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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

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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