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Eminem Gets Personal on First 'Recovery' Single "Not Afraid"

April 29, 2010 10:25 AM ET

"Not Afraid," the first single off Eminem's upcoming album Recovery, was set to debut this morning on the rapper's Sirius XM hip-hop station Shade 45. However, hours before its much-anticipated premiere, "Not Afraid" hit several websites including MissInfo.tv, where you can hear a tagged version of the track now. As Rolling Stone previously reported, Slim Shady explained that he changed the name of Relapse 2 to Recovery because the music he recorded "came out very different" from its predecessor, and "Not Afraid" is proof of that claim. Gone are Relapse's serial killer ruminations, half-baked drug humor and celebrity smackdowns. Instead, Em delivers his most personal lyrics since his battle with drug addiction.

"It was my decision to get clean, I did it for me, admittedly I probably did it subliminally for you, so I can come back a brand new me, you helped see me through," Eminem raps on "Not Afraid," lyrically confronting his struggles with a seriousness that was absent on Relapse. Em even disses his most recent release, rhyming, "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 let's be honest at last, Relapse CD was 'ehh.' " Over slowly ascending synths, Eminem raps about the struggle to put his life together and his battle through recovery, but as the sing-songy chorus suggests, Eminem promises he's "not afraid" of the long dark road ahead.

Contrary to previous reports, "Not Afraid" was produced by Boi-1da, the Toronto beatmaker behind Drake's "Best I Ever Had" and "Over" who also previously worked with Eminem on the all-star LeBron James track "Forever" with Lil Wayne, Kanye West and Drake. As Rolling Stone reported, Eminem also worked with producers including DJ Khalil, Jim Jonsin and Just Blaze on Recovery, which arrives on June 22nd.

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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