Hot 100 Review: Godzilla by Eminem (featuring Juice WRLD)

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Eminem’s status as a rap god is basically cemented no matter the strange and undercooked music he has made recently.

I haven’t listened to much of his new stuff since Rap God. That song was pretty fun and just an excuse for Eminem to flex his flow and style, but had no substance.

Godzilla is another exercise to show just how fast Eminem can spit his rhymes. Godzilla is also the epitome of reference rap. I miss rap like this. Not this song, but like this.

See this song makes me legitimately angry because of how it wastes its potential. The first verse and the chorus works well to set up what the theme of the song should be. Not is, but should be.

The first verse starts really strong with the first line of “I can swallow the whole bottle of alcohol and I’ll feel like Godzilla.” This sets the idea that alcohol turns the narrator into the a monster. I assume this is the destroyer Godzilla from the first movie and Shin Godzilla. It focuses on being menacing as a monster. He says that his squad come in like zombies in an apocalypse, and sends his rage by calling out AA and Ray J (does anyone know who that is?). He ends the verse with a stellar transition to the chorus. Both bridges to the chorus are really solid.

The chorus is done by the late Juice WRLD. I never listened to him, but he’s really solid here. He talks about how he becomes a monster at night time, when the moon shines. This connects his monster to be a werewolf, but also to the alcoholism with moonshine. He even somehow makes the rhyme ice road truckers and blockbusters work through his delivery. I think the fact most modern rap doesn’t use the word “blockbuster” makes it feel refreshing, and paints a good visual.

The second verse focuses the monster as the past mistakes he’s made. He says that he’s said things that made people mad, he’s angry, and feels like someone in a mental hospital trying to see the future. This happens when her drinks a fifth of vodka and transition to the chorus perfectly.

The third and final verse is the worst. He is only a monster in so far as he can rap like a monster. It is technically impressive to see just how fast he can go, but it’s all such empty, uninteresting brag rap with really bad lines. He says he can getting cheese a cakewalk, and if that isn’t worse he then says cheese cake. Like yes, that was obvious. Other flows consist of saying his lyrics never sit well, so they’ll give him the chair like a paraplegic, or saying he’ll give everyone the finger like it’s a prostate examine (great Family Guy humor), and that every Tom, Dick, and Harry carry dictionary and that they can’t spit rhymes and how that’s funny. Yeah none of that is really all that interesting or clever. Just all lame, like the bad Godzilla film.

(And exhale. Okay, so what’s next? Right…)

So, the video for Godzilla cuts between a tribute to Juice WRLD on stage playing for crowds, Eminem rapping, and a guy getting drunk and high in a hotel before shooting people and getting killed by the police. It’s trying to tie the idea of alcohol and being monstrous even more. It tries to make the song feel like it’s disparaging to those attitudes. It does not work. I’m glad I nailed what the song was trying to do, but it feels too proud of its rhymes and flow to cast what it is saying negatively. That final verse might be trying to show just Eminem’s hubris. It also is some of his fastest flow work, and self congratulating. The video works fine to listen to the song, and gives the final line meaning, but doesn’t fix the song, or solve what it’s about like Life is Good did.

In the middle of his braggadocios tirade Em says that “I’m still the man you admire.” This song (and based on the reception of his last albums, lots of people) makes me doubt if that statement is true. The Eminem I admire was more clever than this. He had ideas to make his songs thematically cohesive, even as they devolved into total nonsense they were still on theme, and more clever and interesting than “Like a liar’s pants, I’m on fire” or “These chick are spazzing out, I only got more handsome and flier.” Those are not lines from someone who is a rap god, but instead a a novice.

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