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Eminem - Relapse (Refill) Album Review

January 28, 2018

Believe it or not, this is an album I was actually really excited to review, I've heard a lot of terrible things about this album, but one YouTuber by the name of Myke C-Town said that he loved this album. I usually share a lot of opinions with him when it comes to rap, so I was hoping I would really like this. Apparently this is Eminem's darkest and most horrorcore-esque album he has ever made, so I was fascinated with checking it out.

 

1. Dr West (Skit) (Produced by Dr Dre and Eminem)

The first skit is just Em checking out of rehab and talking to his doctor. The doctor is saying things that he shouldn't and basically trying to get him to relapse. Em then wakes up after he realises it's all a nightmare.

 

2. 3 a.m. (Produced by Dr Dre)

The beat for this track is really dope. I was anticipating all of the production to be great on here considering how much of the album Dre produces. The accent that Em uses is really damn weird, but at least it's something different I suppose. Em is really just talking about murdering people while being fried on drugs. He's chopping people up, talking about drinking blood and bath water all kinds of fucked up shit. The hook is definitely the weakest aspect of the song in my opinion. I really think this song would've been dope as hell if he used his regular voice and if it was a bit shorter, because he has some great rhyme schemes, flows, and really off the wall lyrics. This song isn't that bad to be honest, I'm not crazy for it, but it's kinda cool in a fucked up way. 3/5

 

3. My Mom (Produced by Dr Dre)

I liked the beat on this song a lot. Em isn't using an accent on this song except for the hook and he sounds pretty great over this production. The hook kinda sucks though. Actually it really sucks, but it's really catchy. The verses however, they're all pretty dope. I really dig the verses on this song, they're wacky, they're crazy and they're very Slim Shady-esque. I can see why people called Relapse Em Shady 2.0. Honestly, I kinda like this song, but that hook is terrible. This is alright. 3/5

 

4. Insane (Produced by Dr Dre)

This is one of my favourite beats on the album by far. The introduction is really fucked up. It's basically about Em getting raped by his stepfather as a kid. Em's flow is fucking insane on this song though. Everything is so fucked up and stupid, but this just sounds so damn dope. Especially the second and third verse. It was about this point in the album where I started to understand what this whole album was about. It's meant to be wacky, insane, it's all about Em embracing the chaos of his drug addiction, and just giving in to all of his crazy and ridiculous thoughts. It's essentially old slim shady on even more drugs. I mean look at these lyrics.

 

"Did you get him?" Naw, fucker tried to bite my face off
I just got fuckin' chased off with a chainsaw
Then he took the chainsaw, bit the fuckin' blades off
Ate the blades, stuck a baseball in a slingshot
Then he aimed at his own face, let the thing pop
Took his eye out, picked it up and played ping pong
Then he played ping pong with his own ding-dong
That motherfucker's got nuts like King Kong

 

The part about sucking cum and belching in the third verse was some imagery I really could have done without to be honest though. I used to really like this song, even the hook is really catchy. However, the content in the first verse is the worst part of the song, This song is really messed up, but it's very Eminem. It gets to a certain point however, where the shock value runs out, then it just becomes good and not great. 4/5

 

5. Bagpipes from Baghdad (Produced by Dr Dre)

Now this beat right here, HOLY FUCK. The first time I heard this I lost my fucking shit. This beat is absolutely amazing to me, especially mixed with Em's crazy flow over this whole song. I actually find the lyrics in this song hilarious too.

 

Locked in Mariah's wine cellar, all I had for lunch
Was bread, wine, more bread, wine and Captain Crunch
Red wine for breakfast and for brunch
And to soak it up, an in-between snack, crackers to munch
Mariah, what ever happened to us?
Why did we have to break up?
All I asked for was a glass of punch
You see, I never really asked for much

 

The whole song is just so damn wacky. This shit was dope as fuck the first few times I heard it. Em's flow on this song is just so damn addictive. His lyrics are so stupid and off the wall that it just makes the song so interesting to listen to, combined with that flow, I just love this shit. The autotuned outro is pretty funny too. Unfortunately it lost a small amount of the awesome factor to me, but I still like it a lot. The lyrical content of this song is stupid as hell, but I still like it. 4/5

