Eminem is 'Not Afraid': First 'Recovery' single hits the Web

EminemImage Credit: Nigel Parry“Let’s be honest, that last Relapse CD was ehhh.” Some cranky blogger taking Eminem down a notch? Nope — that’s Marshall Mathers himself on “Not Afraid,” the just-leaked lead single from his upcoming Recovery. “Relax,” he adds a couple of lines later. “I ain’t going back to that now.”

Sure enough, “Not Afraid” couldn’t be more different from the tracks Em used to introduce Relapse around this time last year. It’s not a zany pop-detritus goof like “We Made You,” nor a harrowing psychotic episode like “3 A.M.” Instead “Not Afraid” is inspirational in tone, a proclamation of self-worth that aspires to anthem status — something like 2002’s “Sing for the Moment” or Relapse standout “Beautiful.”

Lyrically, Em is as on point as he’s been since returning from self-imposed exile. Wild flows and internal rhymes abound. I’m less impressed with the beat, reportedly the handiwork of frequent Drake collaborator Boi-1da. The track behind “Not Afraid” has the same tinny, repetitive, wannabe-epic quality that’s annoyed me on Boi-1da productions like “Forever.” Then again, “Forever” became a breakout hit for Drake, so I’m sure plenty of listeners will disagree with me.

Have you heard “Not Afraid” yet? How do you like it? On a scale of one to 10, how much are you looking forward to Recovery‘s June 22 release?

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Comments (53 total) Add your comment
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  • napoleon

    first i hope!!!

    • Anthony


  • anuj shelat

    great song

    • Friggin Tommy Noble

      Em definitely needed a better production team on this track, but still, the lyrics are damn good.

  • joe

    Best song he has had in a long time.
    And to the fans, I’ll never let you down again, I’m back
    I promise to never go back on that promise, in fact
    Lets be honest, that last Relapse CD was ehhhh
    Perhaps I ran them accents into the ground
    Relax, I aint going back to that now

    Love to hear him call hinself out

  • Michael

    Yeah, this song is great. Best ever? No, but DEFINITELY many steps up from the songs on Relapse. Very cool how he says that, even. Looking forward to hearing the whole album!

  • Alex Lashley

    the beat fits the song and the lyrics are killer and the bridge was awsum so glad eminem matured and went a differnt way with the first single and RECOVERY will win best rap album and Not Afraid will win best Rap song and recovery will go platinium first week

  • couchgrouch

    I saw no interesting lines at all…just the usual rap profanity and “music” made by machines. no musical value whatsoever.

    • Vince from NYC

      Have you ever tried to produce a beat? You think just because a MPC was used it isn’t difficult and takes no musical talent? Do you know the ear you must have in order to put all the sounds together? Do you know how hard it is to create the instrument smples on top of the drum loop? Do you know what a high hat or a snare sounds like from memory? Music has eveolved more into just strumming a guitar. Modern day produces are basically digital composers..Their knowledge of different instruments is vast. The good ones at least..

      • Chuck D

        Vince, I couldn’t have said it any better. Beat-making and production is an art and requires a lot of knowledge to do it well.

      • couchgrouch

        I’m a published songwriter and poet and I know that guy can’t write. his “lyrics” are garbage. as for mechanical “music” vs music made with actual instruments, there’s no comparison. “strumming a guitar”? have YOU ever heard Blind Blake, Freddie King, Chet Atkins or Jimi Hendrix? dude, I’d rather eat a sandwich someone prepared for me than one shat out of a vending machine. many of today’s “composers” are digital, that’s why modern music is awful…because of imbeciles like Eminem yelling nonsense over machines.

    • Micah

      Hey, ‘machine music’ is pumping out the quickest, easiest AND most innovative music today. Plus em is way on point. So go to hell.

      • couchgrouch

        you’re partly right…it’s quick and easy. that’s why they crank out this crap. it takes no talent and people buy it. there’s not an innovative idea in the entire “song”. fools have been rapping over computers for nearly 30 years. you’ve been snookered.

      • joe

        also to couchgrouch, “fools have been rapping over computers for nearly 30 years”? FALSE. back in the days of grandmaster flash, run-dmc and the like, computers were NOT used. sampling machines weren’t used either. it was just good old-fashioned beat-matching on a turntable. try thinking before you speak, it helps you look like less of a pretentious douchebag.

    • t dizz

      ur a dumb dousche and should be shot

    • joe

      couchgrouch, you’re an idiot. you’re not a published songwriter and there wasn’t any “usual rap profanity” in this song. i agree that the song “not afraid” is absolutely horrible, especially by eminem standards, however you proved how ignorant you are and how you didn’t even listen to the track by pigeonholing it as you did. it takes skill to make a beat, even if it’s done on a computer. idiot.

  • stuffwehate

    I love this song. Em is back to his best. The verses are crazy and the beat is INSANE.

    Welcome back, Em.

  • John Doe

    the track was bangin its jus the instrumental I agree same thing as always boi 1 da need to switch it up

  • Pete Rock

    Whack…Eminem’s expiration date was close to 10 years ago, folks! Money was cute when he first came out. Okay, a white dude who can spit a little, but his rhymes are obsolete now and the homogenized sound of pop music is for the birds!

    • Vince from NYC

      Eminem is stil lyrically better then 99% of rappers out now.. He killed Wayne on his own track as he did to Jay 10 years ago.. He killed Wayne again along with drake and Kanye..The complexity of his rhyme scemes are unrivaled.

      • sedo

        Holly truth Vince!

      • DJSO

        Have to agree with Vince. Pete Rock probably likes Wayne or Drake, who combined don’t have the talent Eminem does. Besides Jay-Z and Nas, Eminem is the only other who can be classified as best rapper of all time!

  • Mike

    Wonderful song. Eminem is the best to ever do it in rap. The anticipation for Recovery from this long time hip-hop fan is at a 10.

  • Vince from NYC

    June 22nd you say? Just marked it down.. I finally have something to look forward to!

    • teresita

      hey vince me and you should get to know each other wat do u say

      • victor antonio moreno


  • sandra

    Didn’t like it. Eminem once said if he was still rapping when he turned 40 he hoped someone would pull him off the stage. Thank God he’s getting close to that age.

    • Anna

      yes because he is comin out with a new cd this year caleld king mathers and i am guessing he will be on tour sometime in 2009. he usually travels the world when on tour because he is one of the top artist worldwide

  • sedo

    Em stated earlier that this song will be different, but who would have expected something like this???

    I´m impressed…in a scale from 1 to 10…im giving 9,5 (hope that the best song on the album will come later :-)

  • PlayNice

    Anyone who didn’t like Relapse doesn’t really understand Eminem’s music.

    This song is to please non-hardcore fans and it isn’t great. But I’ll follow Eminem on his musical journey no matter what. He’s the greatest rapper alive.

    • Samuel

      agree with you completely. musically and rhythmically some of his flows on relapse were really complex and well put together. i think relapse was a necessary album. i think the rest of the album will be even better than “not afraid”. think of encore (not his best), just lose it was the first track and (in my opinion) definitely not the best on the album.

  • Aaron

    think of every eminem album… the singles always are the weakest tracks. and i like “im not afraid”

    • Ryu

      Not necessarily. Stan was a single, as was Sing for the Moment and a lot of his great work. The first singles are usually the weakest track, i.e. We Made You, Just Lose It. He’s rarely released (if ever) a first single that really blows people away. But if this is the weakest the album has to offer, I cannot wait until June 22.

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