Well…he’s back. Eminem released his long awaited album, “Recovery”, back on June 18th and it’s safe to say that it is one of his best albums to date. Em shows his maturity throughout the album and continues on his quest to be the most original rapper in history, yes history. He eludes confidence on this album as opposed to arrogance, which is what the music industry is full of nowadays (read: Nickelback).
On his past few albums Eminem has really struggled with harboring his anger and employing it in a good way within his music, yet on this album he goes as far to address his life problems and apologize to the fans for letting it get the best of him. Hints of uncontained anger can be heard, but much of this is his anger that he has problems containing it. This differs because in the past, Eminem lashed out at anything he could find, to make himself feel better, he has now accepted this is his problem, and no one else’s. Shady’s bipolar tendencies show through in this album as well. For much of the album he spends time talking about how strong he has become in overcoming his problems, he then takes a U-turn on certain songs and goes back into his corner and rips off some very depressing rhymes. Still, at other points he is willing to talk about how all of his problems still affect him. His emotions still control him on this album, and to be honest, Eminem wouldn’t be Eminem without those emotions shining through.
The production of this album is also fantastic. With the help of legend Dr. Dre, Eminem enlisted a stable of popular artists such as Pink, Lil Wayne, Ozzy Osbourne and Rihanna to produce the singles of the album. No Love features Lil Wayne and samples the song “What Is Love” by Haddaway, which was a popular dance track during the 1990s and made famous by the Saturday Night Live’s ‘Night at the Roxbury’ skit. No Love appears to be the obligatory angry ode to his ex-wife and the song that shows his newfound confidence in himself. He attacks those that have been at the top of hip-hop charts since his last studio release, namely Kanye West.
Shady’s bipolar side is on exhibit in Love the Way You Lie. The song features a beautiful harmony by Rihanna, but a confused rhyme by Eminem. Musically the track is flawless. A very soothing piano opens the song while a very strong beat plays behind Eminem. When Rihanna takes over, a symphony like melody takes over as the predominant sound. While No Love was a confident track, Love the Way You Lie is relatable to the feeling after a break up where you begin to question the decisions made when the split was actually made. At first, one appears very confident that it was necessary (see No Love), but most begin backtracking when loneliness sets in.
One of the most interesting tracks on the album is Cinderella Man. With a beat resembling the march of a military company and a clap in unison, the song is a song for the fans as much as it is for Eminem. He manages to thank the fans and even diss himself (gasp!) by saying his last album sits in his trash. This seems to be the song that is really beginning to define Eminem’s new perception of himself.
All in all, the album is a must listen for those who have always enjoyed Eminem’s music as well as those who are fans of hip-hop. The artist is one of the most prolific rappers in the history of the genre. His rhymes are always original and sprinkled with a plethora of popular culture, as well as emotion. Shady finally seems grateful for the opportunities that he has had. Fans stuck around and pulled for his well-being during a very public personal life full of problems, mostly brought forth by Eminem himself. What makes him and this album stand out so much is the ability for the audience to relate with both entities. Eminem has always been somewhat proud of his “white trashiness” and has never glorified it, but presented his life as somewhat of a burden because of it. Many rappers today have been glorified by being from the ghetto and given the public a false picture of a very ugly part of American society. Eminem seems back and full of confidence and has moved past his prior feelings of obligation to mocking everyone in Hollywood just to get noticed. This has allowed him to go back to his roots of just throwing down amazing tracks full of raw emotion. Do yourself a favor and give “Recovery” a listen and hear a reinvented artist that we will be hearing from for a long time. Recovery is a gift to the hip-hop community which has been in a severe rut since the dawn of Crunk rap, and it appears true rap could be back on the rise.