Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Eminem: Music to Be Murdered By: Side B (Deluxe Edition) [Aftermath/Shady/Interscope/Goliath, 2021]
Docked a notch because Marshall has decreed that mad fans who want the 16 so-called B-sides here--purportedly tracks left off January, 2020's Music to Be Murdered By, although since the Covid ones were obviously recorded later we assume some of the others were too--must buy the A-sides all over again. But have some respect, people. Here is more proof that Eminem loves rhyme as compulsively as MF Doom himself: "Yeah I'm a card like Hallmark/At Walmart with a small cart buying wall art," "Kris Kristofferson-Piss Pissedofferson," dumbbell-thumbnail-her spell-gun barrel-my girl. If he's not as playful or surreal about it as Doom, he sure does enunciate better, with a timbral dexterity never quashed by the rock-inflected production style that Dr. Dre laid on him decades ago and oversees here. There's more braggadocio and less delight in these words for their own sake than in the Side A's, and nothing as powerful as the Busta Rhymes-powered "Yah Yah." But there's also this plague wisdom: "This pandemic got us in a recession/We need to reopen America/Black people dying they want equal rights/White people wanna get haircuts." America-haircuts--there's a rhyme for you. B+