What’s most impressive about this album, entitled Relapse because Eminem’s back to rapping about drugs, is the last song. It’s a dark anthem led by rain, thunder, apocalyptic chords, angels singing and the rapper rapping on a level he hasn’t reached in almost a decade. It nears lyrical perfection if, like me, you happen to be into psychopathic poetry that punches morality in the face at almost every other bar. Assuming the verses are all new, as opposed to mere tweaks of previously unreleased ones he wrote years ago, it’s an epic return to form and exciting surprise for long-time fans who didn’t think Eminem could still rap this great.
Why he’s not rapping that great on all the other songs is the question, but, while it would take just that to match his stunning Slim Shady debut, he has managed to re-up his rap skills overall, way pass The Eminem Show and its Encore, to about the level of The Marshall Mathers LP. That means Eminem is still, or once again, the best rapper in the world of popular music. Even when the verses don’t really reflect that, Dre’s beats are usually catchy enough to fall back on. The fantastic vibes of his Same Song And Dance could be put to better use, for example, but the point is that Eminem’s vocals are good enough not to make it a bad song.
The fact that he continues to carelessly date-stamp his songs by going after irrelevant celebrities like Nick Cannon and raps with silly accents instead of his regular voice are my two major gripes with the album. Aside from that, it is surprisingly entertaining. I strongly commend the rapper for taking his subject matters back to the funny farm; portraying himself as not just a drug addict but also a rapist, serial killer and overall deviant to society. Dark art is, as far as I’m concerned, part of what makes the world interesting. Eminem, creatively rejuvenated and drugged out of his fucking mind after a four or five year hiatus, is still a master at it.
my rating : 4 of 5