Relapse is [url id="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/eminem/artist.jhtml"]Eminem[/url]'s grand return to hip-hop after keeping quiet for almost five years. Em has publicly discussed his struggle with sobriety and his feelings about the death of his best friend Proof, who was fatally shot in 2006, but the Detroit MC goes even deeper into those emotions in the lyrics on the new LP.
In the album's liner notes, Eminem dedicates Relapse to his late friend. He's said recently that he couldn't put together a song in tribute to Proof that he was satisfied with. Instead, he honored Proof by dedicating the entire album to him and drops tidbits here and there about his fellow D12 member.
"With this record, and you can hear it, maybe he sort of references Proof in ways people who really know and people who really care will pick up on," said Sacha Jenkins, who collaborated with Em on the rapper's biography, "The Way I Am." "But he's also trying to pick up the pieces and move beyond and continue to create art in the spirit of his friendship with Proof."
Here, MTV News pulls out a few lyrics from Relapse in which Em sets the record straight or paints a clearer picture of his struggle.
In December 2007, Eminem was reportedly hospitalized for pneumonia. On "Déjà Vu," one of the standout tracks on Relapse, Em clears the air about his supposed illness. He was sick, but it was due to his immune system being weakened by drugs. "That Christmas, you know that whole pneumonia thing," he raps. "It was bologna, was it the methadone, ya think?" On the same track, Em mentions Proof by name for the only time on the project. In the song's third verse, Em says his mourning helped him spiral out of control. "Wouldn't even be taking this sh-- if DeShaun didn't die/ Oh, yeah, there's an excuse — you lose Proof so you use."
"Stay Wide Awake"/ "Same Song & Dance"
Em has always had a dark and twisted humor, but a few tracks on Relapse are especially morbid. According to XXL Editor in Chief Datwon Thomas, Em watched a number of crime shows during his hiatus. His interest in the macabre is more than evident. "So dark and so cold my friends don't know this other side of me," he raps over Dre's sinister production on "Stay Wide Awake." "There's a monster inside of me, it's quite ugly and it frightens me."
This Eminem-produced track is the album's magnum opus, clocking in at more than six minutes. On the somber tune, Em reveals not only his battle with addiction, but his struggle over whether his run in rap was finished. He's long dodged retirement rumors, but here he raps: "I'm starting to feel distant again, so I decided to pick up this pen/ And try to make an attempt to vent, but I can't admit/ Or come to grips with the fact that I may be done with rap/ I need a new outlet."
"Insane"/ "My Mom"
We've heard these types of tracks before from Em. Slim Shady is crazy! His mother is crazy! But these songs are also the first response the rapper has had publicly since his mother, Debbie Nelson, released her own book, "My Son Marshall, My Son Eminem: Setting the Record Straight on My Life as Eminem's Mother." In her tome, Nelson portrays herself as a loving matriarchal figure and Em as a child who was bullied by the men in her life, leading to his fears and paranoia. On "My Mom," Em, however, claims he's a drug addict because his mother is one. And on "Insane," he raps about being abused by his stepfather.
Before Slim Shady was a celebrity-bashing superstar on singles like "Without Me," Eminem's alter ego was an outlandish lyricist whose shocking lines were so brilliant they elicited more laughs than backlash. On the final track from Relapse, Em returns to his "Just Don't Give a F---" days as he wrecks the mic, bar after bar. "Six semen samples, 17 strands of hair/ Found in the back of a van after the shoot with Vanity Fair," he raps. "Hannah Montana prepare/ To elope with a can opener or be cut open like cantaloupe on canopy beds/ And Glad bags, yeah, glad to be back."