Eminem’s Latest LP Re-Issue Will Find Appeal Among His Most Devoted Fans

Courtesy: Aftermath Entertainment/Shady Records/Interscope Records/Goliath Artists

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:

Website: https://www.eminem.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eminem


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Indie Rapper 13’s Self-Titled Debut Shows He’s As Good As Any Mainstream Rapper

Courtesy:  Goomba Music

Courtesy: Goomba Music

The self-titled debut from Puerto Rican born rapper William Morgan (A.K.A. 13) is the album that fellow rapper Eminem’s fans have wanted ever since the release of his 2004 album, Encore.  The follow-ups in Relapse and Recovery haven’t been met with quite the vigor from fans as his earlier works.  Enter 13, with his brand new self-titled release.  The eleven-song album from the once homeless military veteran is easily compared to music from the likes of Eminem.    If audiences were to hear this record without knowing it was the New York native, they would believe that it was in fact Eminem.  13’s self-titled debut sounds just like Eminem’s music both stylistically and lyrically.  Even 13 himself sounds quite like Mr. Mathers in terms of his voice and rhyming style.  The similarities between the two are inescapable, right from the moment that the album opens. 

The album’s opener, ‘Hi/Hello’ is quite the first introduction of 13 to his audiences.  And it is crafted much as Eminem has done on past records.  Until the moment that he introduces himself officially, letting people know who he is, audiences are led to believe that they are listening to Eminem.  It is said though, that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Eminem would in fact be flattered by the fact that this artist sounds so much like him all the way around.  Thirteen doesn’t let up once throughout the course of the album’s eleven songs.  From one song to the next, each one is hard-hitting in its own way.  One of the hardest hitting of the album’s tracks is the song, ‘Houston We Have a Problem.”  Richy Nix guests on the track.  The song opens with the ominous strains of a piano.  The piano part stays on as 13 raps about his tough upbringing and of his adult life.  The picture he paints is one of a man that has so much turmoil in his life going all the way back to his childhood growing up around drugs and babies born to moms on drugs.  It’s a tough picture to see.  But it is definitely impactful in hearing this.

Just as powerful as ‘Houston We Have a Problem (ft. Richy Nix)’ is the album’s midway point, ‘Alter Ego.’  He writes about finding God despite everything that he has been through in life, and how he wishes he had that American dream of having a child and a wife.  He writes, “Hey what up/My life was never easy/Raised up in the ghetto/You would never wanna be me/I’m a product of an adult something crazy/See me rise up to the top/Then I promise/Best believe me/something I never know/Is why society is so cold….I had to slowly realize/That my pain is why I rise/Once I reach up to the top/Then I push the pain aside/What a life, what a life/Oh man, what a life/All I really want/A couple kids and a wife/That’s alright/It’s a battle/It’s a fight/Imma fight with all my might…forever hold on tight.”  As ominous as the song sounds, musically, it’s really quite the uplifting and inspiring piece that many people will understand and appreciate in their own way.  And it’s just one more part of what makes this album one that any hardcore rap fan will appreciate in whole.

Audiences will appreciate 13’s songs both for their music and for their hard-hitting lyrics.  There is not one bad song throughout the course of the album.  The music isn’t all that audiences will appreciate from this record.  The album’s production values are what make the music sound so good.  The mix of the piano parts, the occasional guitars and the beats is a very good touch.  No one part overpowers the other at any point throughout the album.  The same can be said of the vocals.  They are just as well balanced with the album’s other elements.  They all work together to make this an album that any purist rap fan will enjoy.  It serves to prove that just as with the world of rock music, indie rappers can be just as good as the big names.  13’s new self-titled debut is available now.  It can be downloaded via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/thirteen/id667109934.  And fans can keep up with the latest from 13 online at http://www.facebook.com/13isgodsend and http://newyork13.com

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IBF Title Fight Headlines March 1st Edition of ESPN’s FNF

