When I wrote a top10 MC’s in Hip-Hop history list a few years back (2007 to be exact) Eminem was an MC I placed on that list because of his gift of sincerity to speak unapologetically about his flaws and shortcomings openly and honestly. (2 Pac had that great gift as well, which is why I think so many connected with him so passionately) And this latest offering from Slim Shady is no different on “Recovery”!
Setting things off is “Cold Wind Blows” where Em gives a lyrical assault to all who doubted that his skills were no longer up to par since his last outing (Relapse). Produced by the streets hit man Just Blaze, Cold Wind shows Em in a fiery attack mode, with a hunger usually found on an MC’s debut album when they have nothing to lose and something to prove. And maybe that was the whole recurring theme throughout the album, that Eminem wanted or needed to prove to fans and to himself that he still had it! And have it he does as there are plenty of lyrical beatdowns to go around throughout the album. “On Fire”, “Won’t Back Down” ft. Pink (surprise, surprise), & “Cinderella Man” are all great examples of Slim Shady in top form as his wit, word play and take no prisoners style of rhyming spares no one from being talked about or made fun of. From Elton John, to Michael J. Fox, like a Seth McFarlane cartoon (Family Guy, American Dad), everyone good, bad, handicapped, etc. are all fair game to talk about.
But the nicest surprise about Recovery lies in the continual growth Em shows as an artist with his songs content & concepts. The album’s lead off single “Not Afraid” has a grand theatrical feel to it, as if being a theme song for all who are looking to persevere through the hardships of life! Definitely a new and different stance for Mr. Mathers to offer himself as a vessel of strength and hope for those in need! Then there are the self therapeutic verses of records like “Talkin 2 Myself” ft. KOBE (no not Bryant, unless he’s learned how to sing lol) & “Going Through Changes” where Em addresses everything from the loss of his best friend and D-12 member Proof, to his well documented battle with drug addiction, that almost took him under (professionally & physically). As stated in the intro of this review, it’s his brutal honesty and willing to be vulnerable in front of the world, that is Em’s greatest asset as an artist.
Other highlights include the also Just Blaze produced “No Love” ft. Lil Wayne, where the two pick up where their verses on “Forever” (with Kanye & Drake) left off, spitting their hottest 16’s to see who can send listeners rewind buttons to the repair shops first trying to keep count of who had the nicest similes (I think it’s safe to say Em won that, again lol)! And it’s always a treat when Eminem’s boss and best musical collaborator Dr. Dre reps with a hot beat to spit on like on “So Bad”. But the hidden bonus track at the end of the album “Untitled” is a true jewel produced by Havoc, that is a lyric enthusiasts wet dream, as Em lets loose with a crazed pace and off beat on beat frantic flow with killer lyrics that seems like a musical hybrid between his flow on “Forever” mixed with his lyrical content off of “My Dad’s Gone Crazy” (off The Eminem Show album). In other words, it’s hot classic ish lol!
The only downside to Recovery was that they weren’t more standout tracks from producers like Dre, Havoc or Just Blaze on here! Tracks like “Space Bound”, “Love the way you lie” ft. Rihanna & “25 to Life” are not bad musically but seem a little similar to each other and fall a little flat compared to some of the other musical content throughout the album. And “W.T.P.” although amusing and fun seems a little out of place content wise for an album filled with tracks about persevering through life struggling changes, and battle tested assault rhymes, but hey has Em ever been about doing anything conventional?
So if your amongst the easily offended then I doubt you’re a fan of Eminem and probably wouldn’t be reading this review anyway. But for those of you who enjoy a little naughty humorous banter mixed with exceptional lyrical skill and hypnotic flows at a neck snapping frantic pace, that switches from calm sing-song to hyper speed at the drop of a hat, then this is album is satisfaction guaranteed for you! So on a scale of 1-5 5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest, I give “Recovery 4 stars ****. Till next time be safe and stay blessed.