“Campaign Speech” might just be a song to mull over while Eminem finishes up working on his next album, but with a staggering eight minutes of material it wasn’t something to overlook–especially from the self-titled “Rap God” himself. Right off the bat, I just want to put it out there that I haven’t always been a big fan of Eminem’s work. Music aside, I think that lyrically and technically he’s one of if not the most talented rappers of all time (though I usually lean more towards “one of”). When it comes to his music and song themes, it’s the very edge of what’s known as “horrorcore rap” where chopping up bodies and overt sexual acts (which are not always consensual) become a bit too much for me personally. I’m not saying that I don’t like any of his songs, just stating that there’s a lot of instances where Eminem’s dark and violent lyricism can be a bit… extreme.
“Campaign Speech,” Eminem’s version of politics; however, suffers very different yet all too familiar casualties when it comes to the Eminem verses of today. For one, it just sounds like he’s saying words that rhyme really fast. Sure, they all mean something, but at this point Eminem seems better off as an angry masochist poet than an all-over-the-place rapper. Second of all, there’s barely any talk of actual politics, which isn’t surprising, just kind of odd given the context. There’s also a lot of out-of-date pop culture references, which further add to the point that like Lil Wayne, Eminem hasn’t really been as aware of what’s been going on recently as he used to.
In the first few lines, Eminem not only has me completely lost, but compares himself to Edward Norton as the Hulk, even though he hasn’t held that role since 2008 before Mark Ruffalo took over, and then jumps straight into bars about sadomasochism. Remember that this song is called “Campaign Speech” for… some reason. Eminem then gets super misogynistic, like aggressively and horribly so, proceeds to play it off by calling himself a “stegosaurus” due to his age though talking about his rap prowess as “Chuck Norris with a thesaurus,” and finishes the stanza with shooting George Zimmerman and presenting the body to Trayvon Martin’s parents via doorstep drop-off. This is all, by the way, only the first minute. Eminem doesn’t get to anything that’s not misogynistic, violent, or outdated references until about 3:45min in when he says:
“Consider me a dangerous man
But you should be afraid of this dang candidate
You say Trump don’t kiss ass like a puppet
‘Cause he runs his campaign with his own cash for the fundin’
And that’s what you wanted
A fuckin’ loose cannon who’s blunt with his hand on the button
Who doesn’t have to answer to no one—great idea!”
It derails back into the aforementioned topics immediately after that, but we did get a little bit of political commentary here, specifically that he doesn’t like Trump. Arguably though, it doesn’t really matter. If anything “Campaign Speech” highlighted how much I forgot that Eminem can get really ugly with his lyrics, and how after a year of Chance the Rapper, Frank Ocean, Jamila Woods, Anderson .Paak, Weezer, and recently D.R.A.M., it was a real harsh verbal attack of pure disgust that the lewdest artist would cringe upon hearing. Based off of what I heard here, if he doesn’t develop some new policies and talking points, Eminem’s campaign should be over.