NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - With no advance fanfare, Eminem released a surprise album late on Thursday (Aug 30), using the opening track to address the aftermath of last year's freestyle rap aimed at US President Donald Trump and his supporters.
The new, 11-song album, Kamikaze, comes less than a year after the 45-year-old rapper's last album, Revival, which was his eighth in a row to debut at No. 1.
Eminem and Dr Dre are credited as executive producers on the album, whose cover pays tribute to the 1986 Beastie Boys album Licensed To Ill.
Within hours of the rapper announcing his latest album on Twitter, his post had been shared nearly 50,000 times.
Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Mathers, also made headlines in October 2017, when he excoriated Trump in a freestyle rap that has been viewed more than 46 million times on YouTube. It included a direct shot at his fans who were Trump supporters.
"And any fan of mine / who's a supporter of his / I'm drawing in the sand a line / you're either for or against," he rapped in the 2017 freestyle, shortly before giving the middle finger to the camera.
In The Ringer, the opening track of the new album, Eminem appeared to second-guess himself, rapping that "if I could go back, I'd at least reword it / and say I empathise with the people this evil serpent sold the dream to that he's deserted."
"That line in the sand, was it even worth it? / 'Cause the way I see people turning / is making it seem worthless / It's starting to defeat the purpose / I'm watching my fan base shrink to thirds / And I was just trying to do the right thing, but word," he raps.
He also said, referring to the president, that "Agent Orange just sent the Secret Service / to meet in person to see if I really think of hurting him / or ask if I'm linked to terrorists / I said, 'Only when it comes to ink and lyricists.'"
It had not been previously reported that the Secret Service had visited the rapper, and the claim - assuming it was meant seriously - could not immediately be verified.
The Secret Service could not be reached for comment on Friday morning.
In 2003, the Secret Service took notice of a lyric from an unfinished Eminem song that said "I'd rather see the president dead," but opted not to investigate him.