Full disclosure: I am what you call a Stan. I believe that Eminem is the best rapper to ever hold a microphone. I think Relapse is a top three Em album. I don’t believe Encore is nearly as bad as people say it is.
My problem with Revival isn’t people’s usual grips with Eminem – he’s no longer shouting, he’s trying to talk about some really important social issues and he has kept the misogyny and homophobic content to a minimum. The problem is that Revival isn’t a hip-hop album.
At the absolute height of his powers, Eminem was as hip-hop as anyone in the rap game – he just so happened to sprinkle in one or two songs that could get radio play. The problem with Revival (and Recovery for that matter) is that it’s a pop album. Eminem sings too much – shit, there is too much singing full stop. People were absolutely right to question why Ed Sheeran was doing on this album.
What makes the affair more frustrating is that there are glimpse of absolute genius on Revival. Walk on Water is a great song – it’s up there with many of his introspective songs. Untouchable shows that Eminem is actually plugged in on the social aspect of hip-hop – and the vibe is so 90’s Def Jam.
And then we have Framed. For me, this song is Eminem at his absolute technical best. This is the song I point to when I say that, whatever you may think about Eminem’s place in hip-hop today, he could still torch your favourite MC. The way he effortlessly switches flows in this song is awe inspiring. Framed makes me pray for a Relapse part 2.
The biggest question I have is where was Dr Dre? I refuse to believe that he had anything to do with this album. There is no way he signed off on many of these songs. Eminem needs Dre more than ever and this album is clear evidence of that fact.