The Return of Slim Shady: Eminem’s new song is a blast from the past

The cover for “Houdini” by Eminem on streaming platforms shows a magician performing magic tricks.
The cover for “Houdini” by Eminem on streaming platforms shows a magician performing magic tricks.
Image courtesy of Eminem on Spotify

In 1999, Eminem released his masterpiece album, The Slim Shady Lp. This Album introduced the world-famous character, “Slim Shady,” a carefree version of Eminem who does what he wants, exudes confidence, and acts on humor and wit. A little over 25 years after the first album’s release, Eminem dropped his single “Houdini” May 30, 2024. This drop was in a music video which featured appearances from famous artists such as Dr. Dre, the Alchemist, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, and comedian Pete Davidson.

“Houdini”’s first lyrics, “Guess Who’s Back Again,” reference Eminem’s major hit from the 2000s, “Without Me”. This gives longtime Eminem listeners a sense of nostalgia as the first few verses of the song mirror some of his previous works. 

The music video for Houdini starts exactly like the video for “Without Me” (2002) does, but Eminem looks much older. In the music video, Eminem gets a call from all of his friends saying that Slim Shady is back from the year 2002 and wants to get Eminem canceled, Eminem then dresses in a superhero suit and goes on a chase to stop Slim Shady from canceling him. Near the end of the music video, Eminem and Slim Shady combine to make a monster, and Eminem starts spewing out controversial lyrics with staggering wit. 

The music video contains humorous scenes, such as when Slim Shady raps about throwing a participation trophy at a nine-year-old, and he actually does it. Eminem also performs many wacky dances, making the song nostalgic and amusing.

Eminem speaks about how different life has been for him from 2002 to the present day, and he also reflects on how he has to keep a poker face in public. Sometimes I wonder what the old me’d say (If what?) If he could see the way s*** is today,” Eminem sings.

The song features an accordion/guitar melody with kicking bass and vocals/samples from Eminem’s hit Songs “Without Me” and “The Real Slim Shady.” While the song is entertaining, the original “Slim Shady” and “Without me” are better.

“That censorship bureau’s out to (Shut me down), So when I started this verse, It did start off lighthearted at first (Hmm), But it feels like I’m targeted,” Eminem sings, showing how he feels about criticism that he sometimes gets from writing controversial songs like “Houdini”. 

“Houdini” is a nostalgic listen, but is controversial due to vulgar lyrics and raunchy beats blasting here and there. That being said, the song is enjoyable, earning four out of five feathers.

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