The road to recovery is no easy process for an addict. But for Eminem, the path to sobriety has helped him defeat the mediocracy that plagued his last several studio releases with his aptly titled new album, Recovery.
One of the driving forces behind Marshall’s newfound musical coherence has come from DJ Khalil and The New Royales. The four-piece ensemble is credited with producing three records off Em’s seventh solo studio release.
“I remember just being in the studio playing beats for Dr. Dre and Em, and it was the most surreal experience of my life,” DJ Khalil tells VIBE. “They were both feeling everything I was playing—I couldn’t believe it.”
Khalil originally caught the attention of Eminem when one of his beat CDs landed in the rapper’s hands. “I sent Em a batch of beats. He was a big fan of the Slaughterhouse record I produced called “The One”—initially it was for him. It was one his favorite records from that album,” says DJ Khalil.
After one their most talked-about collaborations—the Pink-featured "Won’t Back Down”—hit the Internet, the track silenced critics snickering about whether the album’s questionable guest appearances would live up to the hype.
“Pink took it to a whole other level. We recorded her out in Malibu and even before she stepped into the booth, she was buggin’ out off the energy of the track,” Khalil tells VIBE. "And we knew people were going to question it, but after you hear it. It ends all talk.”
The record’s co-producer, Rahki, says the record originally wasn't made with Slim Shady in mind.
“We weren’t even thinking about making 'Wont Back Down' specifically for Eminem. That’s how we work though—we don’t go in the studio thinking of a specific artist,” Rahki recalls. “Khalil actually left the room because he got a call from Dr. Dre and when he came back the record was done.”
On one of Recovery’s most introspective cuts, “Talkin to Myself,” Eminem reveals that he was once close to spitting some venom directed toward some of rap’s current giants including Kanye West and Lil Wayne. Khalil and The Royales’ say they crafted the record’s perfect combination of rock-influenced guitar strings and snares over three years ago.
“We came up with the hook and everything. That record was basically just fill in the blanks. I mean it came together literally in three minutes. With us writing the hook and Kobe laying the vocals—the whole record took about an hour to make,” said DJ Khalil.
Recovery hit stores and iTunes today. —Mikey Fresh