When a legend speaks—or in Eminem's case, raps—people pay attention. So fans were all ears when the self-proclaimed rap god revealed plans to release a new album to help end 2017 with a bang. Many were curious as to whether Slim Shady's still got it.
Revival (out now) is Eminem's first studio album in more than four years. It arrives at a time when repetition and incoherent rhymes are all the rage. And while Eminem is undoubtedly one of the greatest lyricists and most successful rappers of all-time, the pressure was on to silence the doubters that have written him off in recent years.
While the verdict is still out on how Revival stacks up in the context of Eminem's catalog, it's clear that the Motor City deity is still capable of riddling listeners with spellbinding rhymes. Running 19 tracks long, Revival boasts a list of guests that includes Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, P!NK Alicia Keys, Skylar Grey, X Ambassadors, Kehlani, and PHresher, but finds Eminem in the eye of the storm throughout, touching on everything from race to familial matters.
With Eminem's latest body of work dominating the conversation in hip-hop at the moment, XXL took a deep dive into the project and picked out 20 lyrics from Revival that rank among its best.
"Walk On Water"Eminem Featuring Beyonce
"It’s the curse of the standard, that the first of the Mathers discs set/Always in search of the verse that I haven’t spit yet/Will this step just be another misstep/To tarnish whatever the legacy, love or respect I've garnered?/The rhyme has to be perfect, the delivery flawless/And it always feels like I’m hittin' the mark/'Til I go sit in the car, listen and pick it apart/Like, 'This shit is garbage!'" —Eminem
"Man, I know sometimes/These thoughts can be harsh and cold as ice/To me they're just ink blots/I just fling 'em like slingshots, and so precise/So you might want to think it over twice/When you retards can roll the dice/But beef will at least cost you your career/'Cause even my cheap shots are overpriced" —Eminem
"Chloraseptic"Eminem Featuring PHresher
"You're a has-been, that has been the case since back when/You last went and threw your hat in the race, you've been trash, stick your raps in the trash bin/Or end up in my next rhyme, you're a fuckboy, so next time/It's gonna be heads flyin' like Dez Bryant/With a TEC-9 against Rex Ryan" —Eminem
"Black boy, black boy, we don't get your culture and/We don't care what our government's done to fuck you over, man/Don't tell us your attitude's a result of that/Balderdash, where’d you get the chip on your shoulder at?/Why you kicking that soda can? Pull your pants up/We 'bout to roll up and throw your ass in the van cuffed" —Eminem
"And education sucks, and every day's another
Freddie Gray for us/A levy breaks or fuzz, why is it they treat us like dryer lint?/We just want a safe environment for our kids, but can’t escape the sirens/Don’t take a scientist to see our violent nature lies in/The poverty that we face so the crime rate’s the highest in/The lowest classes, it's like a razor wire fence/And we’re trapped in these racial biases" —Eminem
"Home of the brave is still racist 'ville/So this whole nation feels like a plantation field/In a country that claims that its foundation was based on United States ideals that had its Natives killed/Got you singin' this star-spangled spiel/To a piece of cloth that represents the 'Land of the Free' that made people slaves to build" —Eminem
"Like Home"Eminem Featuring Alicia Keys
"Someone get this Aryan a sheet/Time to bury him, so tell him to prepare to get impeached/Everybody on your feet/This is where terrorism and heroism meets, square off in the streets/This chump barely even sleeps/All he does is watch Fox News like a parrot and repeats/While he looks like a canary with a beak/Why you think he banned transgenders from the military with a tweet?" —Eminem
"Bad Husband"Eminem Featuring X Ambassadors
"We brought out the worst in each other/Someone had to make the sparring end/’Cause I loved you but I hated that me/And I don't wanna see that side again/But I'm sorry, Kim, more than you could ever comprehend/Leaving you was fucking harder than sawing off a fucking body limb" —Eminem
