Music To Be Murdered By track by track review: Eminem takes fans on controversial rap rollercoaster

Eminem’s new album Music To Be Murdered By (Picture: Getty)

Eminem surprised fans by dropping a surprise album on us all, as well as new single Unaccommodating.

And, as usual, his new releases came with a whole heap of controversy, as the first single from Music To Be Murdered By referenced the Manchester terror attack, leaving listeners reeling.

But can we expect the same level of controversy from the other 19 tracks? Here’s a quick look at Slim Shady’s latest offering.

1. Premonition (Intro)

Evidently still seething from the bad reviews he received for his 2018 album Revival, Em has a lot to say to his critics on the opener to his new album. Setting Slim Shady free after digging him up out of his grave, the rapper’s crazed alter ego goes HAM on the world attacking the jugulars of his haters over a sea of haunting synths etched into the beat. The only thing missing? A sample of Adrian in Rocky telling her husband, ‘You can’t win!’

Quotable: ‘Only way that you’re ahead of me’s alphabetically/ ‘Cause if you diss me I’m coming after you like the letter V.’

Eminem has raised eyebrows with his latest album (Picture: WireImage)

2. Unaccommodating Feat. Young M.A.

Many are in uproar about Em’s controversial lyrics relating to Ariana Grande and the Manchester Arena attack, but would you expect anything else from the guy who poked fun at Columbine High School massacre, the death of Gianni Versace and who fantasised about killing his wife? Getting his lyrical guns off over a beat he produced alongside Tim Suby, Em sounds sharper than he has for quite some time. He even takes a moment to forgive Machine Gun Kelly for their public spat.

Quotable: ‘But when they ask me is the war finished with MGK? Of course it is/ I cleansed him of his mortal sins, I’m God and the Lord forgives, even the devil worshippers.’

3. You Gon’ Learn Feat. Royce Da 5’9” & White Gold

A lesson in resilience, Em is joined by frequent rhyme partner, Royce Da 5’9”, who, aside from being one of only a handful of people on wax who can keep up with the Detroit MC, also produced the record. As Em puffs his chest out and channels his inner superhero – even if he doesn’t have it completely together (‘I just tripped over my cape’) – he lets off a few shots that could be aimed in the direction of Tee Grizzly (who dissed Eminem on his track No Talkin) and Nick Cannon, someone he’s had a longstanding feud with.

Quotable: ‘I am too volatile and too grizzly to bear/ Yeah, s**t is gettin’ to where I can barely even sit in a chair/ I bust my ass for this s**t and I swear/ It ain’t even worth dissing someone so offbeat/ That they can’t even figure out where their words/ Should hit the kick and the snare.’

4. Alfred (Interlude)

Music to Be Murdered By is inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s album of the same name. Here, Em samples the famous filmmaker’s voice to set the mood for the rest of the violently eerie album.

5. Those Kinda Nights Feat. Ed Sheeran & Bizarre

Ed Sheeran joins Eminem for a drug and alcohol-fuelled zany night out on the town. Undeniably catchy, when you pair the comedic storytelling with the song’s obvious commercial potential you’d not be laughed at for thinking it was a D12 record, especially after the group’s main jokester, Bizarre makes a cameo on the intro.

Quotable: ‘Drivin’ around, I said, ‘Let’s pull over,’ she said, ‘No problemo/ Windows are dark tint, roll up the car windows’/ Monte Carlo in park, bumpin’ Bizarre’s demo/ Gettin’ head in the bucket, Marshmello.’

6. In Too Deep

Like a rap version of Usher’s One Day You’ll Be Mine, Em slows things down as he dives deep into infidelity, the confusion of being in love with two women and how uncomfortable relationships can sometimes become. As the grass looks greener on the other side, Em recognises his singing voice and delivers an unexpectedly strong hook as his and Tim Suby’s low-tempo drum-driven backdrop scores the pain.

Quotable: ‘But it’s been a couple years since we been doin’ dirt/ You or my girl, don’t wanna see either of you get hurt/ But now the lines are getting super blurred/ Can’t tell if I’m cheating on her with you or cheating on you with her.’

Eminem dropped the album on fans as a surprise (Picture: Getty)

7. Godzilla Feat. Juice WRLD

Featuring Juice WRLD’s first posthumous verse since his death back in December, the pair get wild and witty on what could so easily be pitched as a sequel to Kanye West’s 2010 hit, Monster. The beat sounds like it was made using the demonstration button on a Casio keyboard, but there’s no need to focus on the instrumental once Em goes full-on Rap God spitting at light speed and taking listeners off into another dimension. Stick with it until the end and you’ll hear comedian Chris ‘d elia gets a look in.

