An avid lover of music with a flair for writing. A core hip-hop fan with a thing for boom-bap beats and bars.
"Music To Be Murdered By" Deluxe Edition Review
Barely a year after the release of his 11th studio album, Music To Be Murdered By, Eminem returns with darker, more sinister, and violent bars to “drown out the sounds of shovels” as the Late Alfred Hitchcock introduces the deluxe edition of the project. In a strange year that has seen several countries around the world enforce mandatory lockdowns, Eminem picked up his book of rhymes to dish out more mind-blowing bars with crazy rhyme schemes littered with double and triple entendres that can take several listens to catch.
In this project, Eminem sounds like he is having fun, hell probably too much fun at times, he also sounds so confident and carefree which has not been the case in his past two projects. Consisting of 16 tracks which some might consider weird for a deluxe album before the emergence of long deluxe projects as seen from hip-hop artistes like Lil Uzi Vert, Pop Smoke, Da Baby, Music To Be Murdered By Deluxe is just Eminem doing what he loves and having fun while at it . The 48-year-old Detroit Legend made it a point to rap about topics happening currently around him such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality which makes the album time-stamped, so listeners know the exact period in which the project was released, classic Eminem right?
Spanning a length of 52 minutes, the deluxe version of Music To Be Murdered By sees Eminem giving his longtime fans music for them to decipher the meanings behind the bars littered all over the project. Tracks such as Alfred Theme which interpolates Charles Gounod’s “Funeral March of a Marionette” is an exceptional display of technical skill from the Rap God, filled with several puns and dazzling metaphors, it's just Eminem having fun while embracing his Slim Shady persona. “Black Magic” featuring Skylar Grey is the only pop-leaning song on the project and at that, it is still an enjoyable track despite it giving off “Love The Way You Lie” vibes. The lead singles off the project “Gnat” which sees Eminem referencing the current Covid-19 pandemic as a pun to his razor-sharp bar as he raps “They say these bars are like COVID/ You get ‘em right off the bat/ Infected with SARS and Corona/Like you took a bite of that”. This track which debuted at number 60 on the Billboard 200 sees Eminem adapting seamlessly to the new era of hip-hop. The lyrics, flow, delivery, and beat switches on the track makes it an enjoyable listen.
''Gnat" Official Music Video
Other memorable tracks off the project include “Zeus” which sees Eminem spew more hard-hitting bars with the ever-reliable “White Gold” delivering the hook, “Book of Rhymes” featuring DJ Premier also sees Slim Shady giving a middle finger to his critics for their continuous hounding of his recent works with the lyrical expertise we have come to expect from the “Rap God”, and “Higher” in which Eminem becomes introspective about life after fame and how he rose to the forefront of the rap game.
The production and beat selection on this project was great overall as Eminem teamed up with longtime partners Dr. Dre, D.A Doman, illaDaproducer, Luis Resto, and other first time collaborators such as Mike Zombie. Eminem was credited with the production of 13 out of the 16 tracks that made up the project while he produced the anthem “Higher” entirely by himself. “Gnat” is a testament to the excellent production of the album especially the flow switches at the very end of the track. The production styles were also unique all through even “Discombobulated” that had a 90s feel also did not feel out of place on a project released in 2020.
Eminem agaisnt Snoop Dogg and Machine Gun Kelly
Another talking point of the deluxe is Eminem's subtle jabs towards Machine Gun Kelly, and surprisingly Snoop Dogg. Eminem is well known for poking opponents who have had beef with him and have "taken an L" from him on his songs and he continues this pettiness against Machine Gun Kelly on "Gnat" as he raps "They come at me with machine guns / Like trying to fight off a gnat". That's classic Eminem right there however, what came as a surprise was Eminem dissing Snoop Dogg on "Zeus" whom he had praised a lot on his songs and was even regarded as a member of Eminem's "inner circle". However, Eminem later explained in an shade 45 interview that it was as a result of a disrespectful tone snoop used in an interview against him on a well documented Breakfast Club interview snoop did where he tried to downplay Eminem's success. I really hope this beef does not lead to both of them falling out.
A major talking point of the deluxe is Eminem’s ever-impressive pen game. The way he presents his thoughts with a lot of brain nerving wordplays, puns, and multi-syllabic rhyming with a delivery that hits hard as the track goes on is something not many rappers on this earth can manage to pull off. The use of double and triple entendres all over this project is something that lyricists and old hip-hop heads would be pleased with.
Music To Be Murdered By Deluxe Edition is a great project to me and it has more replay value than the original project to me. While some might slam some corny lines that filled the album, I find those lines humorous in all honesty although some come off weird coming from a 48-year-old. The only weak points on the project were Eminem’s continuous tirade against his critics which is quite exhausting, and the track “She Loves Me” which sounds like a filler track at best and should not have been included on the project. All in all, the deluxe version is a project targeted for his longtime fans to tide them over and to expect a better and more versatile Eminem in the nearest future.
Essential tracks: “Gnat”, “Zeus”, “Killer”.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Fawaz Akintunde