Music to Be Murdered By

Growing up in the 1990s, Eminem was a hero for every teenage boy and a super villain for their classmates. Spewing vulgarity and home-bleach dye jobs, the Slim Shady wannabes wreaked havoc at my middle school with Em’s signature potty humor and offensive language that would get students sent straight to the principal’s office with pride.

To quote his 2002 single “Sing For The Moment,” I was “a child with dyed hair and who likes earrings.” Whatever the popular kids liked, I despised, even if the majority of Em’s lyrics resonated through my troubled adolescent years. There was a track or two on MTV that I begrudgingly enjoyed, but it took 20 years after The Slim Shady LP and the bullying throughout my childhood to recognize my inner Stan.

Who would have thought that I, a fan of horror movies, raw storytelling, and catchy beats could fall for an artist like Eminem? Music to Be Murdered By was the surprise release no one could expect. The teaser single “Godzilla,” featuring the late singer Juice Wrld, displays rapid fire inflection and a relatable concept about Em’s struggle with alcoholism. For me, the songs that completely blew my mind were the collaborative efforts with legends like Royce da 5’9 and Q-Tip on the party anthem “Yah Yah,” as well as the indie groove “Lock It Up” that showcased the versatile Grammy winner Anderson Paak.

Eminem didn’t stop with the original January 2020 debut. In December of that year, Music to Be Murdered By Side B was leaked overnight to bring this project to new heights. The iconic “Alfred’s Theme” served as a definitive placeholder in the 16-track disc to evoke the spirit of Alfred Hitchcock and a nod to Em’s love of fright. The charm doesn’t stop there, with the chilling romantic single “Black Magic” accompanied by longtime collaborator Skylar Grey.

With so much happening in the world between January and December of 2020, the artist set off to distract listeners from the pandemic and keep them informed with the COVID-19 hit, “Gnat.” There is a lot to dissect on this B-side, but Eminem manages to bridge the divide to include the influential mega smash “Higher” and danceable bop “Killer,” that brings a smooth adult sound, while maintaining Shady’s original humor from the start of his career to this influential album.

As usual, Eminem is a quintessential artist for fans and individuals who seek introspective visions. Whether you’re an outcast or a longtime Stan of his music, Music to Be Murdered By brings energy, influence, and originality to the catalog of this infectious artist’s original mood, with hilarity and the depth of his anthems that were never lacking in the first place.  Once again, Slim and Shady deliver more magic in this double album to see both sides of Marshall Mathers.

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