A mixed bag of slim pickings
manages to clear the decks of the previous R records (Relapse, Recovery). His last great jam was 2013’s scorching Rap God — a choice cut he should have retired on, with (dis)respect.
Chloraseptic feat. Phresher feels like a first take and the line about a rival’s MILF is a headshaker not a noggin-nodder: “She makes iller noises, When she’s with me, must be from the Windy City”. But then he steps up his game with staccato raps over semi-menacing synths. Untouchable uses rock guitars but it ain’t no Aerosmith collab. Kudos to Marshall Mathers for going where a lot of white rappers are afraid to go, right into the heart of America’s shocking problem with its police force beating and killing people of colour: “Throughout history, African-Americans have been treated like s---, And I admit, there have been times where it’s been embarrassin’ to be a white boy white boy.” Then he brings Ed Sheeran into the studio (“the ginger fury”) to over-emote like Celine Dion circa ’98. Musically, Eminem bows down to trap on Remind Me then samples Joan Jett (effectively) and Young MC as he busts youthful moves on the mic like he’s The Real Slim Shady taking the mick outta Moby. Guest turns from Kehlani, Pink and Alicia Keys give Revival a feminem aspect it sorely needs — this is a record with one foot back in his naughtyboy era and another trying to be super-woke. If only he left the former in his wake.
VERDICT A comeback that’s neither terrible or terrific VANILLA ICE IGGY AZALEA