Eminem’s Music to Be Murdered By Album Review: The Return of Slim Shady

Shock rap is back! Out of nowhere, Eminem just dropped his 10th major-label studio album Music to Be Murdered By. As a huge fan of Eminem growing up, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a morning than writing down my initial, honest thoughts to each track. Kamikaze and Revival were average albums at best. Is the King of Rap back?

Several of the interlude tracks on the new album are excerpts from the 1958 monologues of Alfred Hitchcock. Eminem also pays homage to Hitchcock while holding an axe and a pistol on both hands in the alternate album cover. The album cover is gorgeous and looks like something ripped straight out of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.

From the bombing during the Ariana Grande concert to the Las Vegas shootings, Eminem seemingly has a chip on his shoulder from the jump. From the cover, it also seems like this album will feature a darker and somber Eminem compared to recent years. How does the album stack up? Let’s dive in.

Premonition

One thing is for sure, Eminem and discretion will never go hand in hand. The good? The beat is incredible and one of the strongest on the album. The lyrics are very good as well. The bad? Eminem immediately attacks those that panned his 2018 album Kamikaze. I love Eminem with a chip on his shoulder more than the next guy, and I understand that this kind of track was Eminem’s claim to fame. “As much as I hate you, I need you” as the motivation behind Music to Be Murdered By is revealed.

Song Rating: 7.5/10

Unaccommodating (feat. M.A.)

Eminem’s flow in this one is pure fire. The Ariana Grande bombing gets a mention on this track. “I’m contemplating yelling ‘Bombs away’ on the game like I’m outside of an Ariana Grande concert waiting,” raps Eminem. While I wholeheartedly disagree that poking fun at the Manchester terrorist attacks is remotely acceptable, I can’t deny that this is a very good track. Yes Eminem, everyone knows that you’re salty about the critics.

Song Rating: 9/10

You Gon’ Learn (feat. Royce da 5’9” & White Gold)

There is no doubt that this track was directed towards Nick Cannon, who attacked Eminem for “letting Twitter do the talking for him.” Similar to Unaccommodating, the production on this track is top notch and Eminem is spitting pure fire here. The energy of this song is vintage Eminem. I’m trying to review this album, but I had to listen to this track repeatedly. Loving this album so far.

Song Rating: 8.5/10

Alfred (Interlude)

As a huge fan of horror films, picking the Master of Suspense as the theme of the album was genius. It’s certainly thought-provoking and adds a level of atmosphere on the first listen. No complaints here.

Those Kinda Nights (feat. Ed Sheeran)

Any track combining Ed Sheeran and Eminem should never work, but this one truly shines. The chorus from Ed Sheeran paired with Eminem providing vintage lines gives me all the feels on this track. It’s only been a few songs, but I’m really digging the D12 vibes that I’ve gotten so far. Eminem is going back to his roots, and that is exactly what this world needs.

Song Rating: 9.5/10

In Too Deep

Love the contrast between tracks here. From the high energy of Those Kinda Nights, this track is a song that makes me want to make an Old Fashioned, sit on the couch, and put my feet up. I’m 35 years old and as a huge fan of old school hip-hop, I’m certainly clicking with this track. This one feels like I hopped in my DeLorean time machine and went back to the good ol’ days. Not great but overall solid track.

Song Rating: 6.5/10

Godzilla (feat. Juice WRLD)

First of all, RIP Juice WRLD. You will be missed. Speaking of contrast, Eminem significant brings up the fire and energy with Godzilla. This beat is incredible, but the show stopper of the album comes around the 2:50 mark of this track. Eminem goes full Method Man halfway through the song. So far, this was one of my favorite songs on the album.

Song Rating: 9/10

Darkness

Similar to the album, Eminem dropped a surprise music video of Darkness, which addresses the horrific Las Vegas shooting. The hairs are literally standing up straight on my arms. I’ve got all the chills and watching the video from this perspective is jaw-dropping. The “Hello darkness, my old friend” hook is perfect and adds the emotional right hook to the stomach. The haunting flow about mental illness from this track will have you putting this one on repeat over and over again.