 

6. Hello (Produced by Dr Dre)

This song has another fantastic beat. The intro to this song is honestly really creepy in my opinion. I wish that was the hook for this song, because that would make this shit amazing. I like the first verse on this song a lot too. I really get weird serial killer vibes from it. The second verse just sounds kinda dumb. I mean it definitely fits in with the insane drugged up persona Em is trying to  portray for the whole album, but it's definitely the weakest verse. Overall this song is pretty damn solid. I still like it, there's nothing insanely cringey to me like there is on Encore. 4/5

 

7. Tonya (Skit) (Produced by Dr Dre and Eminem)

This is just a short skit where this girl runs to Em's car and he gives her a lift and kidnaps hers.

 

8. Same Song & Dance (Produced by Dr Dre)

This is one of the few genuinely creepy and cold songs to listen to on this album. The production really helps to create this unsettling atmosphere. The chorus on this song is fucking crazy though. 

 

Yeah baby, do that dance
It's the last dance you'll ever get the chance to do
Girl, shake that ass, you ain't never gonna break that glass
That windshield's too strong for you
I said, yeah baby, sing that song
It's the last song you'll ever get the chance to sing
You sexy little thing, show me what you got, give it your all
Look at you bawl, why you crying to me?
Same song and dance

 

It's so creepy, the hook is about Em raping her before he murders her. The dance is her struggling to get away from him while the song is her crying and screaming out. It's so creepy and unsettling, which is exactly what the song set out to do. Create this scary atmosphere. This song is really captivating to listen to, and definitely is one of the most haunting Eminem songs I've ever heard. This song really had an impact on me. That last verse where he was talking about wearing her as a suit was creepy too. It's just a shame the second verse wasn't as creepy. 5/5

 

9. We Made You (feat. Charmagne Tripp) (Produced by Dr Dre, Doc Ish and Eminem)

Now along came a song that completely ruined the vibe of the album so far. While the rest of the album was somewhat creepy and dark, along comes some Encore style Eminem rapping. I think that the instrumental is ok on this song, and I actually like the chorus as well, I just feel like it doesn't make any sense to be honest. Em has some goofy ass verses, but it isn't that bad I guess. His flow is still really great, but he is rapping about some stupid ass shit, even stupider than the earlier content on the album. This song isn't too terrible, but it's still pretty bad. 2/5

 

10. Medicine Ball (Produced by Dr Dre)

This was one of the songs I was afraid of going into this album, I'd heard nothing but bad things about it. The first verse was actually pretty funny and had an good flow, but I really didn't like the hook at all at first. The beat is pretty damn cool, and I dug it more and more as I continued to listen to the track. The verses all have pretty great flows and rhyme schemes, but I just don't dig the hook that much, it does grow on you, but I'm not quite there yet. The end of the third verse was also pretty irritating, overall this song is pretty average, it's not that bad, but it's not great for Eminem standards. 3/5

 

11. Paul (Skit)

Another Paul Rosenberg skit, in this one it sounds like he just quits after hearing the album, I believe this is the end of the Paul skits too. RIP Paul.

 

12. Stay Wide Awake (Produced by Dr Dre)

The beat on this song starts out pretty cool, but it just gets more interesting and more layered as the song progresses. Beat aside, this song is really fucked up. It's basically just a bunch of Eminem's rape fantasies. Em's rhyme schemes on this song are fucking insane though. In the second verse he rhymes fourteen straight lines. The second and third verse on this song have incredible rhyme schemes. This song really blew me away. This album is really deceptive. It's subject matter is really fucked up, dark and weird, but Em's rapping and rhyming is absolutely fantastic. If it wasn't for the accents I guarantee this album would be far more appreciated. 5/5

 

13. Old Time's Sake (feat Dr Dre) (Produced by Dr Dre)

Dr Dre's verse mixed with his production is honestly perfect on this song in my opinion. I love the way that he opens the song. Em's hook is really great on this song too. His first verse is pretty damn wacky and weird, but I still really dig it to be honest. I feel like a complete weirdo for how much I liked the majority of this album, but I don't really care. The second verse is pretty cool, but the third verse where Em and Dre are trading bars is dope as fuck. I really like this damn song. Well, at least I used to, but as much as I like the hook and Dre on this song...Em just ruins it to be honest. 3/5

