I’ve always been a fan of Eminem. I grew up with his anger, and over the years, as I imagine many fans feel. have developed a relationship with him. I feel like I know him, and something about his music makes me feel “home.” A dysfunctional home, but still…home.

When I was in graduate school studying poetry, I seriously considered writing my thesis on his work, not the content, but his, and I do not say this lightly, genius use of polyrhythm and lyrical structuring. To this day, I’m continually impressed by his use of language.

Over the years, I’ve listened to each of his new albums as he’s explored his personal life and the position in the hip hop world he’s created for himself. And after all this time, he remains the best MC out there, and his latest work finds him at the top of his game.

His new album Kamikaze is fast. Like, really fast. But it’s not the speed and technical proficiency that wows me, though it certainly is an incredible element of the songs. What stands out to me is his heart and tone. His verses are unique characters in the tonality of his delivery. You can feel his pain, his anger, his regret, and best of all, his swagger. This is an album by an artist who knows he’s the best because no one in the last decade has ever come close to usurping his throne. And that’s an incredible achievement.

But here’s where it get’s really interesting. In the opening track “The Ringer,” he talks about the loss of fans he had from his BET performance where he solidly bashes Trump and draws the line for his fans. If you haven’t seen the performance, I encourage you to go watch it. His simple and powerful freestyle is a nod to those without a voice, represented by the men who stand solemnly behind him, a visual demonstration and endorsement by black men who have been criticized for using their platform to speak out against racism.

I’ve always admired Eminem’s ability to be a part of hip hop culture without appropriating it, and I feel he accomplished this by shunning the tropes of the genre and reinventing it to be his own. When I saw his BET freestyle, I was pleased to see the silent embrace and election of Eminem as the spokesperson for these trying times where hatred and racism in America is more present and violent than ever.

I’m proud to be a fan of his. I’m proud to see a white, straight male use his platform to give others a voice. To not ignore but lean into what’s happening to our country. So thank you, Marshall. Who’d have thought that Slim Shady was the hero we needed?

Check price for Kamikaze on Amazon.


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