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Is Eminem really in recovery?

In my last post on Eminem, I mentioned that, while I planned on eventually listening to his new album Recovery, I wouldn’t be consulting the Google first thing in the morning every day until my “review copy” arrived, as if it was pr0n.

I’ve been known to do that, with albums I’m really looking forward to (and with pr0n, natch), but I couldn’t bring myself to bother with Recovery, because I was somewhat disappointed with the first single. That “Despicable” freestyle had my palms itching, nigga, thinking this new album would be like Relapse (which, call me crazy, I enjoyed), but even better. Hence the name change. He didn’t want people to think it was just some shit left over from the sessions for the original Relapse. But then I heard “Not Afraid,” and he was talking about getting his life together, and holding hands with people. None of which, as far as I’m concerned, makes for good rap music. Aside from the fact that, natural hater that I am, I don’t like to see people get their lives together, it wasn’t clear to me that Eminem is capable of making that kind of subject matter entertaining. An album full of Eminem songs about sober living didn’t strike me as tempting in the least bit.

As it turns out, trying to find a copy of Recovery wasn’t an issue. One just kinda turned up in my DM box, on Twitter. [||] Someone must have been interested in my thoughts on the album and decided to make sure I had a copy. I’m assuming it was someone from the label. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have followed the link to Hotfile, where my review copy awaited, thus (not) possibly robbing Eminem of a potential album sale. But obviously I had no way of knowing where the link came from. (Just wanted to make that clear!) I suppose it could have just been some bootlegger. I checked last night, using Twitter’s search function, and apparently it was just rotten with Recovery download links, like Twitter might be the new best way to steal people’s albums. Links turn up there in more or less real time, unlike on blogs, where they may have already been deleted by the time you find them. The TIs might want to have someone look into this.

No longer concerned with whether I’d have to put forth any effort to get a free Eminem album (I spend a lot of time worrying about effort), I loaded Recovery up on my shitty laptop and gave it a listen to. It was already late in the evening, and, because aging fat people need their rest, I was already tired than a mofo, so I wouldn’t consider this a definitive take. I “could” be wrong. Part of it could be that I got mad bored with the album after the first few tracks. I can recall it being very obvious where the new “Not Afraid”-esque tracks ended and the Relapse leftovers began. After one or two of them, I started to cut it off and call it an evening, but I didn’t want to have to listen to the whole thing all over again today, especially since I have to bust a shift at the one job where I always get paid on time, here in a few. My ears only perked up when I heard that song Em did with Lil Wayne, and not because it seemed like an especially good idea. My initial concern was that it contains a sample of that motherfucking Haddaway song from Night at the Roxbury. I didn’t even realize it was the one with Lil Wayne, the only rap collab on the entire album, until I heard his voice. Then come to find out this shit was produced by Just Blaze. Tha fuck? Are they just fucking with us, on some Andy Kaufman shit?

Elsewhere on the album, in one of those first few songs, we learn that Em actually considered dissing both Lil Wayne and Kanye, back when he was on drugs, but he didn’t, either because he was too lazy to drag himself into the studio, or because he had what alcoholics refer to as a moment of clarity. (Never happened to me, once.) Which I of course took as further proof that (a) drug abuse, which I don’t otherwise condone, leads to good music, and (b) great minds think alike. It’s just too bad Em had that coke-induced heart attack before we got what I’m sure would have been one hell of a dis record – way more interesting than song in which he talks about how he once thought about making a dis record. Or did he? I wouldn’t be surprised if this change in outlook didn’t have anything to do with Em’s health. Recovery doesn’t sound to me like an album by an artist who realized that, like whoever Charlemagne the God is pointed out, all hate is just confused admiration, it sounds like an album by an artist who realizes that Kanye and Lil Wayne are what passes for hip-hop in 2K10, and if he wants to continue to have a career, he needs to get with the program. Do we even know for a fact that he’s off drugs? I’m just saying.

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