 

14. Must Be the Ganja (Produced by Dr Dre)

Straight off the bat this reminded me of some shit off Encore. I didn't like it whatsoever. The verses are pretty cool though, they do have great rhymes, but I honestly still can't decide whether I like or hate the chorus. Overall I wasn't really feeling this song anywhere near as much as the rest of the album. It still had really great rhyme schemes, but it's just uninteresting to me. I think the biggest problem is definitely the production, even though I like the way it evolves as the track continues a lot. 2/5

 

15. Mr Mathers (Skit) (Produced by Dr Dre and Eminem)

This is a skit of Eminem going into an overdose, it then transitions into the next song Deja Vu. It definitely serves the purpose well.

 

16. Déjà Vu (Produced by Dr Dre)

I really love the beat on this song, plus the intro is great. This whole song is Em just rapping about his addictions and trying not to give into temptations. He also talks about using Proof's death as an excuse to get further into drugs and lose himself. This is a really fantastic song. This is one of the few songs on the album that actually has really meaningful subject matter. This is amazing. I feel like I should write more, but this is easily the best song on the album at this point in the listening experience. 5/5

 

17. Beautiful (Produced by Eminem)

Beautiful. It's a perfect word to describe this song. The intro for this song is really captivating and lovely to listen to. I like the chorus of this song a lot too. This song starts off about Em's depression, but he eventually goes on to have a more positive outlook at the end of the song. The second verse where he talks about losing his sense of humour is something I heavily relate to. I've changed so much over the past few years and I feel like I just don't have the lighthearted and happy approach to life I used to have. I've just grown to be serious and skeptical, not really finding as much pleasure in life as I used to. I guess that's just growing up I suppose. Regardless of my personal experiences, this is a fantastic song. 5/5

 

18. Crack a Bottle (feat Dr Dre and 50 Cent) (Produced by Dr Dre)

This song definitely sounds like it belongs on Encore, and not in a good way. The hook does make me smile, but I get's kinda old by the end of the song. Dre had a cool verse, but I'm just not a fan of this song. 50's verse was pretty weak in my opinion as well. This song is just really lackluster to me. 2.5/5

 

19. Steve Berman (Skit)

Well I thought that Steve died on the Eminem Show, but clearly I was wrong. He just got shot and lost the use of his right arm. Eminem actually sounds really normal and diplomatic on this song, he's trying to sort things out with Steve but he pulls a gun on him so Em throws him two cds (Relapse and Relapse 2 (which got scrapped)) then he runs out.

 

20. Underground (Produced by Dr Dre and Curtis "Sauce" Wilson)

This song has the worst chorus on the entire album. Easily. The verses are pretty good, but that chorus is fucking terrible. I don't know what he was thinking. The beat on this song is really dope too, which is frustrating as hell. That hook is a straight 1/5, the beat is 4/5, the verse are a low 4/5, so this is just average I guess. Pretty disappointing. The hidden Ken Kaniff skit was cool I guess, but the joke is getting a little old at this point. 3/5

 

Final Thoughts

Wow, what an Album. This really shocked me to be honest. I was expecting to like half of this and hate the rest, but I liked large majority of this project. It might not have had the most dense lyrical content, but the rhyme schemes, flows and production are for the most part great on this album. The accents worked really well for me on some songs, but on others they sucked. Overall however, this is way better than Encore. If Encore is a 4/10, Relapse is a 7/10. This is before the bonus tracks are counted too. I had a good time listening to this album, it's just a shame it fell apart in a fair few places. But one important fact. The production saved this album, I would never defend it to anyone. Except my favourite tracks on the album.

