The Bottom Line
"Let's take it back to straight hip-hop and start it from scratch." With those words, samples from the Beastie Boys and Billy Squier, and a fiercely celebratory mood, Marshall Mathers, aka Eminem, has returned with another masterful single. This time he worked with legendary producer Rick Rubin to capture the feel and spirt of mid-1980s rap. "Berzerk" is a cause for celebration.
- Exhilarating old school rap production
- Lyrics that celebrate life
- Perfect choice of samples
- No missteps
- Written by Marshall Mathers
- Produced by Rick Rubin
- Released August 2013 by Aftermath
Guide Review - Eminem - "Berzerk"
"Berzerk" kicks off with rapid-fire old school rapping from Eminem, and it's not long before you hear guitar riffs cut and spliced out of Billy Squier's 1981 hit "The Stroke" and the Beastie Boys' signature "Kick it" from "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)" In fact, "Berzerk" sounds like a close relative to classic work by the Beastie Boys and Run-DMC. Rick Rubin produced those, and he proves here that he still has the knack for creating a rousing, booming rap track. Following the reflective mood of his last two albums Relapse and Recovery, Eminem is back in an aggressively upbeat mood. He's also titling the upcoming album The Marshall Mathers LP 2 to remind us all of the freewheeling genius of his 2000 landmark The Marshall Mathers LP.
Lyrically, "Berzerk" will be familiar ground for many fans even if much "cleaner" in language than much of his work. Eminem reminds us of his recovery rapping, "Just like I did with addiction I'm 'bout to kick it." He pokes fun at tabloid celebrities like Kevin Federline, Khloe Kardashian, and Lamar Odom. Eminem is also name-dropping a number of his colleagues like Kendrick Lamar, MC Ren, and Birdman. However, the key line, "Say f**k it before we kick the bucket, life's too short to not go for broke," reminds us all to make the most of every moment. Eminem proves on "Berzerk" not only that he can still rap with the best, but he and Rick Rubin know how to rock.
Just as the music industry got briefly mired in the fallout from the Miley Cyrus performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, Eminem has swept in with a new track that skips controversy and appeals to the gut. Katy Perry and Lady Gaga have been put on notice. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 just might be THE album of the last quarter of 2013. At age 40, Eminem is proving he is far from ready to step to the sidelines.