclaiming greatness while others are citing disappointment. But as Eminem teaches us with Survival, he can not only survive the blows but can also adjust to them. As I stated in my Kendrick Lamar article here, http://rockoranything.com/?p=700, 2013 has been a big year for rap. And with Eminem’s new album on the horizon, I think we can truly expect some incredible and exciting things.
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