  Overall Rating (Original): 71/100

Favourite Tracks: Deja Vu, Beautiful, Stay Wide Awake, Same Song & Dance

Least Favourite: Must Be The Ganja

 

Bonus Tracks

 

21. Forever (feat. Drake, Kanye West and Lil Wayne) (Produced by Boi-1da)

I was very surprised to find Forever in the tracklist for this, because I knew about this song a long time ago, and everybody has a really great verse on it in my opinion. I think that Em definitely bodied it, but Wayne and Kanye really killed shit too. Drake had a pretty solid ass verse too, and I even liked his chorus a lot. I'm not a fan of Drake so that means a lot coming from me. The beat is fantastic, and the song gets better with every verse as it progresses. Em definitely was the best, but Wayne was pretty close behind. This song is great, it's definitely one of my favourites on the entire album. Plus those piano keys in Wayne's verse melt me every time. 5/5

 

22. Hell Breaks Loose (feat. Dr Dre) (Produced by Dr Dre and Batson)

The beat on this song is pretty cool. Unfortunately, Em's first verse is pretty average, however he kinda brings it back when spits for the second time. Dre's two verses are both cool, but the rest of this song is pretty bad in my opinion, especially the hook. I dont' really like it at all. 1/5

 

23. Buffalo Bill (Produced by Dr Dre and Batson)

There's a certain sound in relapse that I really liked, but this song just didn't quite do it for me. The rhyme schemes are good, but the lyrics didn't really do that much for me. The production is pretty dope though. This whole song wasn't really bad, but it was just uninteresting in my opinion. I definitely won't be returning to it. 2.5/5

 

24. Elevator (Produced by Eminem and Luis Resto)

Confused. That's the best word to describe this song. The hook is so happy and positive, but the verses are just weird as hell. I kinda like the beat though. The throwing a baby at another baby line was pretty funny, but I didn't like this song to be honest. 2.5/5

 

25. Taking My Ball (Produced by Dr Dre)

This is definitely the best beat out of the Refill tracks besides Forever. The hook for this song is pretty great, but the verses are definitely the highlight for me in terms of entertainment. They're just disgusting and ridiculous. The first verse is really fucked, but the rhyme schemes are fantastic. That line about shoving a tonka truck in a certain place is wild as hell though. Overall I enjoyed this song a lot, the flows, and rhymes are way too dope and funny for me not to love almost all of it. Especially the third verse. You really have to listen to this song for the rhyme schemes at the very least, they are insane. This song is undeniably bad but it's pretty fucking funny if you have a weird sense of humour like me. 4/5

 

26. Music Box (Produced by Dr Dre and Dawaun Parker)

This is another horrorcore track. It's not as effective as Same Song and Dance, but it is pretty creepy. The beat has some really cool sampling of a music box integrated into it. Em's flow is impeccable as usual, plus he has ridiculous rhyme schemes for most of the verses. It's pretty damn dope. Not a lot of complaints here. 5/5

 

27. Drop the Bomb on 'Em (Produced by Dr Dre)

The beat on this song is ok, but it contains some pretty solid verses. It definitely gets better and better as the song progresses, since the first verse it sounds like he's just spitting nothing but gibberish. I still don't really like this song though to be honest, it does get kinda boring. 2.5/5

 

28. My Darling (Produced by Eminem)

At first I really didn't like this song at all, I like it more now after having multiple listens. The story in the song is definitely very interesting, I love the content and the hook. It feels very twisted and haunting. 4/5

 

29. Careful What You Wish For (Produced by Eminem)

I really like the introduction for this song, the news reports really set the tone for the song. Em really sounds like Golden age shady on this song. It does kinda have an Encore sound, but the good kind. His flow and approach to the song is fantastic to me, except for the hook. His singing isn't that bad, but it's definitely the weakest aspect of the song without a doubt. 5/5

 

Final Thoughts

 

Honestly, the Refill songs didn't change the overall quality of the album in my opinion. There were some great songs to add to the list, but there were a few bad songs that dragged it back down. This is an album where I can 100% understand why some people hate it. I personally like it overall, but I wouldn't blame anyone for not liking this. I like how ridiculous and over the top it is, but it may be too much for a lot of people. Encore was over the top in a different way, and that's why I really didn't like it, but each to their own, this was a somewhat solid album overall, but it's so bad it's good on a lot of songs.

 

Overall Rating: 70/100

Favourite Tracks: Forever, Music Box. Same Song & Dance, Stay Wide Awake, Old Time's Sake, Deja Vu, Beautiful, Careful What You Wish For, My Darling

Least Favourite: Crack A Bottle

 

 

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