This was featured in Eminem's first movie, 8 Mile. The movie is loosely based on Eminem's life; he grew up in a poor Detroit neighborhood and followed his dream of rap stardom. The movie got very good reviews as Eminem turned out to be a surprisingly good actor.
With "Lose Yourself," Eminem had to figure out a way to authentically express himself under the guise of a fictional character. "Because the movie is not me, the movie is Jimmy Smith Jr. So I'm playing this character, but I have to make parallels between my life and his, in this song. I gotta figure out how to reach a medium. It would sound so corny if I was just rapping as Jimmy Smith Jr. How is that going to come from a real place?" he explained on Genius.
"If I'm telling you that my daughter doesn't have diapers, I need this amount of money to pay my bills this month, and it's some real s--t I'm telling you, then you know that it's just coming from me. That was the trick I had to figure out - how to make the rhyme sound like him, and then morph into me somehow, so you see the parallels between his struggles and mine."
On the movie set, Eminem had a trailer where he could record songs for the movie during breaks in filming. He wrote this in character as B. Rabbit, who he played in 8 Mile. Writing in character was nothing new for Eminem, as he had previously written songs as his alter ego, Slim Shady.
The track had been around for over a year before Eminem pulled it off a CD and decided to work off the beat. He had his musicians mold the beat around his vocals.
This song is highly produced and heavily layered. In addition to several vocal tracks, there are horns, woodwinds, strings, keyboards, drums, and sound effects all over the track.
When the movie studio released the first trailers, this song did not exist, so they used "Cleanin' Out My Closet," which the studio wanted to feature in the movie. Eminem thought that song was too personal for the movie, which was one reason he was so determined to write something that fit the character.
The 8 Mile soundtrack was part of a very successful run for Eminem. While overall album sales were declining due to high CD prices and Internet piracy, this soundtrack and Eminem's album The Eminem Show were selling millions of copies. Rapper 50 Cent, who also appeared on the soundtrack, was the next big music success story. He also sold millions of albums after signing a deal with Eminem and Dr. Dre's Shady/Aftermath Records and releasing Get Rich or Die Tryin'.
Eminem performed this at the 2003 Grammy Awards with The Roots backing him up. He won the Best Rap Album award that year for The Eminem Show. It was the only rap or R&B award presented during the telecast, as the other awards in those categories were given out before they went on the air. This didn't go over well in the rap community, especially since the award for Best Comedy Album (won by Robin Williams) was given out during the show.
This won an Oscar for Best Song From A Movie, beating out songs by Paul Simon and U2. It was a bold choice for the academy, who usually pick fairly tame songs by Randy Newman, Sting, or Elton John. Barbra Streisand announced the award, and seemed surprised and happy that Eminem won.
Eminem did not perform at the Oscars because they wanted him to sing the "radio friendly" version and he wanted to sing the song as written and let the censors edit the language. This was the first winning song not performed on The Oscars since it has been televised.
Suggestion credit: Jenny - Sussex, NJ
Unlike most rap songs, this uses a guitar playing power chords.
Suggestion credit: Remus - Algonquin, IL
The line, "Best believe somebody's paying the pied piper" is a reference to traditional German story The Pied Piper of Hamelin. The piper was hired to help the village with their rat problem. When they didn't pay, he left with the town's children.
Mekhi Phifer, who is mentioned in the lyrics, is an actor who starred with Eminem in the movie 8 Mile.
Suggestion credit: Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2
Weird Al Yankovic did a parody of this called "Couch Potato" on his album Poodle Hat, his first album in four years. Eminem let him do the song, but wouldn't let Weird Al make a video for it or release it as a single because he was worried about his image. Al thought this was odd considering how much Eminem makes fun of people in his videos. The parody makes fun of people who watch too much TV.
This won a Grammy for Best Rap Song of 2003.
With a 12-week run at #1 on the Hot 100, this song is the most commercially successful Oscar-winning tune.
In 2015, a Washington D.C. judge quoted from this song in passing sentence. Twenty-year-old twins Christopher and Christina Lucas were convicted by a jury of a horrific unprovoked 2013 attack on a man in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, apparently because he was homosexual. Prosecutors asked for 15 years, but Superior Court Judge Yvonne Williams told the pair:
"It's like, you only get one shot. And his one shot is that he had to - you know, it's in the movie 8 Mile... the rap has to be so good. You only get one shot."
