So as I sit here and listen once again to Em’s “Recovery” I can’t help but think about the importance of growth in music. The music must grow and evolve, which is directly related to the growth of the artist. Some of this growth is beneficial and some detrimental. I mean, take Lil’ Wayne for example (I know, it kills me too) but how many people out there remember much of what he did before “The Carter”…that is positive growth. TI is another example of growth of the music and person. Now take Kanye, I love dude’s music, but he almost regressed as a person. From the “George Bush hates black people” to, what is commonly referred to as, “The Taylor Swift incident” Kanye lost his sense of person somewhere in that ego.
Eminem was on that upward growth curve with “The Slim Shady LP”, “The Marshall Mathers LP”, and “The Eminem Show”. Though the last two albums , “Encore” and last years “Relapse”, garnered moderate success I couldn’t help but feel like something was missing. In “Recovery” I feel like Em has come full circle, 360, back to the beginning. The fire is back…Slim Shady is back.
There are two things that I think prompted this fall and subsequent “revival”, of sorts. The death of his best friend Proof in April of 2006 had an obvious effect on Em personally and musically. Em reveals this in a couple tracks on “Recovery”, the most obvious being on the Proof dedication track You’re Never Over. On this Just Blaze produced track (with a dope sample from this) Em revisits the profound effect that Proof had on his own life. This is evident the chorus where Em croons “you may be gone but you’re never over”. RIP big Proof.
I believe another area where Marshall went wrong, other than poppin pills and various other drugs, was relying too much on his own production and that of Dr. Dre. Now don’t get me wrong, Dre is still in the top echelon of the production biz, and in the beginning Em wasn’t bad either, but I felt that Em pigeon-holed himself into the same old beats on his last couple albums. I was surprised when perusing the production credits for “Recovery” to find that Dre only had one song! When So Bad works it’s way down your ear canal and thumps across your ear drums you can’t help but recognize it as a Dre beat. Funny thing is, in my opinion, it’s not even the best track on the album. Em really opened up the lines of production for “Recovery” with tracks from the likes of the aforementioned Just Blaze (3) as well as Jim Jonsin (1), Boi-1da (2), DJ Khalil (4), Havoc (1), and others…there is no shortage of mind numbing bangers that will have you nodding your head.
“Recovery” is missing 2 things…Paul Rosenberg skits and all those annoying voices/accents that Em toyed with on “Relapse”. Good riddance. For those of you that LOVE his singing voice, don’t worry, Marshall continue so do his own hooks on most songs. I will never figure this out. You are Eminem, for the love of God, get someone to sing your hooks! On a more positive note, Em got back to the angry, slightly misogynistic, and brutally honest lyrics that we came to expect from “Slim Shady”. Also included are the jabs at, alleged, past lovers and haters. I can’t be totally positive but I think shots were fired in Nick Cannon’s direction on Cold Wind Blows where Em spits “take a look at Mariah the next time I inspire you to write a song”. C’mon son, you think you can even compete with Em…you really “wildin out”. My favorite song you ask? Right now, I gonna have to go with the DJ Khalil produced Almost Famous. “I stuck my dick in this game like a rapist, they call me Slim Rothlisberger. I go berzerker than a fed up Post Office worker…” spits Em to open the track. The delivery, the anger, the beat…it’s classic Slim Shady.
Mr. Mathers has already released a video for the lead single from “Recovery” titled Not Afraid produced by Boi-1da. Video borrowed from MTV so please excuse the damn commercial.
So far probably the safest track from the album to release in video form, but trust me this will just give you a small tasted of what you can expect from a rejuvenated, rehabbed, and recovered Slim Shady. The album drops June 22nd. Definitely go and cop this one cause I’m “feelin it”!