Music in general has it’s fair share of “legends” and “heroes”, however, it seems that these days the most pressure is on rap legends to release music that can top their old releases. That simply isn’t possible.
Recently, Eminem has been at the center of the cross-hairs with his hype and release of Revival. Revival was going to be Eminem’s big comeback and best record since The Marshall Mathers LP 2 which came out in 2013. When Revival came out it was met with harsh criticism and very split opinions. Revival is the music equivalent of Star Wars: The Last Jedi in terms of the division of the fan base. The album was assumed to be great based on his track record and recent freestyle and protest against Donald Trump, however, think about Eminem’s past releases and how “good” they were.
Eminem has constantly dissed his own album Relapse and is known to dislike and seemingly hate that album. The real twist is that most fans really do like Relapse especially big names like Tyler, the Creator. Although Eminem is allowed to dislike his work notably when you take into account his personal life at that point and his issues with drug abuse. Having a commercial and critical failing album is a good enough reason to dislike it, however, when we look at Revival that dislike from critics and fans is multiplied exponentially. Why do the fans expect so much from these musicians specifically when they’ve released non-favorable albums before.
The legendary status given to Eminem is very much earned and the result of years upon years of hard work, but what does that title really mean? Does Eminem have to consistently compete with his old work? Does he have to once again become the Rap God? These questions can be quite taxing on a musician and their fans because these expectations aren’t realistic. To say Eminem must put out an album better than his 2000 album The Marshall Mathers LP is next to impossible.
Revival instead is a complicated yet interesting display of lyrical talent and skill. The lyrics and rhyme patterns that Eminem has been perfecting over the years is quite astonishing considering that most modern day artists never go that far in depth with their rhymes. Revival isn’t supposed to be his best album or comeback, it’s simply an update of where Eminem stands politically, personally, and lyrically. With the album standing at mostly a 50% score it’s easy to see the divided sides argue due to the misleading expectations.
Eminem is a legend in rap, and a master of his own craft. The expectations for him are out of this world due to this legendary status, however, each listener is allowed to form their own opinion on Revival and Eminem as a legendary icon. The only true statement that most agree with, is that Eminem helped make modern rap great. Eminem was a unique anomaly in the 2000’s due to his style and skin. Eminem is a legend in his own right, and deserves to be recognized as someone who is responsible for today’s artists and the future artists. Revival may not be his best work, but it does have immortal lyrics and stories to share to the world.
Eminem earned the title of Rap God and thus needs to push forward and once again display his talent as the Rap God in due time.