Producer: Boi-1da
Album: Recovery
Label: Shady/Aftermath/Interscope
Marshall Mathers suffered a serious drug overdose in December of '07. That he was able to get through rehab and put the pieces back together is a reason to rejoice, and that's what Eminem does on "Not Afraid," the triumphant lead single from Recovery that quickly became a sporting-event anthem. Full of wordplay ("Okay, quit playin' with the scissors and shit and cut the crap") and no-bullshit opinions (he admits that Relapse was so-so, that "perhaps I ran them accents into the ground"), the stirring 12-step singalong with a gospel feel to it speaks loudest to fellow addicts trying to get their life back together. He admits that sobriety won't be easy ("This fucking black cloud still follows me around") and, in a classy move, thanks the fans: "It was my decision to get clean, I did it for me/Admittedly, I probably did it subliminally for you/So I could come back a brand-new me, you helped see me through." For someone who has lived his adult life like an open book, this was the next chapter many wanted to see.