“Not Afraid” is known as being one of Eminem’s hit singles that isn’tcentered on him playing the fool or dissing other celebrities.But withits personal self-discovery theme, it also fits into another one of standardsthe rapper has established, as Marshall Mathers is arguably the father of theself-revealing rap tune.
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This track is premised on the artist ‘taking a stand’, as inconfronting pressing issues head-on.And foremost amongst the resolutionshe makes is a pledge to stay true to his musical profession.Or as therapper himself phrases it, he is “married to the game”.And he expressesthis sentiment not only in terms of continuing to make music but also songsthat are a genuine reflection of who he is as an individual.And if anyonedoesn’t like it, you already know how Eminem responds to inhibitions on hispersonal liberties.Or another way of looking at it is that despitepersistent opposition, the artist is “not afraid to take a stand”, as in he isnot inclined to shy away from his controversial dispositions.And in thatregard, he makes a pledge to his fans to always keep it real.
Then the tone of the song shifts in the bridge and thirdverse.These parts of the song rather deal with Eminem’s well-knownbattles with drug addiction.He dropped not afraid around the time he madethe “decision to get clean”, as in sober up.And he is making a pledge tocontinue along that same course. Moreover he is now dedicated to being a betterhuman being in general.And that includes making the fulfillment of his“responsibilities as a father” the primary focus of all of his efforts.Sowithin the overall theme of the song, it is implied that Eminem tackling all ofthe mentioned matters head-on is requiring a considerable degree of bravery onhis part.But perhaps more to the point, his courage is manifest in himbeing able to proclaim such personal feelings to the listening public.
“Not Afraid” talks directlyto Em’s True Fans
And that brings us to another unique aspect of this track. “Not Afraid” is very fan-oriented. Or put differently, Eminem actively engages his audience. He wants them to empathize with the personal transformation he is going through. And likewise, in his own way he wants to show them that he too is not much different than they are. But more to the theme of this song he wants to lead them, if you will. In other words, he wants the listener to siphon off some of his bravado and “take a stand” in their own right. That is to say he wants them to “exorcise” their own “demons”, as in make their own commitments to remain strong, tackle their addictions and strive to be better in general.
And just as Eminem serves the role of helping them deal with their frustrations, he too derives strength from their support. For it is in the name of his true fans that he’s keeping it real. And the rapper even admits that his supporters helped him overcome his addiction, even though they didn’t realize it.
So on one hand “Not Afraid” is definitely a rallying cry, withEminem leading the charge towards individual being bold in standing up for whatthey believe in, both in public and private.Moreover, there is a clearundertone of the success rate of such endeavors being increased through mutualsupport.
In all, this song finds Eminem standing up for his beliefs. In doing so, he makes positive changes in his life and implores his listeners/fans to do the same.
Writing Credits for“Not Afraid”
Eminem wrote “Not Afraid” with assistance from the followingsongwriters:Matthew BurnettJordan EvansLuis Resto (who is Em’s regularcollaborator)Boi-1da (who is also credited withproducing “Not Afraid”)
One of Eminem’sGreatest Songs
Despite being released a little bit later in his career, “NotAfraid” proved to be one of Eminem’s biggest hits.For instance, itaccomplished the rare feat of debuting at the top of the coveted Billboard Hot100.
The track also scored a number 1 in Canada and a number 2 on theUK Singles Chart. Furthermore, it broke the top 10 in 15 other countries.
Moreover, “Not Afraid” has been certified quintuple-Platinum inCanada and Diamond (selling over 10 million copies) in Eminem’s native UnitedStates.
This track also won a Grammy (Best Rap Solo Performance)as well as a few other honors, such as a BMI Urban Award and two Detroit MusicAwards.
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In addition to all the above accomplishments, its music video, which was directed by Rich Lee, won a couple of MTV Video Music Awards.
Eminem almost didn’t add the song’s powerful and inspirational bridge to it. He added it at the behest of his manager, Paul Rosenberg. Below are the lyrics of that powerful bridge. It is widely considered as one of the most profound and touching parts of the song.
Eminem celebratesSobriety with “Not Afraid”
In 2019, Eminem quoted the title of this song while celebrating the fact that he had been sober for 11 years.