Boom: Eminem drops surprise new album, ‘Kamikaze’

Marshall Mathers takes shots at hip hop’s new wave and pays visual homage to the Beastie Boys.

Who saw this coming? Eminem is out to reclaim the hip hop crown with a brand-new album, Kamikaze.

Yesterday, Em teased a new song that he made for the highly anticipated superhero film Venom, which arrived today—with 12 other unexpected songs in tow. This 45-minute album, executive produced by Em and Dr Dre, comes only a year after his last release, Revival.

Older hip hop heads will immediately recognize the homage embedded in its packaging: The album art clearly alludes to the cover of Beastie Boys’ legendary debut, Licensed To Ill.

But younger listeners’ ears are more likely to prick up on “The Ringer,” where he turns his nose up at the triplet flow (“You have any idea how much I hate this choppy flow that everyone copies tho / Probably no”) and hip hop’s new wave (“I can see why people like Lil Yachty / But not me tho”).

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And Eminem knows just how much of a firebrand he’s being—check out the skit with a phone call by his manager Paul Rosenberg, who asks him, “Are you really just going to reply to everybody who you didn’t like what they had to say about you or what you’re working on?”

The album also features a few rap and R&B up-and-comers: Joyner Lucas guests on “Lucky You,” Royce Da 5’9” on “Not Alike,” and Jessie Reyez on “Nice Guy” and “Good Guy.” There are also a few unexpected artists who’ve been credited. As Pitchfork notes, Bon Iver is credited on “Fall,” Kendrick Lamar on “Greatest” (check out Em belting “Revival didn’t go viral!”), Little Dragon on “Normal” and more.

That looks like a lot of work and effort put into an album that Eminem says he “tried not to overthink.” What do you think? Listen to Kamikaze here:

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