Cat Cohen's Anatomy of a Hit a Hit in 2002

Lose Yourself by Eminem

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Eminem takes the rap genre into a new crossover direction with this gripping and revealing story he recorded for a film.

Song: Lose Yourself
Artist: Eminem
Album: Curtain Call
Songwriter: Mathers (EMINEM)
Producer: Mathers (EMINEM)

Written for the film Eight Mile, the song is the expression of a nervous rapper entering a competition, the thoughts and fears that go through his head before his performance.

The singer is a narrator who is describing a rapper's inner feelings as he performs for his big chance in a competition. We can't help but root for him as his nervousness and anxiety reflects what we would might feel in his position.

Yo, His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy

There's vomit on his sweater already, mom's spaghetti

He's nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready

To drop bombs, but he keeps on forgetting

What he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud

He opens his mouth, but the words won't come out

He's chokin, how everybody's chokin now

The clock's run out, time's up over, bloah!

Snap back to reality, Oh there goes gravity

Oh, there goes Rabbit, he choked

Sparse syncopated swung 16th note hip hop rhythms overlays steady 8th notes which gives this song both push and space which allows the rap a lot of room for expression . Strong accents on the downbeat differentiate the pre-chorus part of the rap and helps to set up the chorus effectively .

The term melody doesn't apply here in the traditional sense as the song is spoken instead of sung. However, there are repeated hooks in both the pre-chorus and chorus sections.

Moody minor sounds give the track both seriousnessand forboding. There are more looped riffs and lines in the track than a real progression of chords

3 song sections.

Intro AABC Signature AABC-breakdown C.

Intro Verse-Verse-PreChorus-Chorus, Verse-Verse-PreChorus-Chorus-Break-Chorus-Tag.

The fact that it is easy to follow gives it more raio airplayability than most recordings in this genre..


Clear production, grabbing the listener right from the beginning. The intensity builds and delivers whawt the intro promises. A rap/hip-hop crossover if there ever was one.

Eminem shows his rap mastery as he opens up the vulnerable feelings of his protagonist in this engaging story.

Predicted Longevity
Unique concept, strong vocal, effective groove and ambience, it should outive most of the other hit and run rap records. A Grammy candidate for sure, if not an outright winner.

Album Cover: Curtain Call

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