Album Review: Eminem: “Recovery”

I’m on top of my game and it don’t stop
Til my hip don’t hop anymore…

Eminem is the greatest rapper alive. There I said it.

For those of you still reading and agree with my boldness, or those just curious to see where I’m going with this, thank you. If Eminem’s latest album Recovery is any indication, his intensity lasted way beyond the hype, the controversy, the depression, and well beyond the high.

Eminem took a long break, despite the disappointing (according to Em standards) Encore. But he left bars shattered, notably on Drake’s “Forever,” that kept everyone wondering when the new Em would drop. “The Closer” delivered the most memorable verses of last year, and in Lil Wayne’s “No Ceilings” fashion, snatched beats from their original owners and left them completely untouchable. In such high demand, the release date for Recovery was pushed up earlier, a smart move since the album leaked to the thirsty music blogs a week ago.

Recovery finds a clear headed and self-reflecting Eminem, humor intact and flexing new found freedom and inner strength. He leaves no topic unturned, and even offers fans an apology for his time lost, and even admits that we almost lost him forever.

The album is an adrenaline rush from the start, as “Cold Wind Blows” introduces Eminem to the stage. On “Talkin’ 2 Myself” he thanks fans for sticking with him, and opens up about the loss of good friend Proof. He even rhymes about his plans to go at Lil Wayne and Kanye West because he was jealous of their attention. His brutal honesty makes the baby hairs stand up, and adds a soulfulness to each bar.

The album highlight by far is the Lil Wayne assisted “No Love.” This year’s version of the classic Em and Jay track, “Renegade,” boasts so many notable lines. The track feels like a relay race, as they tag team rhyme over the “What Is Love” sample.

The rock anthem “Won’t Back Down,” with fellow rebel child Pink, knocks so hard that he turns the track down midsong. The first time I heard the track, I literally checked the volume on my phone, before he turned the song back up, like when the Sopranos finale made everyone think their cable went out.

In Paul McCartney style, Eminem joined Jay-Z for a rooftop performance on the David Letterman show. In another Beatles-esque move, the two are set to perform at Yankee Stadium in September.

Recovery finds Eminem with the same hunger and intensity from when we met him a little over a decade ago. He has become an international hip hop legend, with battle scars from childhood and sobering tragedy. He’s infuriated and inspired, and has come out a better human being.

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