With Eminem set to release his ninth studio album (yes we’re counting Infinite in his discography) we look back at his epic career and analyse how he can make another stone cold classic.
Marshall Bruce Mathers III finds himself at an interesting point in his career, we’re at a time in hip-hop where lyrics and flow is a distant afterthought with today’s young listeners.
At the risk of sounding like an old man, rappers like J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$ and the A$AP Mob are a rare breed in terms of mainstream success, particularly if you compare them to the likes of Young Thug, Migos, French Montana and Future.
The Real Slim Shady is cut from a different cloth. He’s in line with the likes of Outkast, Nas and Jay-Z, where lyrical content is king – you’d categorise K. Dot and his ilk similarly.
Secondly, Em is no longer a rare breed – when we say ‘rare breed’ I’m mean a white rapper who actually spits pure fire.
Before Slim the only caucasian in rap was Vanilla Ice and he undid all the good work the Beastie Boys and MC Search laid out beforehand – all because he faked the funk. After Em we have artists like Logic, Mac Miller and Action Bronson (and if we’re talking about success, Iggy Azalea).
With the Real Slim Shady dropping a new album soon you to have ask ‘how does he make sure that it’s a classic?’. If we’re going to be brutally honest, the Eminem we’ve listened to for the past four albums isn’t the same artist we had from the Slim Shady LP all the way to The Eminem Show.
The quality has dropped and that’s a fact.
This is perhaps due to a much needed stint in rehab, and while we’re glad he’s in a better place now Em’s rap has become less visceral.
Furthermore the content and subjects that he’d rap about on classic albums, particularly the seminal Marshall Mathers LP, is not only dated but also a no-go area in a modern society that values political correctness.
Also if you haven’t noticed – albums no longer bring in the same financial residual that it did in the past. Today’s artists make big bucks via tours, gigs and festival sets.
So with that in mind how can Eminem get back to making a classic album? We’ve come up with some ideas as to how he can achieve this.
1. Make Sure He’s Back In The Studio With Dr Dre
I can already hear the comments – ‘Duh, of course Dre is going to be all over this’ – but we’re just covering our backs to make sure.
The good Dr has always been at Marshall’s side. He’s one of the only people to believe in him when other record labels laughed him out of the room on the account of him being white.
The NWA-founder is a beast on the production boards and next to Snoop Dogg no one compliments a Dr Dre beat like Eminem.
2. Keep The Content And Targets Relevant
When The Marshall Mathers LP dropped Em was in touch with pop culture. He saw through the ridiculousness of teen-marketed pop-stars such as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and NSYNC. But if he was to rap about them that today we’d be like ‘You’re still talking about them? Move on mate’.
He should start taking shots at more relevant targets, like the EDM and house scene, Adele (yeah I said it!), Harry Styles and bloody Coldplay.
No more Christopher Reeve jokes either, if he were so inclined there are more relevant celebrities to take aim at – think; DJ Khaled or Piers Morgan.
3. Keep Features To A Minimum
In a recent interview for Paper, Bronx rapper, French Montana said anyone doing an album with no features is ‘weird’.
We say screw that, there’s nothing wrong with a good feature but an album where every track is a guest spot shows an artist’s lack of confidence (and perhaps talent) to hold an LP solo.
Some of the best hip-hop albums out there have very few guest spots, we’re talking Illmatic by Nas, 4 Your Eyez Only by J. Cole, any Kendrick album. Even Jay-Z’s 4:44 is flames and features only three known guest spots.
Em normally doesn’t feature many rappers on his LPs (maybe because they don’t want to get eaten up on a track with him). We’re not saying don’t have features but keep the invitation exclusive. Also they to need be a credible artist to share a spot with him, we’d love to hear a collaboration with Childish Gambino, Frank Ocean or Action Bronson.
Hell surprise us even, some of us really hate U2 but Kendrick Lamar made us forget that hatred with the collaboration on DAMN! Maybe Em could jump on a track with Florence And The Machine – after all it worked with Dido and Rihanna.
4. Talk About What’s Going On In The World Today
With so much drama in the
LBC world today; fascism on the rise, Donald Trump’s presidency, global terrorism and the end of the world – coming via nuclear warfare, only one man could take these serious subjects and turn them into a lyrical journey that emphasises the issues while also entertaining.
Before his stint in rehab, Em had his finger on the pulse of social affairs, whether he’d like to admit it or not.
Truth be told we miss the Eminem that never gave a f*** about the consequences, we want Slim healthy but can he truly no longer tap into his flow of old?
5. Don’t Mumble Rap
We know he won’t… but in case he gets any funny ideas…
What would you like to see from Eminem’s next album? What do you think he needs to do to ensure he has another classic album on his hands? Sound off in the comments section.