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

This Friday night’s edition of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights has a big as its main feature.  Friday’s main event features a title fight between Featherweight titlist Billy “The Kid” Dib (35 – 1, 1 NC, 21 KOs) and undefeated challenger Evgeny “The Mexican Russian” Gradovich (15 – 0, 8 KOs) in a 12-round bout.  Dib is named by The Ring magazine as its number 4 Featherweight and by ESPN.com as its number 8 Featherweight).  The match will be broadcast live from the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT.  It will be broadcast live at 9pm EST on ESPN 2 HD and online via WatchESPN.com.  Audiences with tablets and smart phones can watch it on their mobile devices with the WatchESPN app.  Spanish speaking fans can also watch the fight on ESPN Deportes+.  ESPN Deportes+ is the new digital extension of ESPN Deportes.  It will air tape delayed on ESPN Deportes Saturday morning at 3am EST. 

Friday’s fight is co-promoted by DiBella Entertainment and SMS Promotions, which are owned by multiplatinum recording artist and entrepreneur 50 Cent.  50 will be in studio at ESPN’s headquarters today for an ESPN “Car Wash” to discuss tomorrow night’s main event on ESPN TV and radio shows.  He will also perform one of his songs tomorrow night at the Foxwoods before the main event and will serve as “sparring partner” to ESPN Friday Night Fights co-host Teddy Atlas for Friday’s edition of Fight Plan.

Dib comes into tomorrow night’s fight fresh off of a 10-round unanimous decision in a non-title fight against Juan Rodriguez.  That match was preceded by a successful title defense against Eduardo Escobedo.  Dib’s win over Escobedo—a sixth round TKO–was his second successful title defense.  When asked about the upcoming match, Dib was upbeat.  “I am really excited to be headlining against the “Mexican Russian,” he said.  “It’s going to be an all-out punch up.  The fans can definitely expect to see a great fight on March 1st.”

Gradovich, a Russian native, also comes into tomorrow night’s fight fresh off the heels of his own decisive victory.  He defeated William Villanueva with a TKO in the seventh round of the pair’s fight.  Gradovich is trained by 2012 Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) “Trainer of the Year” Robert Garcia.  When asked about Friday’s fight, Gradovich sounded especially focused.  “Becoming a world champion has been a life-long dream of mine, and on March 1st, I will finally have that chance,” he said.  “This is going to be a very special night for me, as not only am I fighting for my first world title, but the entire country will have the opportunity to watch it.  I am already in great shape and I am going to show the world what I am capable of come March 1st.”

All eyes will be on the matchup between these two athletes Friday night.  Before the bout though, audiences will be treated to a fight between Junior Middleweight titlist Willie “The Great” Nelson (19 – 1 – 1, 11KOs) and former Junior Middleweight titlist Michael Medina (26 -3 – 2, 19 KOs).  The pair will face off in a 10-round fight prior to the night’s main event.  Nelson comes into tomorrow’s fight on the heels of a 10-round unanimous decision win over previously undefeated 2008 Olympian Josh Jackson.  Medina also comes into tomorrow’s fight with some momentum.  He was also victorious in his previous match with an 8-round unanimous decision win over James Winchester.

Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will be at ringside to call all of the action for ESPN 2 HD.  Studio host Todd Grisham will also be on site with all of the latest boxing news and highlights.  Alex Pombo and Delvin Rodriguez will call the fights for ESPN Deportes along with Leopoldo Gonzalez and Pablo Viruega in studio.  Bernardo Osuna will have interviews and reports for ESPN 2 HD and ESPN Deportes. 

ESPN’s Friday Night Fights is presented each week by Corona Extra.  Fans of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights can keep up with all of the latest news and more from the show online at http://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf and on Twitter at @ESPNFNF and @ESPNBoxeo.  Fans can also score the fights themselves from home thanks to the “Live Friday Night Fights” voting app on Facebook.  The app allows users to score the fight live round-by-round.   

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always get the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.