Williams called it "the most inspirational song."
She sentenced them each to a year in jail under the Youth Act. Shortly after their release, they were back behind bars, Christopher Lucas for making verbal threats, and his sister for obstructing his arrest.
Suggestion credit: Alexander Baron - London, England
New Zealand's National Party were found guilty on October 24, 2017 of ripping off this song in a TV election ad entitled "Eminem Esque." A High Court judge in the country ordered the party to pay $600,000 (£314,000) plus interest to the rapper's publisher. The commercial was run 186 times in the party's 2014 election campaign and can be found here.
Crazyc63312 from Pittsburgh, Pa"Weird Al" Yankovic did a parody of this called 'Couch Potato', but Eminem/Marshal/Slim Shady declined permission for a music video. Here's a sample-lyric from 'Couch Potato' about the Osbourne Family Show: Oh! Ozzy's family Sho' loves profanity PS. I like weird al.
Andrew from Charlotte, Ncthis song actually isnt considered a rap song
Saltine from Htown, TxOne of the best of Eminem and its really deep.
Adam from Montreal, QcWooooooooooooooo...first, Eminem has not sampled Kashmir, if you listen to both songs back to back they don't sound alike...second, eminem rocks!!!!he is the best rapper i've listened to...and i have listened to a lot of them trust me.His lyrics, they mean somenthing. Good song to do some weight lifting at the gym.
Gerald from Marlboruough, Zimbabwebest song and lyrics ever in my lyf -jizzy-bell this song really motivates me and is very encourageous i just wsh to be part of eminem's crew i give gs to Mate Millbrae by saying hotly yes EMINEM ROCKS WITH HIS TALENT that's pefect emi'wish u could giv us anotherI wch mvates us
Moses from River John, NsThis is a reply to Terry, Houston, TX post up above. Eminem made millions off of 50 cent, how do you figure he should never have signed him.
Andrew from Bartlett, TnOne of the best and biggest rap songs of all time! Possibly the most remembered lyrics and love songs of the 21st century.
Scott from New Bedford, MaThis song can be for the singer or for any person because it basically is saying to do your absolute best in what ever you do "lose yourself" this is your chance! What are you gonna do take it or choke?
Jai from Mumbai, IndiaEminem is "the" biggest rapper and if you beleive he didn't deserve the oscar then dude go back to 8 Mile and check the biggest track in the world "LOSE YOURSELF".To do hell with U2.
Nikki from Heights, Txeminem is the $h*t
Heather from Pittsburg, PaThis song gets me pumped...i dont know why..Maybe because I'd like to help people like that..Or maybe becasue theres actualy people that have to suffer like that...Great song, Eminem..Keep it up!
Brian from Vancouver, Canadai think he did a good job in making the story of the movie into a song, i think eminems the no.1 artist of our time
Scotty from Camas, Wasweet song
Robin from Bruges, BelgiumI love this song. One of the best beats I ever heard. He's the best rapper. EMINEM ROCKS!!
Terry from Houston, TxI don't usually do this...but I feel like Em is a pioneer in so much. 50 Cent in other words....took all of Em's idea and wore the mout. He has become to commercial. Em signs 50, fifty creates G unit...modeled after Em's group....D-12, then he decides to make a movie loosely based on his life....just like Em did. 50 is a follower, not a leader. He didn't do squat, original. He took ALL of Em's ideas and ran with them. 50 Cent is a poser and a commercial rip off. Em should hav edropped him, or better yet, never signed him in the first place.
Jeevan from Brampton, CanadaEminem's song are wicked! I think he acted good in 8 Mile. A lot of people didn't think he would do a good job, but he was wicked!
Nikki from Brampton, Canadai think eminem's acting in 8 mile was awesome. and this song just goes so good with the movie. for some reason that song encourages me, and thats a good thing.
Julian from Anaheim, CaI am not really a fan of rap, but Eminem's songs are comedic and very well thought out. IN other words they rock!
Dmytro from Toronto, Canadathis song is really cool and i think it has a lot to do with eminem's life and how tough it was for him to be growing up in detroit and becoming the successful rapper that he is today.
Valerie from Evansville, InThis is one of like three rap songs that I like. I just love the guitar part, and the lyrics are so right. "Opportunity comes once in a lifetime."