Quotable: ‘I’m just a product of Slick Rick and Onyx, told ’em lick the balls/ Had ’em just appalled at so many things that p****d ’em off/ It’s impossible to list ’em all/ And in the midst of all this/ I’m in a mental hospital with a crystal ball/ Tryna see, will I still be like this tomorrow?’

8. Darkness

Hard-hitting from the very first few lines, Eminem takes on the perspective of Las Vegas festival shooter, Stephen Paddock. While it could also be a metaphor for his own anxiety issues, Em’s poignant lyrics are more about shining a light on America’s ongoing gun problems than anything else. Not always the bad guy, as some might think, Em brings awareness to an issue long debated in courts all over the United States while Royce Da 5’ 9” flips Simon & Garfunkel’s The Sounds of Silence for the backdrop.

Quotable: ‘But it’s only the opening act, it’s early, don’t overreact/ Then something told me relax/ And just hope for the show to be packed/ Don’t wanna hit the stage before they fill each row to the max/ ‘Cause that’d be totally wack/ You can’t murder a show nobody’s at.’

9. Leaving Heaven Feat Skylar Grey

Not the strongest track on the album, it does however have a stadium feel to it which might help with its shelf life – thanks mostly to Skylar Grey’s soaring vocals on the chorus. Acting more like a therapy for Em as he takes shots at his deceased father, he also revisits his run-ins with high school bully Di Angelo Bailey over a clunky backdrop that sounds like it could come to a raging halt at any moment, making it a tough listen for fans.

Quotable: ‘Five dozen, flies buzzin’ over your head/ Call me the Grim Reaper, sleep is my cousin/ You’re dead to me now and I’ma be the last face you see/ ‘Fore you die cussin’ (Yep).’

Ariana fans weren’t happy with the mention of the Manchester terror attack (Picture: Getty)

10. Yah Yah Feat. Royce Da 5’9”, Black Thought, Q-Tip & Denaun Porter

Em takes it back to the 90s this time around. Assembling an Avengers-type posse, he recruits some of the best spitters in the game to attack the neck-snapping beat. As each MC goes bar for bar, this is one of those moments where the rewind button comes in handy in order to assess who had the best verse. Verdict? Black Thought won by a landslide. An alien on the mic, he deserves all the props he can get for what he did to this one. It’s a shame that Busta Rhymes didn’t get a call being Denaun flipped his 1996 Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check for the instrumental.

Quotable: ‘Live at the edge of darkness and light/ One phone call, my youngins takin’ flight/ You a bark b***h, and never bite, long kiss goodnight/ I stay heated, my people in the place needed/ If you ain’t standin’ up for yourself, then stay seated.’

11. Step Dad (Intro)

Acting as a break between the first and second half of the album, listeners are subject to a child (presumably a young Eminem) being beaten by their stepdad. It also acts as an introduction for the next track.

12. Step Dad

Em has never been one to hold back when addressing his family life, although he and his mother appear to have called a truce as of late, so it’s no surprise to hear him on an Alchemist beat offloading a ton of anger and resentment aimed at his stepfather. Once again sounding like a dose of therapy, it’s hard to tell which accounts are fact and which are fiction being that Em obviously has a fantasy about killing his stepfather. No doubt this, like much of his early work, will speak to those kids who are experiencing issues with their own step-parents.

Quotable: ‘I’m talkin’ euthanasia, like kids in Taiwan/ This f****n’ s**t’s like Saigon (Saigon)/ Neighbours called police on him/ So many battery charges, this dude’s like lithium ion.’

13. Marsh

Adopting the alter ego of an otherworldly being, this extraterrestrial rapid-fire banger hears Em take a leaf out of Lil Wayne’s book, the self-proclaimed E.T.. While it’s nothing too special sonically, it does hear Em have a swipe at Travis Scott on the hook mimicking his ‘It’s lit’ catchphrase as a layer of autotune is added to his voice. He also takes time to salute some legends: ‘I’m a stan of Redman, X-Clan and I’m a Treach fan”.

Quotable: ‘Puddles are forming, I hear somebody’s voice/ In my head, say it’s still a dream/ Then he said kill emcees/ Trippie Redd, with pills and lean/ Sipping meds in the limousine/ Getting head, guillotine.’