"He gives a fuck, even his pinky swears/Three personalities burstin' out of me, please beware/Her TV blares, can't hear the creaking stairs/She's unaware in no underwear, she's completely bare/Turns around and screams, I remember distinctly I said 'I'm here to do sink repairs'/Chop her up, put her body parts/In front of Steven Avery's trailer and leave 'em there" —Eminem
"Donald Duck's on as the Tonka Truck in the yard/But dog, how the fuck is Ivanka Trump in the trunk of my car?/Gotta get to the bottom of it to try to solve it/Must go above and beyond, 'cause it's incumbent upon/Me, 'cause I feel somewhat responsible for the dumb little blonde/Girl, that motherfuckin' baton twirler that got dumped in the pond" —Eminem
"Nowhere Fast"Eminem Featuring Kehlani
"Fuck doin' what you're told, act like a two-year old/Shit is soon to go kaboom and blow/Anyways, for MCs it's a funeral/When I'm devising this rhyme 'cause I'm awake and you're mourning/That's why I rise and I shine, like a new day has dawned on me" —Eminem
"Lady, you remind me of my raps on that Relapse shit/'Cause you got an ass thick as them accents/Two ass-cheek implants, call that an asset/'Cause you could set a glass on it, it's massive/From the first time I saw you, I actually said to myself: 'I gotta meet her' like a taxi/Exactly, love affair in the backseat/Sorry if I'm being graphic" —Eminem
"Black out, come to, hands covered in blood/Motherfuckin' gloves and a shovel stuck in the mud/I just bodied the beat, so that ho musta been dug/'Cause it just died like food coloring (duh!)/So let's get turnt like a shish kebab/Twist it, Ma, like an air-conditioning knob" —Eminem
"You felt my heat rubbin' off on ya/I love your personality, come on, little mama/You're hot enough to melt Rick's beat, come jump in the water/I bet you get your self-esteem from your persona/With an ass to match, girl/Your body is lit, you're striking, I'm a gas, girl/You're just gonna have to put them other chumps on the back burner/You got buns, I got Asperger's" —Eminem
"Walk in the arraignment/Shoot the bailiff, karate kick the plaintiff/Gotti with the stainless/I'll just call it shoddy entertainment/If y'all was in the party gettin' faded/On molly, had the audience sedated/You wouldn't catch a body if it fainted" —Eminem
"Only time you get the blade is probably with the dang lawn equipment, ain't it?/Wouldn't take a bobby pin and wave it/I need to stop bein' debated, you're still copyin', Xeroxing/I'm still coppin' a feel like Bill Cosby at will/Popping a pill, then spill Oxys in Jill's coffee/Then send her out to the hotel lobby a lil' wobbly and still groggy" —Eminem
"I try to look alive because there's nothin' like holdin'/Your head up high when you're dead inside and I just hide, so in/Case you're wonderin' why my inside's showin'/'Cause I done spilled all my guts and those are mine so I'm/Pickin' them up and stuffin' them back/Fuck it, I've done enough in this rap shit/Recovery brought me nothin' but back/To where I was and perhaps/This coulda been my victory lap if I wasn't on the verge of Relapse" —Eminem
"If I use this same energy while I'm saying rhymes and write them/With the same passion and the same exact enthusiasm/As I'm using in this letter, maybe they can feel me as I'm/Trying to build these castles out of sand, baby girl/For you to sit on the throne, I got plans, baby girl/Welcome to Mom and Dad’s crazy world/Love, Daddy, maple-flavored kisses, buttered pancakes, and syrup" —Eminem
"Now if you found these letters, I guess I better try to explain/A lot's happened in between them since I rised to this fame/I've said your name but always tried to hide your face/This game is crazy, I wanted to claim my love for you, but dang/I never knew it'd be like this, if I did I wouldn't have done it/You ain't asked for none of this shit, now you're being punished?!/Things that should've been private with me and your mother is public/I can't stomach, they can take this fame back, I don't want it" —Eminem
"If I could rewind time like a tape/Inside a boombox, one day for every pill or Percocet that I ate/Cut down on the Valium, I'da heard everything/But death is turning so definite—wait!/They got me all hooked up to some machine/I love you, being, didn't want you to know I was struggling/Feels like I'm underwater submerged like a submarine/Just heard that nurse say, my liver and kidneys aren't functioning/Been flirtatious with death, skirt-chasing, I guess/It's arrivederci, same nurse, just heard say they're unplugging me" —Eminem