Alright first things first, Eminem is a Rap God. He has very little if not nothing to prove to Hip-Hop culture and the world. We have been a part of his life since he first opened those doors and we’ve experienced the journey album through album. Decade after decade, Eminem has time and again outlasted many many emcees and rightfully claimed his spot as the white GOAT. Love him or hate him, he is going to be remembered in Hip Hop history among the elites forever.
This is a new day and age in hip hop. We are seeing two different sides of hip hop at the same time simultaneously probably now more than in any previous era in the culture. We see a lot of trap heavy sounds that have been largely accepted by the masses in recent times. The rise of mumble Rap has taken the hip hop genre to a newer soundscape. There are still emcees who keep the art of lyricism alive and well in the game and at the same time we have amazing producers that create unique styles and sounds for all the top ranking emcees right now.
Eminem has transcended three generations of hip hop by this time. He has seen it all, he has been active in pushing the culture forward and he has done it all within his time. The question that every Hip-Hop Head Right Now faces (the old and new fans that is) is, where does Eminem fit in right now? Is he the old withered emcee that people claim he is? Or is he still ready to drop bombs at any moment, while at the same time displaying his vast range of skill, experience and wit?
In his first album since the past 4 years, Eminem shows us all of his skills and talent are still intact. But at the same time he makes us think – “is this it?”. They say you either die a hero or live long enough to become the villain. With Revival, Eminem has given the critics and some (new) fans a reason to pick on his art. This album doesn’t necessarily need careful listening to understand what it’s completely about. It’s a pretty on the face album and has its ups and downs here and there. It definitely isn’t worth the negative criticism and bashing it receives on mass media worldwide. Is this a contender for top 5 best Eminem albums? No. Is it one of eminem’s most commercially viable albums? Yes.
Does this deserve to get into the top 10 Hip-Hop albums of 2017? Maybe, maybe not.
This album starts out with Eminem and Beyonce feature called “Walk On Water”. This song basically sets the tone for the whole album with regards to lyrics and the exact way that he feels when writing the album itself. In the next couple songs that follow we can all admit we enjoy eminem as he fools around rapping circles around the beat and basically predicting this exact moment in time. The time where people may have started to look over him as being a great emcee that has started to fall off his high horse. These songs are a great lead in to the album.
Untouchable is Eminem consciously rapping about racism in America. And he delivers through and through with the lyrics and the flow. What follows next is the anticipated Ed Sheehan – x- Eminem collaboration “River”. This song delivers the same story arc vibes that “Love The Way You Lie” did. The next few songs are some that we will talk about in a later section.
“Bad Husband” has Eminem making up for his rage towards Kim. That too in a heartfelt open letter type song where he basically does what he does best in penning down his deepest feelings. Framed hints at Slim Shady being the character he lives up to be. It observes the evergreen flow and delivery we have been accustomed to listening to. Songs like “Heat” and “Offended” display the wit and some of these lyrics had to be set in rewind to truly get the meaning of. That is, in the context that he’s spit them. Offended also sees Em break his own Rap God record in terms of syllables per second. An amazing track, an amazing flow.
The Final 3
The last 3 songs, “In Your Head”, “Castle” & “Arose” are glimpses of how great this album could have been had Eminem stuck to more of these concepts. This is what we all wanted to hear and were glad these songs were penned down and recorded. Arose almost puts you in a position as if you were witnessing Em’s last moments. There is beauty in that song out of all the other songs in the album.
Now, with that being said. This is not Eminem at his best at all. The album failed to live up to many expectations. And that’s understandable because of songs like “Remind Me”, “Revival (interlude)” (which we all thought was going to be the title track, the interlude seems lost and pointless in this track list), “Tragic Endings ft. Skylar Grey” (Love The Way You Lie but worse), “Nowhere Fast” (nobody would miss this song if it weren’t on the album), “Need Me ft. Pink” (100% will skip after the 5th listen).
These songs are either too forced, overdone or just played out as far as Eminem has done them. We’ve seen this side of Eminem time and again and we’ve skipped over tracks like these most of the time. This is precisely what holds the album back. Some great features (we really hope to see that 2Chainz “Chloraseptic” verse either on video or audio soon), but none of them really complement the artists that much. The album seems to lose much of its depth when these tracks show up.
In conclusion, the album is pretty good, but not outstanding. Ignore the critics reviews and decide for yourself. In the Era where great lyrics get skipped over, this album has many that deliver strong. There are a few instances where the lyrics do sound like a reach, but not remotely enough to overshadow the best side of Eminem. Revival is far from a disastrous album, but it isn’t that close to a great one either. If we want to put it out there, Jay-Z kept it way more classic than Eminem this year. And showed us that’s what Hip-Hop royalty should have sounded like.
DHH puts a 6.75/10 through to this album. It does way better in the first few songs than entire mumble rap albums this year have done throughout. We definitely hope this isn’t Em’s last album. Plainly because leaving us without another masterpiece would be unjust to Stans around the world.