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Not Afraid: 10 Years Later


May 2010 was a much simpler time. We were not in the middle of a pandemic, we had our Silly Bandz, and new music from rapper Eminem. Ten years ago today, his song “Not Afraid” hit number one on the U.S. charts. I was never a huge fan of rap, but I am a massive Eminem fan! A decade later, I am still listening to “Not Afraid”.

“Not Afraid”, off the Recovery album, takes us through Eminem’s shift away from drug use and violence. After several arrests for violence and drug charges, Eminem checked into rehab and has now been sober for twelve years.


In the lyrics of “Not Afraid”, Eminem seems to be in a much better place. In the beginning of the song, he raps, “I guess I had to go to that place to get to this one”. The song was his way of letting his fans know that he was off of drugs, with the lyrics “It was my decision to get clean, I did it for me/Admittedly, I probably did it subliminally for you/So I could come back a brand new me/You helped see me through.” He promises his fans that he will never let them down again, that there will be “no more drama from now on”, and that he is going “focus solely on handling my responsibilities as a father”.


Although the song has a positive message that we have all been through tough times, it did face criticism for crude lyrics. Since the beginning of his career, Eminem’s lyrics have been the subject of controversy with curse words, crude references to bodily functions, and even lyrics implying gun violence. While I can definitely understand why these lyrics would be controversial, I think this particular song’s message about becoming sober and getting yourself out of a dark time outweighs the vulgar references. There is a reason I am not a huge fan of rap music!


Ten years ago, Eminem got himself out of a dark point in his life, and promised himself and his fans that he would never go back to that place. “Not Afraid”’s positive message about sobriety and changing your life around for the better is what helped get it to number one on the chart ten years ago. You keep on going, Slim Shady! We are proud of you.

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