Recently returning to prominence after a politically charged freestyle performance at the 2017 BET Hip-Hop Awards, rapper Eminen has solidified this newfound interest with the release of Revival this week. The 77-minute album marks his ninth studio release and the first since 2013’s widely acclaimed The Marshall Mathers LP 2. The album boasts a number of notable collaborators including Ed Sheeran, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, and production from Denaun Porter and Rick Rubin.
Produced over the course of 2016 and 2017, Eminem’s new album has a storied history leading up to its final release. Revival is notable for having only one track produced by the eminent Dr. Dre, whose unique production aesthetic is ubiquitous on Eminem’s earlier releases. Dre’s sole credit is on “Remind Me (Intro),” an interstitial of sorts at only 26 seconds in length.
While the album is packed with interesting features and collaborations, at least one track changed dramatically from initial plans. “Walk on Water,” which features powerful vocals from Destiny’s Child veteran Beyoncé was initially supposed to feature English singer-songwriter Adele. Like the guest spots, Revival features a broad range of interesting samples from Regina Spektor to Bette Midler. Sheeren revealed that his vocals for “River” were recorded at New Zealand actor Russell Crowe’s farm estate in Australia. Rapper 2 Chainz is alleged to have recorded a verse on “Chloraspetic,” the album’s third track, but this was unfortunately left on the cutting room floor. Instead the song features Phresher, a comparative unknown.
Overall, the album is seeing relatively mixed reviews, holding a 63 on Metacritic, though it may still be too early to fully gauge the Revival‘s merits and impact. The Guardian has been the harshest reviewer to date, giving the album a dismal two out of five stars and heavily criticizing its overall production.