Song Rating: 9.5/10

Leaving Heaven (feat. Skylar Grey)

Another slow grind track in Leaving Heaven. Similar to Ed Sheeran in Those Kinda Nights, Skylar Grey provides the chorus while Eminem shows that he’s so much more than a rap artist. This song brings back memories of Cleaning Out My Closet. While Cleaning Out My Closet targeted his mother, Leaving Heaven clearly takes shots at his father. This song is dark, and Eminem lets it all out.

Song Rating: 7/10

Yah Yah (feat. Royce da 5’9,” Black Thought, Q-Tip & Denaun)

This song is chaos. While I appreciate the old school hip-hop vibes from this track, this is the first song on the album that I could do without. Black Thought is truly great in this, but the song just does not fit the vibe of the album. It’s way too frenetic for what we’ve been working with so far. Since the previous songs on this album have been so impressive, I’m going to let this one slip.

Song Rating: 6/10

Black Thought 10/10

Stepdad (Intro)

While Yah Yah sort of got us off the track, this 15 second clip brings us back and reminds the audience exactly what we’re in for. This album has been nothing short of vintage Eminem, and nothing speaks to that more than Eminem bringing up childhood trauma. He does it again here with an incredibly haunting and disturbing clip.

Stepdad

So we had a song about his mother and father, Mr. Mathers clearly couldn’t leave out the Stepdad, could he? Eminem’s anger echoes throughout this track as he continues to struggle with his troubled youth. Personally, my favorite Eminem is when he’s writing about his life, and this track doesn’t leave anything behind. I think this is a solid track but nothing memorable.

Song Rating: 6.5/10

Marsh

The simple and quiet beat is the highlight of this track. Beavis and Butthead, Ed Sheeran, and his previous album Kamikaze get mentions here. Unlike the track Yah Yah, this is the lane where I like my Slim Shady. Another great vintage, track by Eminem in Marsh.

Song Rating: 7.5/10

Never Love Again

EMINEM BOMB. I’ll need to re-listen to this whole album, but I’m thinking this might be my favorite track on the album so far. While the majority of the tracks on this album were filled with anger and rage, this one is dark and somber. This is a beautiful track with incredible instrumentals that dives into Eminem’s battle with drugs. I’ve still got chills.

Song Rating: 9.5/10

Little Engine

This track clearly shows that Eminem not only has immense talent but also knows where his strengths lie. Alfred Hitchcock starts off the track with a quick interlude before Eminem simply goes off. The lyrics on this track are intense and not unlike Marsh, this right here is my favorite kind of Shady. Eminem’s vintage flow has been on full display on this album.

Song Rating: 8/10

Lock It Up (feat. Anderson .Paak)

I’ve said repeatedly that this album has been an homage to vintage Eminem and Lock It Up only emphasizes that further. The beat in Lock It Up was eerily familiar to Superman from 2002’s The Eminem Show. Eminem might be at odds with his childhood and the media, but the entire Music to Be Murdered By album is beginning to feel like a love letter to Eminem’s oldest fans. Great song.

Song Rating: 8.5/10

Farewell

Eminem projects his rage while bringing back his history with troubled relationships. Eminem’s ghosts of the 2000s are shining through with this track. This flow of this track was very strong.

Song Rating: 7/10

No Regrets (feat. Don Toliver)

A solid track where Don Toliver brings the heat and Eminem pulls back the reigns a bit. It’s a got a catchy hook but nothing memorable with this track.

Song Rating: 7/10

I Will (feat. KXNG Crooked, Royce da 5’9” & Joell Ortiz)

The last several songs have been slow grinds that harken to the Slim Shady of the old. Music to Be Murdered By ends with one of the best tracks on the album. The flow is insane with nods to old school hip-hop like the Wu-Tang Clan. For an album that is heavily focused on bringing back old school hip-hop, I can’t imagine a better track to wrap up this album.

Song Rating: 9.5/10

Final Verdict

Sorry Nick Cannon, this is one of Eminem’s best efforts in years. Maybe his best work since the second Marshall Mathers LP. The Alfred Hitchcock theme is nailed while Eminem’s lyricism shines through. If you are a fan of the old school, Slim Shady persona, then you will love this album.

After Revival and Kamikaze, Marshall seems to be drifting back onto the right path. Is Music to Be Murdered By a masterpiece? Certainly not. But he’s once again trending positive, and I could not be more excited for what Eminem will bring in the future. Music to Be Murdered By is absolutely worth a listen.

Final Album Grade: 8.5/10