The Shady Side Of Recovery Road Pt 2

Part 1 can be found here to those who want to catch up first…

Five years went by after graduating from college. Already after my Freshman year four years earlier, without even realizing it, I was isolating myself, realizing I made a huge mistake wanting this social life with people who appeared on a conventional level…”cooler than me”. I wanted to “fit in” instead of being myself. Having a girlfriend was something I felt kept me from being perceived as a “virgin” or “gay” or whatever so-called backwards minded insult dudes only over a decade ago used for the “nerds”. And this was college, not high school or earlier. But ain’t shit changed.

But this post isn’t really about bullying. As you know, it’s about my connection to Eminem’s output (or lack of output) during his career hiatus in the mid to late 2000s. Getting back to the leaked songs,

After the five years of myself becoming more isolated, depressed, fatter and more dependent than ever on Weight-Loss over-the-counter pills with terrible side-effects,

After several failed retail jobs and job coaches who I now know went about helping people like me all wrong and just set us up for failure,

After my girlfriend showed nothing but resentment for me trying my best but not good enough for us to live together to make HER life better,

the two of us FINALLY broke up. I’ve told this story on this blog many times. It was fall 2016 and we went our separate ways. What followed was not grief from me, but freedom. But this kind of freedom was not as positive as one might think, As I was already isolated, I turned the whole world around me off. I stopped caring. I felt like this was what I wanted this whole time since college. To be alone. To do nothing. To shut the world out because it was clearly going to hell and everyone I was “friends” with liked it that way apparently (Trump was elected not so long after as we know).

One day, sometime in the Spring of 2017, I was putting together another mixtape for myself (these tapes would find their way onto my popular Mixcloud account a little over a year later but I digress) which I decided would be dedicated to songs Eminem made while on his hiatus from 2006 to 2008. But before I was to do that, I wanted to listen to all of the leaked tracks from that era first that I haven’t heard yet. So while I was getting on the bus to make a random trip into Boston because I could, I took my phone out, put on my earbuds and found this fairly recent upload from an Eminem fan who made a “King Mathers” fan-made album (which in an alternate universe would have been Marshall’s album in 2007 or 2008, consisting of the tracks that leaked a few years later all of us Stans now have heard) on YouTube and I began listening to song after song from a depressed, monotone-voiced, slurred-voice, hazy rapper in his mid 30s going through pain, isolation and mourning for his best friend who was murdered a year earlier. This made me start looking back at the ten years back this would have been recorded. I just graduated from high school and was starting college. What I heard made me look at that era for what it was, negative. Without realizing it. But as far as what connected to me with these leaked songs, all I could picture was a guy sitting alone in his basement studio, relieved he isn’t touring anymore so he can have time to himself, his daughters and his music but can’t come to the terms that he needs serious help. So he records songs attacking anyone and anything that is happening in the outside world he isn’t a part of. Whether it’s the popular rappers of that time (Lil Wayne and Kanye West specifically), stories coming out about his health spiraling from his ex-wife and mother, the stale state of hip hop at that time, and how he wishes he never became famous and popular in the first place as it came with a big price. This was how I felt about college. This was how I felt about my ex. This was how I felt about every friendship I ever had throughout the years that ended up turning ugly. In the end, I was all alone. I hated it, but fooled myself into thinking I enjoyed it. The last three songs on this fan-made album would end up summarizing how I felt in a nutshell. The first song I already knew as it was on Eminem’s comeback album in 2009, but was recorded during the hiatus, which was the song “Beautiful”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTa14Sui7mw

The second song was an unreleased and unfinished track where Eminem was supposed to be the guest rapper and the main guy was his artist Obie Trice. The song is called “Emulate” and Obie’s chorus (or first verse) describes someone who is introverted, quiet, odd and doesn’t fit in more or less. But all of his outside observations he ends up imitating in his own way through rap and expression to where he becomes the people he didn’t fit in with. At least that’s how I interpret it…

 

Then there is the final blow. The song I still identify with today. This was actually released to the public already on a Shady Records compilation in 2006 called The Re-Up. This song is an Eminem song though, mostly recorded years before its release except for the final verse and closing bars. The song I am referring to is “No Apologies”. Something about this track which still resonates with me today is its “Fuck The World” mentality. This feeling that you didn’t ask for any of the pain you have been facing, since the abusive early years, to the years trying to come up with an identity that fits in with society more, to losing everything and being alone. All of this leaving me bitter, wounded, angry and having nothing but contempt for the direction the world is going at large. And regardless of what anyone says about me, none of this was my fault. It was them. This is the song. The dark beat and on-point delivery to me makes this Eminem’s most underrated song of all time and I’m not the only one who believes that…

 

Whenever I hear these songs today, I have a hard time listening for a long time. They’re depressing and bring me back to my darkest hour that was strangely only a couple years ago. But regardless, they resonated with me a lot back then and just like how they closed the first 10 years in Marshall’s career in the late 2000s, my connection with them in the late 2010s served as the breaking point where I couldn’t go anywhere but up. It’s not that ironic that one of the very first posts in my blog back in early 2008 is a link to Eminem’s song “Careful What You Wish For”, which was used as the intro track for this fan-made album and definitely reflected my new attitude towards getting too much attention to wanting nothing but isolation.

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