Eminem revealed for the first time the album he wants to develop again after many years of silence
As an unwavering Eminem aficionado, the mere mention of his plans to craft a sequel to his 2009 masterpiece, Relapse, sent waves of excitement through my veins. Initially titled Relapse 2, the album promised a continuation of the dark and controversial themes explored in the first installment. However, fate had other plans, and instead of Relapse 2, Eminem dropped Relapse: Refill in 2009 – essentially a reissue of Relapse, enriched with a bonus disc featuring seven new tracks.
Fast forward over a decade, and in retrospect, I find myself acknowledging that Eminem made a judicious decision in shelving Relapse 2. While Relapse showcased flashes of brilliance, it was an uneven and, at times, uninspired album, bearing the marks of Eminem’s prolonged recording hiatus and his battles with addiction at the time. Nevertheless, Eminem has recently hinted at regretting the abandonment of Relapse 2, expressing a desire to turn back time and commit wholeheartedly to crafting a proper sequel album.
As a fan, this revelation stirs excitement within me, envisioning the untapped potential that could have been. Eminem’s “Ԁrug years” – spanning from Encore in 2004 to Relapse in 2009 – represent a captivating albeit messy chapter in his storied career. Despite critical scrutiny, I find the atmospheric, deranged quality of the music from this era particularly appealing. Relapse, in particular, has grown on me over the years, with Eminem’s demented flows and accents introducing an element of horrorcore previously unheard in his repertoire.
Now, picture if Eminem had wholeheartedly embraced that aesthetic and recorded an entire Relapse 2 album. Judging by the seven bonus songs included in Relapse: Refill, it seems he was heading in that direction. Tracks like “Taking My Ball” and “Music Box” amplify the creeρy Relapse vibe to the extreme. I yearn to hear Eminem delve further into those psychotic, serial kιller-style concepts over an entire album – a sequel that could have elevated the themes from Relapse to the next level, for better or worse.
Of course, Eminem’s life took a positive turn shortly after Relapse as he embraced sobriety. His music reflected this transformation, with Recovery in 2010 candidly chronicling his journey to redemption. He even apologized for Relapse on that album with the song “Not Afraid,” rhyming, “Relapse into the man I was within this past year.” From a personal standpoint, it’s understandable why he refrained from committing to a full Relapse 2 album and creatively trapping himself in the horrorcore realm during the height of his addiction.
Yet, as a fan, I remain endlessly curious about what Relapse 2 could have been. Would it have been Eminem’s magnum opus of demented rhymes and maniacal flows? Or would it have been a disastrоus misstep tarnishing his legacy further during that period? I believe it had the potential to be the former – a daring artistic triumph that amplified the unique qualities of Relapse. While Eminem has undoubtedly rebounded strongly both commercially and critically in the decade since, I hope that one day he will revisit the Relapse era with a fresh perspective and, perhaps, finally provide fans with the full Relapse 2 experience they crave.
Until then, Relapse remаins one of Eminem’s most fascinating albums – a snapshot of an icon at his most unhinged and unfiltered. For better or worse, I consider it a crucial part of his extensive body of work, deserving of revisiting and reevaluation. While critics were divided at the time of its release, fans have come to appreciate the sinister, Ԁrug-fueled madness captured on Relapse even more over the years. For me, it stands out in Eminem’s discography precisely because of its sheer deprаvity and lack of filter – a testament to his willingness to explore the darkest corners of his psyche to create uncompromising art.
Looking back, I actually consider Relapse to be Eminem’s last truly great and consistent solo album. His voice and delivery haven’t sounded as sharp before or since, in my opinion. The way he snarls his rhymes in those bizarre accents over beats that sound like horror movie scores – it was a one-of-a-kind creative peak he hasn’t reached again. Perhaps fueled by the excessive Ԁrug use documented on the album, he exhibits a level of technical rapping mastery on Relapse that rivals his early classics. From the sinister opener “3 A.M.” to the variable pitch-shifted flow of “Underground” to the macabre serial kιller vibe of “Stay Wide Awake,” Eminem was simply untouchable as a rapper on Relapse.
While Eminem has dismissed Relapse as a rushed album recorded during his struggles with addiction, I believe time has shown it deserves more respect. Recovery was a more mainstream comeback, but it lacked the daring creativity that made Relapse so special to fans. Eminem’s tightly wоund rhyme schemes and mastery of accent delivery reached new heights on that album, even if the serial kιller concepts rubbed some listeners the wrong way. Looking at his later albums, Eminem has failed to match the same level of technical rapping precision he consistently achieved on Relapse. It was the last time we truly got a glimpse of his full powers as the greatest lyricist of all time firing on all cylinders.
The excellent bonus disc Relapse: Refill only reinforced how much potential there was for a full Relapse 2 album. Those seven extra songs maintain the same high-quality level as the original album, with Eminem venturing even further into deprаved territory. Critics may give Relapse flack for its gruesome concepts, but that’s precisely what made it so compelling for longtime fans. Eminem was probing uncharted territory thematically, not holding back one bit lyrically. Relapse 2 could have perfected that aesthetic and delivered his definitive masterpiece within the “Ԁrug years” era.