When it comes to rap and hip-hop, I’ve always been old school, and by old school I mean like when my uncle was spinning Sugar Hill Gang back in the early ‘80s in downtown Kansas City. That lead me down the river to BDP, Eric B. & Rakim and my boy Ice Cube. I was never a fan of Marshall Mathers… at first. To me, he was just some smart ass, know-it-all from the wrong side of the tracks, until I saw 8 Mile. The film reminded me of life in inner-city KC, so I sat my ass down, listened and learned.

The thing I dig about Music to Be Murdered By is that it relies on an old school vibe that is, at times, simplistic with minimal sound effects. “Premonition” hits the streets hard and running, rhyming and rhythmizing in such a frantic pace that I’m reaching for my thesaurus and bible at the same time. “I think its obvious, we ain’t never going to see eye to eye. It’s funny, as much as I hate you, I need you.”

In “Unaccommodating,” Slim’s lips are jibber-jabbing so frantically I have to take a smoke break to get the meaning of the message, and that’s a good thing. Be kind, rewind and we hit a green light at 01:33: “I need y’all to keep talking shit, ‘cause I feed off of it. I am the complete opposite of these retards who spit these weak bars, I’ma leave carnage. Each thought will be so toxic, it’ll block the wind through your esophagus. Stop it, cutting off your oxygen and I hit them pads like a boxing gym. Better watch for Slim, better get to popping when I’m at the top again. I won’t topple and I’m giving it to anyone who wanna come and get it and I’m not gonna stop.” Red light at 01:46. Stuff that thirteen seconds into your life. Hell, that was half of my review!

Explore the “Darkness” of tragedy with Eminem.

Spooky ghosts and a ghastly interlude by Sir Alfred Hitchcock finds us grim on this bloody, ritualistic horrorcore that retorts back into the smart-ass I reflected on. In “Those Kinda Nights,” Marshall raises the humour flag as the panties fly off spitting and strutting, “Hit up the next club, met Alexa but she was so extra, called her etcetera. Had her like, ‘Oh, my God, my whole inbox filled with your songs, I mow my lawn to ‘em.’ I said, ‘Oh, my God, you know my songs? That’s totally awesome, I’m Marshall, what’s goin’ on?” Ed Sheeran drops the hook on the chorus, “If you wanna go hard tonight, well then the smoke and the bottle are on me, ah.” Hey ya’ll, remember me? Im your valet driver, mind if I cruise along?

“Leaving Heaven” slows things down for a minute and reflects on Slim’s past, which again reminds me of 8 Mile. “Cause life is like a penny, cause its only one percent.” I think a lot of us feel this way and that’s what makes us strive to have better things and to teach our children well. I cannot, and will not, stand for the mind-frame of the millennials. I don’t get it. What are they going to teach their children? You bust your ass to have nice things and hopefully you meet good people along the way that will be with you throughout life. Other than that, I still don’t know what life is about, but I’m having fun figuring it out… semi-responsibly, sitting here blasting Slim Shady.

Slow things down a bit with “Leaving Heaven.”

There is enough flow in “Godzilla” that if you’re an upstart writer or a rapper, you can make an entire career out of one song. The guy is a lyrical genius and that’s both a given and well documented. It’s this kinda shit that makes me sit down scratching my head, hitting rewind with my bottle of Budweiser and Benadryl next to me. “Look at my rap sheets, what attracts these people is my gangster, bitch, like Apache with a catchy jingle. I stack chips, you barely got a half-eaten Cheeto. Fill ‘em with the venom and eliminate ‘em, other words, I Minute Maid ‘em. I don’t want to hurt ‘em but I did ‘em in a fit of rage. I’m murderin’ again, nobody will evade him.” One of my companeros’ padre used to yell at him when he was coming off a crystal meth binge, ‘SLOW DOWN,’ but Slim executes the end of his own cascade with, “man stop.”

I really want to cap this off with “Farewell,” as I believe it’s a perfect ending, even though it’s not the end of the album. However, my publisher will kick me in the dick If I post the lyrics, and that’s coming politically correct. So let me play hop-scotch and slinky with Slim Shady for a moment and see what I can pull out of the ‘rabbits’ hat. “We’re not pretending to beef, don’t cost a penny to be with me. Time we’re spending is free, we could be broke as a joke, won’t make a difference to me. Don’t have to give me a thing, could’ve been a 50 cent ring from out of a vending machine. Love unconditionally, there’s no other fish in the sea. Guess I’m a prisoner, see, addiction is a disease. I gotta tell myself another lie. ‘Cause that’s what helps to get me by. ‘Cause I’m in Hell, this is my goodbye, farewell.” Whew, made it out of that without any post-dramatic stress.

Terrorize the metropolis with “Godzilla,” King of Monsters.

The whole damn album is killer and I could spend this entire review quoting Slim because, let’s face it, he’s a better writer than I am. In fact, if this was an interview I would turn the microphone over and let him grill me instead. After some of the reviews I’ve read about Music to Be Murdered By, please, listen to what I have to say about what I have to say. I always think about where some of the old rappers go. Do they retire? I mean, where are Eric B. & Rakim? Marshall ain’t going anywhere anytime soon, and if he does, it will be on his dime, because “you better lose yourself in the music the moment you own it you better never let it go.” Here’s looking at you, Mr. Mathers, I hope I semi did you justice.

Music To Be Murdered By Track Listing:

1. Premonition (Intro)
2. Unaccommodating (Ft. Young M.A)
3. You Gon’ Learn (Ft. Royce da 5’9” & White Gold)
4. Alfred (Interlude)
5. Those Kinda Nights (Ft. Ed Sheeran)
6. Too Deep
7. Godzilla (Ft. Juice WRLD)
8. Darkness
9. Leaving Heaven (Ft. Skylar Grey)
10. Yah Yah (Ft. Black Thought, dEnAun, Q-Tip & Royce da 5’9”)
11. Stepdad (Intro)
12. Stepdad
13. Marsh
14. Never Love Again
15. Little Engine
16. Lock It Up (Ft. Anderson .Paak)
17. Farewell
18. No Regrets (Ft. Don Toliver)
19. I Will (Ft. Joell Ortiz, KXNG Crooked & Royce da 5’9”)
20. Alfred (Outro)

Run Time: 64:22
Release Date: January 17, 2020
Record Label: Shady, Aftermath, Interscope

I was born in the late 60's amongst hippies and bikers. Cut my teeth on 70's rock and roll surrounded by motorheads and potheads, and in the 80's spread my wings and flourished as a guitarist. In the 90's I became a semi-professional musician knocking on death metals door, as well as entering the world as a freelance writer. In the 2000's I moved to Hollywood and watched the music industry crumble in front of my dreams and then took a break. Now, in the early 2020s I'm ready to rock again… or swing, blues, bluegrass, country, jazz, classical, etc. Its not so much a job to me anymore, but a great way to express myself and have a good time, and, "I know, its only rock and roll but I like it".