MusicReviews

Eminem Hits New Low with ‘Houdini’

Once-mighty rapper a shadow of his former, groundbreaking self

The reviews for Eminem’s new single, “Houdini,” range from mediocre to merciless.

“Eminem’s ‘Houdini’ Is Goofy But Fun,” declared Clash Magazine, while Stereogum didn’t mince words. The new track is “Really, Really Bad.”

It is. It’s absolutely awful. (Warning: Mature language ahead)

Eminem - Houdini [Official Music Video]

And yet, in a plot twist Houdini himself would appreciate, the public response was the complete opposite. “Houdini” became the most-streamed song in the UK. It’s also his fastest-selling single in over two decades and is poised to be the UK’s fastest-selling single of the year, eclipsing even Taylor Swift.

The music video generated nearly 60 million YouTube views in just nine days.

Eminem might still pull a crowd, but let’s not fool ourselves about the quality of his work. The sad reality is that it’s been subpar for ages.

Yet, somehow, like Sisyphus, he persists.

Despite churning out what can charitably be called musical disasters for more than 20 years, Eminem continues to captivate the masses. When examining his new single, it’s possible that the success has more to do with sheer commercial appeal than actual artistry.

Anchored by a sample so unmistakably lifted from Steve Miller Band’s “Abracadabra,” the track drags along, fused with one of his greatest hits from many moons ago, “Without Me.” “Houdini” hits all the nostalgic chords, save none of the ones that matter – the artistic ones.

Although the track is, commercially speaking, a hit, its success underscores a perplexing phenomenon: Eminem’s astonishing consistency in plumbing new depths of terrible music.

Eminem’s career trajectory is like watching a superhero lose his powers in slow motion. Back in 1999, when “The Slim Shady LP” dropped, Eminem was a juggernaut, not just riding the cultural wave but creating it.

Eminem - Stan (Long Version) ft. Dido

His lyrics were acerbic and exciting, a savage blend of dark humor, brutal honesty and a stunning self-awareness that set him apart from the vanilla landscape of late ’90s rap. Tracks from “The Marshall Mathers LP” like “Stan” and “The Way I Am” didn’t just storm the charts—they redefined rap.

Eminem wasn’t just a rapper; he was the voice of the angry, misunderstood youth. And he delivered with a middle finger raised high.

Fast forward to the present day, and the story is one of a slow, painful decline.

Albums like “Relapse” and “Recovery” had fleeting moments of brilliance, but they were marred by inconsistent production and awkward lyrical stumbles. Once a master of his craft, Eminem sounded like he was fumbling for relevance in a rapidly changing musical landscape.

And now, at 51, with his 12th studio album, “The Death of Slim Shady (Coup de Grâce)” on the horizon, his music feels like a desperate, flailing attempt to recapture his former glory. This isn’t a cheap shot—it’s a plain observation.

Eminem has morphed into an echo of his younger self, a faded shadow of the dynamic force that stormed the scene in the ’90s. His once-brilliant lyrical prowess now feels like a parlor trick, the rapid-fire delivery a gimmick masking a profound lack of substance.

Which brings us back to “Houdini.”

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Marshall Mathers (@eminem)

Eminem doesn’t just phone it in; he barely shows up.

The track is a somber reflection of an artist out of touch, both with his own talent and the pulse of contemporary hip-hop. His contemporaries, like Nas and Jay-Z, have aged like fine wine, their lyrics evolving to address themes of legacy, fatherhood and personal growth.

Nas, with albums like “Life Is Good” and “King’s Disease,” has shown a lyrical maturity that resonates with an audience that has grown alongside him. His music speaks to the complexities of aging, of grappling with one’s past and looking forward with purpose and wisdom.

In stark contrast, Eminem seems stuck in perpetual adolescence, his lyrics mired in shock value and puerile references. The themes of self-reflection that once rang with raw honesty now come off as self-indulgent and hollow. The anger and defiance that once felt authentic now play like a tired act, a parody of his former self.

Eminem’s refusal to evolve has rendered his music increasingly irrelevant in a genre that thrives on innovation and reinvention. While artists like J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar push boundaries with deep, introspective tracks, Eminem seems lost in a sea of recycled rhymes, tired tropes and P.T. Barnum-like nonsense.

The decline of Eminem is a cautionary tale of the dangers of refusing to adapt. His career is a reminder that the hip-hop landscape is littered with the remnants of once-great artists who failed to grow.

Like an old boxer taking one too many hits, or a politician who can’t let go of the spotlight, Eminem is tarnishing a legacy that was once nothing short of stellar. He may still set records with single sales, but in terms of legacy, he’s setting new lows.

The rap game has moved on, and it’s high time Eminem does the same.

2 Comments

  1. This clown. A nobody taking shots at a legend because his left brain can’t write anything of significance or substance. The track was fire you just can’t stans it because he took a shot at Megan. That or because he rapped about his kitty, but so does Megan.

  2. Never was a fan of his but I listened to it the other day and compared it to a couple of his late 90s songs and now matter how hard I listened I couldnt understand what he was saying it’s way too fast. Had to pull up the lyrics and read them to see what he was “rapping” about.

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