When Eminem released his album Kamikaze in 2018, the veteran rapper reached the apex of his career. The 13-song record exhibited the veteran rapper at the absolute top of his game. Fast forward two years and audiences got a surprise follow-up in the form of Music to be Murdered By. That record was an intriguing new offering from a figure who had spent years making his way to the top of the mountain that is the rap community. It was such an intriguing offering because it presented Eminem in a state in which he seemed uncertain as to where to go. Do not misunderstand this. It gave audiences the best of both worlds from Eminem, the musical and lyrical sense of his early days, and some of the influence of his more focused, razor sharp delivery. The thing is that even with that mix of influences, it seemed to lack direction. It went all over the place between the two influences. That same issue detracts from the new re-issue of that album, Music to be Murdered By Side B. The double-disc presentation was released digitally last month with no prior push and then released physically this month. It came less than a year after its predecessor’s release. That noted lack of direction is the only negative to the re-issue. Making up for that concern is the amount of content that audiences get in this re-issue. That aspect in itself forms a solid foundation for the record. The average price point of this presentation, considering how much content audiences get, puts the finishing touch to its appeal. When it is considered with the overall content and the concerns raised by the disc’s collective content and sequencing thereof, the whole proves itself a presentation that will appeal to Eminem’s most devoted fan base.
Eminem’s re-issue of his 2020 album Music to be Murdered By is an interesting presentation from the veteran rapper. It is a presentation that will appeal primarily to his most devoted audiences. That is due in large part to the content (and amount thereof) featured in its second disc. Audiences don’t just get a collection of random b sides or archived live clips, etc. that are so common in other acts’ re-issues. Rather, audiences get in this presentation’s bonus disc, the equivalent of a whole new album. It is a 16-song presentation of “new” content. Odds are the extra content is likely a collection of songs that were recorded during the sessions for Music to be Murdered By, but that aside, Eminem went to the length of giving audiences the noted amount of content, rather than just tossing in a couple previously unreleased songs and maybe a remix of one of the original album’s songs. In other words, what audiences get here is essentially two full-length albums in one. When one considers this along with the recording’s average price point, the appeal grows even more. That aspect will be discussed a little later. Staying on the topic of the content, it proves slightly problematic.
The content featured in the bonus disc of Music to be Murdered By Side B gives audiences the best of both worlds from Eminem’s catalog. The focused, sharp writing and musical approach featured in Kamikaze is evident here, as is the more familiar writing and performance style from the records that filled out the early part of Eminem’s catalog. The thing is that there seems to be no definite direction in the sequencing of that content. It’s as if Eminem (and those responsible for the bonus disc’s sequencing) were unable to decide about which side of Eminem would get a better response. ‘Black Magic,’ which officially opens the bonus disc is among that more recent side of Eminem. It finds him rapping about a woman who has “cast her spell” on him. It turns though, as it transitions into ‘Alfred’s Theme’ by having him murdering that woman and then using the classic Alfred Hitchcock Presents theme for another lyrical assault on all the people who have ever criticized him. In other words, it doesn’t take Eminem long to go back to his familiar lyrical defensive stance on which he built his fame. The music bed that Eminem uses in ‘Tone Deaf’ finds him moving backward even more, along with his sarcastic lyrical content and delivery style. His statement about trying to decide which side chick to be with is vintage Eminem, but those who appreciate his more serious approach to writing might find this song less appealing. It will leave those audiences wondering if in fact Eminem has in fact already reached his peak. ‘These Demons,’ which comes late in the disc’s run, is another notable moment showing the division in this re-issue. Musically and lyrically, it starts out strong, what with its beats and socially conscious lyrics about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation (especially the black community). But from there, he proceeds to fall back again on his familiar defensive lyrical approach as the song continues, going after his critics once more. It’s like even within one song, he cannot decide whether he wants to show his angry for the sake of being angry side or the more mature and powerful side of himself. This happens throughout the course of the bonus disc in Music to be Murdered By Side B. The result is that while there is some positive content, there is just as much material that might divide audiences. It is a trend that continues what Eminem started with Music to be Murdered By. To that end, the overall content featured in this re-issue is a concerning detractor from the album, but thankfully is not enough to make the album a failure. It just makes the record a presentation that is far from being his best work.
For all of the concern that the overall content of Music to be Murdered By Side B raises, the sheer amount of content works with the re-issue’s average price point to make for even more appeal for audiences. The average price point for this double-disc set – obtained by averaging listings at Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers (It was not listed through Best Buy and Books-A-Million) – is $16.82. Yet the most commonly listed price for the re-issue is $15.99, well below that average. Barnes & Noble Booksellers’ listing of $19.30 is the only one that exceeds the noted average. In other words, audiences who get this re-issue are essentially getting two albums for the price of one. Most full, “double albums” generally average in the range of $20-$25 if not more. So even with the concerns raised by the inconsistency in the overall content featured here, the affordability of all of that content is sure to make this recording even more appealing, again, for Eminem’s most devoted fans.
Eminem’s re-issue of his 2020 album Music to be Murdered By is an intriguing presentation from the veteran rapper. It is a presentation that is certain to appeal primarily to Eminem’s most devoted fan base. That is due in large part to the fact that the bonus disc featured with the original album is rounded out by actual original content. Rather than just throwing in a bunch of random live clips, b-sides other content, audiences get what is essentially an entire “new” album’s worth of music. That in itself forms a strong foundation for the record’s presentation. The content itself is somewhat problematic, though. Given, Eminem gives audiences hints of the stylistic approach that made him famous as well as touches of his more current stylistic approach. The problem is that throughout it all, there is a sense of inconsistency and lack of direction. It is as if Eminem and company were unable to decide which side to show more in the bonus disc just as much as in the original album. This notably detracts from record’s presentation, but not so much that it makes the re-issue a failure. Considering the average price for this price listing, it gains even more appeal. That average price point is that of a single, not double album, yet audiences get here the equivalent of a double album for the price of a single album. To that end, whether audiences are the most devoted or just casual, they will agree that this affordability, together with the record’s amount of content (and even slightly with its content itself), makes this re-issue at least a slight success. Music to be Murdered By Side B is available now. More information on the album is available along with all of Eminem’s latest news at:
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