Detroit rapper's album is departure from past
STORIES BY B.J. HAMMERSTEIN
Eminem used nine producers over 17 tracks on "Recovery." (JEREMY DEPUTAT)
Motor City mic master Eminem will be shooting for chart-topping domination when his highly anticipated seventh studio album "Recovery" is released Monday. This new set of raucous rap tracks isn't business as usual, though. Eminem, who in the past has been known to rely heavily on Dr. Dre and one or two other producers, opted for a talented crew of producers and beatmakers from a wide variety of backgrounds.
The "Recovery" production lineup, which features nine producers over 17 tracks, wasn't assembled because the Dream Team of Em and Dre had a falling-out -- Dre has one contribution, "So Bad," on the album and is the executive producer. It was a series of natural progressions following Eminem's return to the spotlight in 2009 -- after a six-year hiatus -- that led to the new sonic approach.
Paul Rosenberg, Eminem's manager and Shady Records president, says there wasn't one defining moment where the planned "Relapse 2" evolved into "Recovery." But a trip designed to work out music for "Relapse 2" produced two songs, Dre's "So Bad" and Mr. Porter's "On Fire," that had a different sound than "Relapse."
"When Em came back home he said he wanted to keep going; he was in the right space to continue recording, and Dre was still in Hawaii to work on his record" ("Detox"), Rosenberg says. "We've been working for a while to get (producer) Just Blaze and Em together and there was some great chemistry there, which ultimately led to us exploring some possibilities that otherwise wouldn't have been there."
Not surprisingly, different personnel led to some varied hip-hop soundscapes. Mid-tempo radio-friendly hits mix and match with underground shockers. Guest spots on the mic include Pink, Rihanna and Lil Wayne.
D12 rapper and producer Denaun Porter, who has worked with Eminem since the mid-'90s and who produced a track on "Recovery" as Mr. Porter, says the album is a clear departure from last year's accent-heavy and dark-themed "Relapse."
"I'm so proud of him for making an album of this caliber," Porter says. "He's been fighting demons in public for a long time and you can't look at this story without seeing something great. From the suburbs to the hood, this is a Detroit story that should touch people. Where I'm from, there's something here for everyone."