"I never thought that my life would amount to this. But to be able to sit back and digest it is so strange to me, because I still feel so regular. I don't understand what people think the big deal is about me. It's a very strange relationship that I have with fame." --Eminem on fame.
Just call him the comeback kid. Just last year he seemed like he had run out of gas only to come storming all the way back, and then some, in 2010 to post one of his biggest years to date.
At a time when younger artists like are relying on social media, promotional appearances and concerts to keep their careers stoked, Eminem's path back to the top was old school: He simply released a great album.
"On Recovery, he was really able to tap into the emotive 2002 stuff that people loved in '8 Mile,' " said Complex Editor in Chief Noah Callahan-Bever. "And I think that the fact that he's not tech-savvy or any of that stuff really doesn't hurt him because he's able to cultivate a little bit of a mystery about himself and his comings and goings. That exclusivity creates more value to his limited presence."
While songs like his mega first single "Not Afraid" and the inescapable Rihanna hookup "Love the Way You Lie" were getting wall-to-wall spins at radio, Em made only a few promotional appearances, played just a handful of dates -- including the lauded Home and Home shows with Jay-Z -- and managed to keep that air of inscrutability about himself while putting up the best sales figures for any album released in 2010. The less you saw of him, the more you wanted to see him. It also made his selective cameos on Drake's "Forever" to a solid duet with Lil Wayne on "Drop the World," some fierce bars on B.o.B's "Airplanes" and Nicki's "Roman's Revenge" stand out.
That slow and steady, measured approach clearly paid off, as Em won two VMAs (off of eight nominations) in September and ended the year by loading up with a leading 10 Grammy nominations. You can be sure when the Grammys are handed out in February, Marshall's name will be mentioned a few times, because if there's anything the Recording Academy (and, let's face it, all of America) loves, it's a comeback. It makes it fitting that Eminem is planning to return to the big screen next year in the "8 Mile"-inspired boxing film "Southpaw."
Perhaps this second comeback from the lesser Relapse can be the real McCoy.