Eminem's "Not Afraid" has been the talk of blogs, message boards and social-media networks on Thursday (April 29), as the rapper detoured from his normal route of celebrity-bashing numbers and instead delivered an honest take on his life and career, even calling last year's Relapse "ehh."
Fans have mostly been supportive, with many noting his departure from zanier fare.
"Very different than his usual 1st singles, but I like it," kevi-B wrote on MTV.com.
The Detroit rapper's last album, Relapse, was among 2009's highest sellers, but fans complained that it didn't show off the MC's skills. The album was Eminem's first in five years, after suffering from drug dependency and the loss of his close friend, D12 rapper Proof. In interviews, Em noted that the album helped him work his way through writer's block, and he returned to his Slim Shady persona for aid.
Rbrt_vndrvn wrote on MTVNews.com that the criticism seems to have motivated Eminem on "Not Afraid." "Well, it's official: Eminem has to work with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove to bring out his potential," he said. "From now on, I declare Eminem the underdog, and we will always get great music!"
Since Relapse, Eminem stayed visible by contributing to Drake's "Forever," Lil Wayne's "Drop the World" and B.o.B's "Airplanes (Part II)" in preparation for his upcoming Recovery, due in June.
That output left fans excited, and Twitter member Tony Markovich gave Em two virtual thumbs up. "THAT is the Eminem I like hearing," he tweeted. "Forever, Drop the World, Airplanes, Despicable, and now this!? I'd say he's back."
Some Slim Shady fans weren't happy with Eminem dismissing Relapse, which actually took home some awards-show hardware. "Great leadoff song," Tom wrote on MTV.com "Really goes well with the album title. ... I'm surprised he called Relapse 'ehh.' Relapse wasn't as bad as people make it out to be. The only downside to it was it was a bit repetitive, but he spit fire on every track. Em's 'ehh' album still wins a Grammy for Best Rap Album."
Are you excited to hear Eminem's new music? Let us know in the comments!