14. Never Love Again

Probably one of the album’s main highlights, this clever take on Common’s I Used To Love H.E.R. hears Em, over an oddly soothing slice of Dr Dre-led production, switch his love interest metaphor from Hip Hop to drugs. But he’s fighting to get rid of her, he can’t do it anymore. Having now been sober for 11 years, he doesn’t want to love the thing that was once killing him. Could it also be about ex-wife Kim or another potential love interest? Sure, it could be that too, but it’s made apparent at the end that the main focal point are the drugs when he flushes them down the toilet.

Quotable: ‘I can only take so much of you all at one time/ Because too much of you’s just too much to swallow sometimes/ Gotta take you in doses, but when you’re not at my side/ I shake in convulsions, separation anxiety ’cause we may be the closest.’

15. Little Engine

Opening with another Alfred Hitchcock sample, this is one of the more twisted records on the album. Jam-packed with shock and awe moments, listeners are invited into the dark side of Em’s brain. As he maneuvers his way through the contorted wails of the beat, one minute he’s heard talking to who he thinks is God, the next he’s referencing the Manson murders and the murder of Sharon Tate. You might need to take a motion sickness pill before listening to this one.

Quotable: ‘Much as I fight to restrain/ I have the right to remain violent/ Any rhyme that I say can and will be used against you/ Icicle veins, mics will get slain/ Life it will strangle you with bicycle chain/ You’re gonna have to come identify the remains.’

Fans have been divided by the album so far  (Picture: FIlmMagic)

16. Lock It Up Feat. Anderson .Paak

Truth be told this sounds like a record made for Anderson .Paak’s album and Em decided to highjack it. Walking with a newfound swag, Em’s self-confidence is at an all-time high as he feels he’s better than the rest of the competition. As he steps close to the edge of obscurity he’s reminded of why he raps and swiftly regains his footing, and as quickly as the stumble turns into a walk, the walk turns into a strut and you get exactly what you hope for from an Eminem record produced by Dr. Dre featuring Anderson .Paak.

Quotable: ‘And I put the game on the pill (Yeah)/ Now my Shady babies are all stillborns/ Meaning abortions that live ’cause they were still born/ I can heal ’em with Neosporin.’

17. Farewell

A car wreck from the moment it first comes on, whoever told Eminem it would be a good idea for him to sample Serani’s No Games needs to be shown the door. Throwing the album off by going so far left that ends up sounding like it was cut for Revival, the title couldn’t be more fitting if it tried. Goodbye!

Quotable: ‘Yeah, but we’re so insane about each other/ May take the same route and way out as Junior Seau/ Break out Berettas lay down in bed and blow our brains out together/ Who knows how it’s gonna play out?’

18. No Regrets Feat. Don Toliver

Arguably the most retrospective moment on the album, Em admits that his ego sometimes gets the better of him, especially when it comes to beefing with other rappers. Addressing past feuds with Tyler the Creator, Machine Gun Kelly and Nick Cannon, as well as his own upbringing and the things that make him who he is, Em sits comfortably in pocket as the guitar riff gently kisses the D.A. Doman beat and Don Toliver delivers an affecting hook.

Quotable: ‘They talk about my daughters hopin’ I fly off of the handle/ ‘Cause my first thought is to trample and write a thousand bars/ But sometimes it’s like dropping’ an anvil on a house of cards.’

19. I Will Feat. Royce Da 5’9”, KXNG Crooked & Joell Ortiz

An explosive lesson in lyricism, Slaughterhouse – minus Joe Budden who Em famously had beef with – join the rapper for an all-out lyrical assault that demands you use that rewind button once more. Whether it’s Royce, KXNG Crooked, Joell Ortiz or Em, each of them go for the gut with their sharp tongues and powerful wit. Em has a dig at Lord Jamar (‘I’m more than you bargained for and I am far more worse/ Than a fourty-some bar Lord Jamar verse’) while Royce cleverly highlights how long he’s been studying Hip Hop (‘Student of the game pre-Kane, you n***** Post Malone’).

Quotable: ‘Word to Method Man/ She heard some Wu-Tang coming from towards the patio/ She was like, ‘What the heck was that?’/ She went to check on the noise and go inspect the deck/ Then I jumped out with a sword and yelled, “Protect your neck”).’

20. Alfred (Outro)

Sampling Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Hour of Parting’, this creepy outro ties up the album, telling listeners: ‘If you haven’t been murdered, I can only say/ Better luck next time.’

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