After teasing a clip of his new song for the upcoming Venom movie on Twitter, Eminem showed he has been working on a lot more than a single song for a soundtrack. Eminem released a surprise album, Kamikaze, on Friday. The 13-track album is Marshall Mather's tenth studio album and comes less than a year after his last album, Revival. While he calls himself a kamikaze on the title track, the album's name could also be inspired by that time Eminem called Donald Trump a kamikaze during his memorable 2017 freestyle rap at the BET Hip Hop Awards. The president isn't safe from Slim Shady's wrath again on the Kamikaze album, but — as to be expected from Eminem — Trump is far from the only target.
Eminem had a bit of a comeback in 2017, and Kamikaze shows that he has no intention of slowing down. He dropped his Revival album (his first studio album since 2013), released "Walk On Water" with Beyoncé, and performed a nostalgic medley on Saturday Night Live. But he really made headlines when Eminem criticized Trump in a four-minute freestyle rap during the BET Hip Hop Awards. "But we better give Obama props 'cause what we got in office now's a kamikaze that'll probably cause a nuclear holocaust," Eminem rapped. And he has taken this kamikaze idea to another level on his new album.
Eminem tackles Trump again in the first track of Kamikaze, "The Ringer." He refers to Trump as "Agent Orange" and an "evil serpent." Vice President Mike Pence gets an unflattering namedrop as well. But Eminem doesn't only have his eye on the White House. He calls out critics for bad reviews of Revival. And celebrities aren't safe either, with references are peppered throughout the album, including lines about Tara Reid, Cher, and Kathy Griffin (who acknowledged the mentioned by tweeting how she was in the music video for "The Real Slim Shady"). On "Not Alike," he also addresses the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
But it's his fellow rappers who really get the brunt of his attention. As Heavy outlined, Eminem disses many of his fellow rappers, including Lil Yachty, Machine Gun Kelly, Chance the Rapper, Drake, Joe Budden, and Tyler, the Creator. But he doesn't disapprove of everyone in his field. In "The Ringer," he praises Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Big Sean when he raps, "If you ain't Kendrick or Cole or Sean then you're a goner."
The controversial rapper also makes references to mass murderers Richard Ramirez, James Holmes, and Stephen Paddock. And, as E! reported, Eminem is receiving criticism from some listeners for his use of a derogatory term aimed at the gay community. But that hasn't stopped many people on the internet from losing their minds over the surprise album.
Another reason for the excitement is that Kamikaze features a song from the Venom movie soundtrack. Eminem is no stranger to soundtracks — he won an Oscar for Best Original Song for "Lose Yourself," which of course was the anthem released from 8 Mile — and Eminem recently contributed to the soundtrack for the Jake Gyllenhaal boxing movie South Paw. Marvel's new film franchise — starring Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, and Jenny Slate — focuses on the antihero/villain Venom. So it's only fitting that the dark rapper has contributed a track. And you can hear Eminem's "Venom" as the last song on Kamikaze ahead of the film's Oct. 5 release.
While Eminem will always be contentious, this secret release shows that Slim Shady has still got it after two decades. And no matter the scrutiny he receives, he's always going to strike when he sees fit.