Revive Yourself With Eminem
by Ethan Lim
Eminem (Marshall Mathers) returns to the rap scene back and better than ever with his latest release, “Revival.” Dropping five years after his last album (“Marshall Mathers LP 2”), “Revival” may be the 45-year-old rapper from Detroit’s final album. He originally uploaded the audio to “Walk on Water” (feat. Beyonce), one of the biggest hits on the new album, to Youtube and Spotify a few weeks prior to the album’s release in order to build hype for “Revival.” The track was received with mixed reactions from die-hard Eminem fans, rap counessiours, and music critics alike. Some listeners complained about the more “poetic” approach, while others complimented the harmony that existed between Eminem and Beyonce. Regardless of people’s opinions, the general consensus is that Eminem’s return is long overdue.
In the age of “mumble rap,” Eminem’s unique rapping style is a refreshing and timely voice in an era of unoriginal styles. Artists such as Lil Pump, Kodak Black, and 21 Savage have taken over mainstream rap culture. “Bank Account,” “Gucci Gang,” “Skrt,” and other songs dominate rap billboards and pop culture. However, Eminem again breathes life into a stagnating rap world with “Revival.” The harsh, “me against the world” attitude that Eminem has built his reputation on as an artist is again seen in such tracks as “Believe,” “Castle,” and “Heat.” Contrary to his pre release “Walk on Water,” these tracks are more uptempo, electric, and similar to his previous styles that were utilized in “Marshall Mathers LP 2” and “Recovery” (2014). As a whole, “Revival”offers a forgotten, but welcomed approach to rap.
Along with bringing his own distinct style back to the music world, Eminem has teamed up with multiple other artists to create fantastic collaborations. Artists such as Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Ed Sheeran, X Ambassadors, P!nk, and Kehlani are all featured throughout the album. Eminem has never before worked with these artists directly, but the outcome is surprisingly pleasing, especially since Eminem is not known for collaborating with pop artists. Skylar Grey is also featured on the track “Tragic Endings.” However, this is not her first collaboration with Eminem, as she appeared on “I Need a Doctor” with both Eminem and Dr. Dre in 2011. All in all, the decision to work with new artists benefits Mathers because it gives him exposure to pop enthusiasts while still sticking to his old school rapping methods.
In “Revival,” Eminem directs most of his lyrics towards Donald Trump and the political climate in the United States. In his song “Like Home” (feat. Alicia Keys), he denounces Trump’s presidency, while also being self critical of any interactions he may have had with Trump prior to his election. He also calls out Trump for being a “coward,” “nazi,” and “bigot” on the track. A very gutsy move by one of the elders of the rap game. Eminem has received a lot of criticism that “Revival” is too political and strays from what music should really be about (whatever that may be). However, Mathers wanted to use his latest works to make a political difference in America. He makes it clear he does not support the president and presses others who may support Trump to do the same. Because of the influence Eminem has as an individual, “Revival” may impact the political scene in more ways than one.
“Revival” is definitely a must listen for music enthusiasts everywhere. What could be his last album may arguably be his most influential one. No longer does Eminem rap solely about drugs, sex, and violence; but he raps with more meaning. For an old voice with a new message, listen to “Revival” for the time of your life.