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Eminem drops second surprise album of the year

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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Eminem started the year with a surpirise.

And he's finishing with another.

The Detroit rapper dropped his second album, of the year, "Music to Be Murdered By -- Side B (Deluxe Edition)," his 11th studio album, at midnight on Friday, Dec. 18. The set is actually a deluxe edition of "Music to Be Murdered By," which Eminem released without previous notice on Jan. 17; It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and has been certified gold.

"Side B" adds 20 more tracks, including several verbal "skits" referencing Alfred Hitchcock, whose 1958 spoken word album "Music to be Murdered By" inspired Eminem's title and cover art, as well as a take on the title theme from the "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" TV show. Guests on the new material include Dr. Dre, Ty Dolla $ign, Skylar Grey and DJ Premier, among others.

"Side B's" release had been rumored earlier in the week, when a supposed press release for the album leaked over the Internet.

Eminem also released a video for the new track "GNAT," a hospital-themed clip in which he portrays several characters and declares that, "These bars are like COVID/You get 'em right off the bat."

In one of the "Alfred" skits Eminem makes reference to fellow Grammy Award-winner Billie Eilish's interview comment about being "terrified" by him, while in "Zeus" he offers an apology to Rihanna for supporting Chris Brown in an leaked, unreleased track after Brown was accused of abusing her in 2009.

"Side B" comes at the end of a busy year for Eminem (real name Marshall Mathers III), which also included guest appearances on albums by his Bad Meets Evil partner Royce da 5'9", Big Sean and Jessie Reyez. He also lent his Academy and Grammy Award-winning 2002 hit "Lose Yourself" to the Joe Biden presidential campaign for a promotional video released during the week before the Nov. 3 election.

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