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Kamikaze Fallout: Who Took the Biggest L from Eminem

The hip-hop community has been torn to shreds by its great white shark, Eminem, these past few weeks with the release of his newest album titled Kamikaze. Just as the Japanese Kamikaze fighter jets thrust America into a World War, so too has Marshall Mathers, sending a barrage of lyrical bullets that have caused fans to pick sides or get caught up in the diss track crossfire. In this article I’m going to give a brief history lesson on the Real Slim Shady for those of you still stuck in 8 Mile, then I will breakdown Kamikaze and speculate a reason for its release, and finally, I’ll address the aftermath including the murder of a poor naive firearm.

Though Marshall Bruce Mathers III aka Slim Shady aka Eminem may not be your favorite rapper, he is the greatest rapper alive. Period. You can argue with me all you want in the comments section but this is not fake news, this is fact. The question of whether Eminem is the greatest artist alive is one I would gladly sit down and debate but only because Eminem has far surpassed the title of rapper at this point in his career.  The numbers don’t lie folks. He is the highest selling rapper ever and one of the highest selling artists of all time. He is the only person to ever consecutively land on the top of the Billboard 200 charts 9 times in a row. He has won too many grammy’s to count and he did it all through lyrical talent. No opponent can face Eminem in a ring because unlike the mumble rappers of today, He represents the pinnacle of lyric and flow prowess. From battle rapping to commercial singles, Eminem has shown time and time again that there is no one capable of outwitting him lyrically. With that being said, Eminem is 45 years old and in the last ten years, he has not produced a record or track that can compare to his previous work. It is safe to say that Eminem was on a decline judging by the release of his recent and worst album, Revival. I say “was” because Kamikaze unleashed the Kraken we know and love.

Eminem clearly harbored bitterness after the overwhelming negativity he received for Revival, especially from fellow artists such as Joe Budden, Tyler the Creator, and Machine Gun Kelly. His response, Kamikaze, was an exceptional step up from Revival but was held back, in my opinion, by a lot of that whiny bitterness coupled with an inability to accept failure. Or was it? Although a lot of the traditions and cultures of hip-hop have faded over the years, one that has stood the test of time, arguably for the wrong reasons, is Beef. Challenging other rappers lyrically has always been a win-win for both fans and rappers. Competition produces more music and pressures artists to produce more quality content in order to defeat their opponent. Kamikaze was Eminem’s calling card telling others rappers to step their game up or risk becoming Drake post-Pusha T’s diss track or Meek Mill post-Drake. This is where Eminem shines. If Eminem was Superman, his version of sunlight would be a lyrical cage match,  battling with hooks and punchlines. Kamikaze was the perfect Trojan Horse. Eminem responded to the hate by calling everyone’s bluff, baiting the rappers who opposed him to step forward and voice their concerns directly to their King.

“Lackin’ with it, “he ain’t spittin’ like this on his last shit”

Ho, you better go back and listen

You know me better, thinkin’ I’ll slow or let up

Call it trap ’cause it’s a total setup”

-Eminem “The Fall”

One of the casualties lost during Kamikaze’s aftermath was rapper, Machine Gun Kelly. Eminem called him out in the song, Not Like Us, for previous negative comments concerning his daughter. The Hunter laid his trap for the arrogant unsuspecting deer and waited. He didn’t have to wait long. MGK released a diss track called Rap Devil shortly after, already digging his grave with the title. MGK is a 28-year-old rapper who, based on the title of his diss track and the fact that he made it in the first place, believes he is on par with Eminem, the rap God. Not only on par but openly challenging Eminem’s reign of supremacy over the rap game which he acknowledges in the first couple lines of the track.

“Homie we get it, we know that you’re the greatest rapper alive.”

This was Jackie Chan versus The Karate Kid. This was Yoda versus Jar Jar Binks. And this was the moment Eminem needed to reinforce his top dog dominance over the ever-changing hip-hop community by making an example of an insolent pup.  For 4 minutes and 14 seconds, Eminem completely decimates MGK with heavy hitting punchlines and a flow that rides the beat tighter than MGK’s man bun.

The one line that stuck with me was, “As long as I’m Shady, he gon’ have to live in my shadow.” This man paved the road for white rappers like MGK to even exist. Sometimes you need to remind people who their father is. When news broke out that MGK didn’t even write his own bars on Rap Devil, he was already deceased. Rumors circulated that fans booed him off the stage when opening for Fall Out Boy. Rest in Peace.

Whether this was all an ingenious plan by Eminem to restore some faith in his fans that he’s still got it at 45, or an old and bitter man’s last laugh is unknowable. Will Eminem respond to G-Eazy’s diss track or Joe Budden’s ridiculousness on The Breakfast Club interview, we also don’t know for sure. What we know for certain is that Eminem still has the ability to tap into that beast within we all know and love. All we can do is hope he taps into that beast on his next album.

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