Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Eminem: Music to Be Murdered By [Aftermath/Shady/Interscope/Goliath, 2020]
Boring is in the mind of the beholder, and the old-timer's third meaty full-length in two years is nothing like de trop no matter how many jaded journos claim otherwise. It's animated by his compulsion to show off a skill-set-not-genius unmatched in hip-hop, a distinction he specifies on the closing "I Will," which follows a sorry run of battle rhymes with the undeserving Joe Budden and the like by calling the enemy "doubters who question my skill." So I'm touched by his felt need to cram 179 crystalline words, 22 of three syllables or more, into precisely 30 seconds of the Juice-WRLD-aided "Godzilla." Other cameos go to Black Thought, White Gold, Young M.A, Alfred Hitchcock, and a wasted Anderson .Paak, and for old time's sake a newly woke Royce Da 5'9" is all over the record. I recommend the one where young Marshall tries to kill his stepfather. And while some may dismiss "Darkness" as merely morbid, I say the morphological ambiguity of an alcohol-addled Em slowly transmuting into the Las Vegas shooter is as deep as any other gun-control analysis this side of an assault-weapons ban I hope and pray I'll see in my lifetime. A-