Between last fall’s “Campaign Speech,” October’s vicious “Storm” freestyle and the anti-racist “Untouchable,” Eminem has been turning the full fury of his insult lyrics on Donald Trump for more than a year. And anyone listening for it didn’t have to wait long before another one arrived on the rapper’s new album, “Revival,” which dropped at midnight.
“Like Home,” featuring Alicia Keys, is a strange mixture of verbal takedown and patriotic anthem, with Keys soaring on a chorus that’s clearly evocative of her hook on Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind,” while, between his furious takedowns of the president, Eminem exhorts “stand up!” and concludes with “Hands in the air, let’s hear it for/ The start of a brand new America.”
Choice lines include:
“Someone get this Aryan a sheet
Time to bury him, so tell him to prepare to get impeached
Everybody on your feet
This is where terrorism and heroism meets, square up in the streets
This chump barely even sleeps
All he does is watch Fox News like a parrot and repeats
While he looks like a canary with a beak
Why you think banned transgenders from the military with a tweet?
He’s tryin’ to divide us
This shit’s like a cult, but like Johnny, he’ll only unite us.”
(That last line is a deep football reference: Johnny Unitas was an MVP quarterback for the Baltimore Colts in the 1950s and ’60s.) The uplift takes precedence in Em’s final verse as he checks off references to Kaepernick, Charlottesville, and even the time back in 2004 when Trump gave a mock-endorsement speech during the “Shady Convention” when the rapper launched his satellite radio channel.
“But you ain’t ruining our country, punk
You won’t take our pride from us, you won’t define us
‘Cause like a dictionary, things are looking up
So much, got a sprained neck, know we would rise up
Against this train wreck and take a stand
Even if it mean sittin’ when they raise the flag
This ain’t the Star Spangled Banner
This man just praised a statue of General Lee
‘Cause he generally hates the black people, degrades hispanics
Take it back to the Shady national convention
Wish I woulda spit on it before I went to shake his hand at the event or maybe had the wherewithal
To know that he was gonna try to tear apart a sacred land
We cherish and stand for, so
Hands in the air, let’s hear it for
The start of a brand new America
Without him, and be proud of where we’re from
And here’s to where we’re from.”
Positivity can have a strange effect when coming from such a deeply cynical character as Eminem, but there’s no ambivalence here.