Eminiem is back, and he is going Berzerk. The explosive new single is set to lead his upcoming album, Marshall Mathers LP II. The album’s title is a direct reminder of the early 2000’s material that launched him into rap superstar status, with both his immature antics, and dark lyrics. Berzerk isn’t just a throwback to his crazy side, but also to a pre-Eminem rap game. This song’s production borrows heavily from 80’s rappers, most noticeably the Beastie Boys, and lyrically targets new school “swag” rappers.
The production is simply overwhelming, and packs a powerful punch. Its definitely an energetic crowd mover, full of pounding drums, wailing guitars, a thumping bass, a flurry of record scratching, and even samples from Billy Squier’s “The Stroke.” Its actually pretty refreshing to hear a hip-hop song making use of live instrumentals…let alone rock instrumentals! However, Em’s influences are all too obvious. Berzerk’s style is so similar to that of the Beastie Boys that it almost comes off as a direct attempt at copying than and actual homage.
Is it a case of jacking someone else’s style? Maybe…but maybe not if the lyrics are to be trusted. Eminem begins by saying we need to “take it back to strait hip-hop and start from scratch,” perhaps as a tip of the hat to his influences. The rest of his lyrics are playful and cocky, full of pop culture and nostalgic references. Its a direct call out to today’s rappers who have forgotten their roots, inviting them to step up their game rather than start another needless feud. While they may not be Em’s most profound lyrics, they definitely leave their mark.
In the end, Berzerk is a powerful track that blares with Eminem’s undeniable bombast and huge personality. Even if it is a sound that we’ve heard before, its one that deserves to be heard again, so I’m not complaining. While it clearly isn’t Eminem’s best, its definitely one of his most catchy and accessible tracks to date.
Final Score: 3/5