Tuesday, August 25, 2009

32. Eminem "Lose Yourself" (2002)

Here is the story of Eminem's rise to fame, in five-and-a-half minutes or less. Of course, "Lose Yourself" is not about Eminem; it's the central track from his film 8 Mile, and is really about the film's protagonist Rabbit. No relation!

Judging by lyrics alone, "Lose Yourself" would doubtless be one of the top three songs on this list. This is Eminem brimming with confidence and verbal dexterity, the artist at his prime:
Soul's escaping, through this hole that is gaping
This world is mine for the taking
Make me king, as we move toward a new world order
A normal life is boring; but super-stardom's
close to postmortem, it only grows harder
Homie grows hotter, he blows it's all over
These hoes is all on him, coast to coast shows
He's known as the Globetrotter
Lonely roads, God only knows
He's grown farther from home, he's no father
He goes home and barely knows his own daughter
But hold your nose cause here goes the cold water
These hoes don't want him no mo', he's cold product
They moved on to the next schmoe who flows
He nose-dove and sold nada, and so the soap opera
is told, it unfolds, I suppose it's old partner
But the beat goes on da-da-dum da-dum da-dah
Eminem's delivery of those words is still, almost seven years later, breathtaking.

And then there's the awkward fact that the man who once wrote a song about murdering the mother of his child ended up writing a great hymn for the American Dream--an honest-to-goodness, fist-pumping, Inspirational Anthem--while also managing to avoid mawkishness.

An Eminem song even a conservative could love?
That might be his most impressive achievement yet.

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