Drew from Hamilton, CanadaOne of the only "rap" songs I enjoy.
David from Orlando, FlI love this song it is awesome (lose yourself in the music the moment)
Linus from Hamilton, On, CanadaThis is not a good song - - hollow lyrics, not good rap.
Kevin from New York, NyEminiem is the coolest person on earth!
Matt from Millbrae, CaEminem is one of the few rappers that actually has TALENT!!! Can you ever imagine Mike Jones, Ludacris, Nelly, or Lil John doin a song like this? Hell no. Great song, I think landed in the top 500 songs of all time accordin to rolling stone.
Jackie from San Diego, Cai liked what 'rosie, waco, TX' said. eminem has great lyrics..not about most rap songs like the ones about "the club" or whatever. he has lyrics that have meaning, and i like that. this song rocks..it shows how far he's gotten as a rapper. he used to be boo-ed off stage and now hes one of the most famous rappers in America. and thats impressive.
E from London, Englandhi who definately knows what the sample is used in lose yourself by eminem?!
James from Brighton, EnglandThose of you saying eminem sampled Kashmir in this song are sadly wrong...when i first heard this i thought to myself it sounded similar but if you listen to both one after the other it's quite clear they're different...Both good songs tho
Jester from Folsom, CaThis song is cool and when i listen to it it helps me concentrate on things in my life. Basically lets me look at the big picture of my life.
Mike from Arvada, CoEminem rocks...He is better than any rapper I have heard (and mind you i have heard them all)
Justin from Spokane, WaI'm not positive, but just by listening, it sounds like "10:15 on a Saturday Night" by the Cure is the sample.
Shawna from San Diego, Cawhat part of kashmir is in the song?
Kurt from Downers Grove, IlNo he doesn't sample Kashmir in this song! Puff Daddy does though, in the song "Come With Me."
Remus from Algonquin, IlWeird Al's parody of Eminem's "Lose Yourself," for which Marshall Mathers refused him make a video. But after hearing Yankovic's "Couch Potato," it's hard not to sympathize with Em, since unlike his other big pop hit parodies, this has nothing to do with the song. Weird Al doesn't pick up on the theme of the song, or the sound of it, or the lyrics to create a parody, he simply picks television at random, as if jokes about American Idol and Survivor will guarantee laughs and airplay. On top of the randomness of the subject, the jokes are simply bad, culminating in a "My Tivo Thinks I'm Gay" joke ripped off from Mike Binder's unspeakably awful HBO series Mind of the Married Man, where it was done better (and if Mike Binder does a joke better than you, you're slipping; besides, anybody who has had Tivo for any length of time knows that no matter what you do, it will record Law & Order).
Corrina from Modesto, CaI read not long ago that there has never in history been a time when so many people of different ethenicity could come together peacefully as what happens now, simply brought together to enjoy, listen to and appreciate the music that we now refer to as RAP....true, think about it, soooo true... Weather all understand it or not, RAP has brought down so many racial barrierers which I myself am extreemly grateful for. Eminem and the many other great artists who are blessed with this great gift of music which they share with us, I want to say,"THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart" Corrina, Modesto, CA firstname.lastname@example.org
A Dbz Fan from Jackson, MiI wonder if Eminem likes M&M's
Nick from Vallejo, CaEminem did sample Led Zeppelin's Kashmir in this song.
Rosie from Waco, TxOk. I recentley bought the U2 cd, and I'm sorry to say, but they sucked(badley). Eminem rox so much better than U2, and I think that his songs have alot more meaning to them than most rap songs, so you gotta give him points for that. He is the most creative rapper in my eyes.
Erik from Davis, CaIs it just me, or did Eminem sample Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" in this song?
Erik from Davis, CaI am fan of U2. However I apolgize, but Eminem's song was so much better than "The Hands That Built America." That song was crap!
Virnalisa from Santo Domingo, Otheri agree with Hans that award was robbed from U2,not that eminem isn't a good rapper but i don't think that it was such a great song for him to get that award.
Remus from Algonquin, IlI love Eminem.
Hans from Oakdale, CaI think Eminem, although a great rapper, did not deserve that oscar. Compared to U2, the greatest band in the world, that song was nothing. And then he didn't even show up to accept. Whats up with that?