In 2010, Eminem released his triumphal album Recovery, which signified a return to his lyrical prowess along with a new sense of resiliency. The rapper that was looked at more of an agitator used his own story overcoming addiction and injected that into his rhymes which found themselves in his rhyme scheme DNA for projects to come. In a way, the Southpaw soundtrack was tailor made for Eminem to be involved in. If you look at the overall story of the movie, it depicts a boxer’s redemption story much in the way that Marshall Mathers had to conquer his own peaks and valleys. If older fans have not realized yet, “Kings Never Die” is an affirmation that this Eminem is here to stay.
When I listened to the track, I almost envisioned a training montage. Blood, sweat, hoodie over head, and full on training to get back on top. The musical composition of the track of classic guitar loops, hard and clapping drums, draped in violin notes in the background are all trademark elements of an Eminem production. At this point, we have heard collaborations with P!nk, Rihanna, and Skylar Grey at this point. Gwen Stefani, who starts off the track in a dichotomy of singing style versus the content. It’s almost like she meant to sing it in a vulnerable state, but the chorus is powerful (“Here to stay/even when I’m gone/when I close my eyes/through the passage of time”). Eminem rides the beat this time a little better than the previously released song, “Phenomenal”. One would usually listen to an Eminem track for the immaculate punchlines, but this time around, “Kings Never Die” features more of a direct approach. It’s not that the raps are like fire or there is a propensity to be intelligent, but the determination is the main feature here.
Within the second and third verse, there’s a layered singing part that shows Eminem’s double-minded nature. Here’s the thing – this is probably because the bar is set so high that when you listen to an Eminem song, you expect an amazing and perplexing experience. Constantly rewinding the song to hear a punchline that you missed or how he got word to rhyme a certain way. “Kings Never Die” is a straightforward tale of resilience whether referring to himself or the main character in Southpaw. It took me a while to adapt that these were going to be more of the songs that we were going to get from the legendary, bleach blonded haired rapper amidst being into his 40’s. It’s not that there was something lost, it’s just a new normal.
Rap | Interscope