Once in a while, we come across a song that defines an era, defines an artist and defines a genre. “Lose Yourself” by Eminem was his shining moment. This track was released as a single from the 8 Mile movie soundtrack which is based on Eminem’s (Marshall Mathers) real life and it was released on October 28, 2002, the same time as the movie was released. It is considered one of the best hip hop/rap songs ever produced “(Billboard)”, speaking to an audience that is striving for success and needs motivation, as well as everyone who is a fan and loves his music.
He wants his audience to know that, when trying to achieve their dream, feeling defeated is inevitable, but that is when they have to get back up and try even harder. Eminem asserts that you can do anything you want to do. He speaks his message to the audience’s heart.
Back when this song was written, rapping was done mostly by African Americans, so when Eminem took the stage, he was one of the only white rappers out there, and as a result he was nervous. A person in this situation would feel intimidated by the crowd, and he might not have felt accepted because of his skin color. This song reflects the obstacle of being a white rapper which challenged Eminem on the stage and its purpose is to motivate his listeners to face their own challenges. Eminem wrote this song to convey how his experiences affected him and to share what he learned. He uses his refined way of rapping to express the message that you can do anything you want to do, and that no matter how hard it gets, you shouldn’t lose yourself, like how he did at one point.
Even though Eminem had a hard life, he worked his way into becoming a successful rapper. In the song he focuses on his home life where he says, “I can’t provide the right type of Life for my family ’cause man, these God damn food stamps don’t buy diapers”. He makes the listener feel pitiful because he’s saying how he can’t provide well for his daughter, which brings me back to the main point that he lived poor but he tried hard to change his life for his family even in tough situations. He talks about how things at home are only becoming harder.
Eminem discusses how he feels like he is distant from everyone, and how he feels that making it in the music business is the only thing he has left to work for. Towards the end, that is somewhat the final battle cry of the song. Eminem talks about how he is finally feeling the confidence to take the stage and make a name for himself. He wanted to grow up, leave 8 Mile, and provide a better life for his family. From living poor, he worked his way up in the music business with hard work, and he is expressing that message in his song lyrics.
Eminem had faced some obstacles before becoming a professional rapper and uses pathos to reveal this to the audience.
In the song, Eminem is describing the feelings he gets before he takes the stage, and the nervousness that comes with performing in high-pressure situations. He says, “His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti”. He relates to the feeling you get inside as your knees get weak and the crowd becomes so loud that you can’t hear your own thoughts. He accomplishes making the listener feel nervous because the way the music video starts out, which is him on stage being the only white male, makes the listener want to continue listening to know whether he did good in the rap battle. He wants his audience to feel the tension of him being on stage with a crowd that has a different skin color than him.
He went from barely getting words out on stage, to speaking to people’s heart now that he is successful and is noticed more than before.
One of the most important parts of the song is when he failed because that tells his message of him trying even harder and working with that obstacle, to accomplish his goal. When he says “Snap back to reality, oh, there goes gravity”, causes the listener to feel sorry for him because in the music video, he lost the rap battle and he has to face the harsh realities of his life now. This is what he meant by losing yourself, and that connects to his purpose to motivate the listener to try your hardest at achieving your goal, but just because there was a rough patch, he will still not give up. He was in a little bubble when he was on stage, in the rap battle, and when he lost, he went back to “reality”. He’s giving his listeners a doleful image by saying, “To drop bombs, but he keeps on forgettin”. He is on stage living the dream, and it’s difficult for him to get his words out in front of the crowd. Being criticized for his skin color just made him have an even harder crowd, but the fact that he still went on stage means that he had the courage and he wants to send a message to get out your comfort zone. The beginning of the music video shows the audience how it was hard for him to go on stage in front of a crowd like that, and when he loses, he loses a little bit of himself as well, but these lyrics focus on his main message in the song, “Back to the lab again yo, this whole rhapsody, He better go capture this moment and hope it don’t pass him”, where even though he failed, he will try even harder to get back on the stage and do what he loves.
Eminem wants his audience to know that they should take every opportunity they can do better themselves and their life which he communicates to his listeners through empowering lyrics. When he says, “You better lose yourself in the music, the moment, you own it, you better never let it go. You only get one shot do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime”, he lets us know that we, the audience, have to seize every opportunity we are given to better ourselves and make every moment count. He talks about himself, his music and how he is only going to get an opportunity of going big once in the music business, and he will jump at that opportunity. He sings this line in a very upbeat mood, which makes it catchy to the audience. He wants you to remember that you only have one chance to follow your dreams, so never take advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity.
At the beginning of the song, he’s asking you, “If you had one shot, or one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted, in one moment, would you capture, or just let it slip?” He wanted to think about it, and while you get deeper in the song, he’s more straight up and chooses for you, that you should take that opportunity. He says “you better lose yourself….you better never let it go” as if, he will do something if you don’t. He is trying to scare you and motivate you to prove his message that you need to try your hardest. He says, “He’s so mad, but he won’t give up that easy? No!” The hook of the song shows you that as Eminem is describing how you can’t give in when the going gets tough, and how you must “lose yourself” in the moment in order to fully make it meaningful, he is trying to tell you his message with examples of his own life.
Eminem uses pathos the most because he causes the reader to feel how he felt in his song, however, the song is very positive and has a “you can achieve anything” attitude. While I listen to the song, I instantly get in a good mood and get motivated, just by the beat of the music. The instruments and the pace are at a level where they physically give you energy. His use of onomatopoeia when he says, “He’s chokin’, how, everybody’s jokin’ now. The clocks run out, times up, over, blaow!” fits perfectly with showing you that his “opportunity” is now over, and right after the “blaow”, he says how he goes back to reality, to show you that just like that, that opportunity he had is over, and that’s where the audience starts to think because they know he could have done it, with just a little more practice, to get rid of that nervousness. The catchy beat and him “going back to reality” causes the audience to get up on their feet and work hard for their dream which helps Eminem achieve his purpose.
Eminem’s use of repetition and tone makes the audience feel the tension in his voice, to tell his message loud and clear, almost as if he is giving you a lecture on living your life with a lot of determination. He repeats the chorus, “You better lose yourself in the music, the moment, You own it, you better never let it go, You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow” in a very catchy and uplifting beat. He raps the line so many times where it gets stuck in your head and you start singing along with it without evening realizing you are doing so. The song is very memorable because it is one of Eminem’s most famous.
As a listener, I can say that this song is the kind of song that gives me chills, and the type that inspires me to chase after my dreams because of the actual beat of the song and its intensiveness. The way Eminem raps in the song is as if he is arguing with you, but he is just trying to loudly prove a point. After he fails he says, “No more games, I’m a change what you call rage”, and that one lyric can tell you that he is now mad and he wants change. The fact that he is so mad and motivated, makes me listen closely and do the same for my own life. His ability to inspire and be positive connects with his ability to be mad as well because it just makes him want to chase his dreams even harder. A person filled with anger, chasing a goal, will not give up. The tone and repetition help Eminem achieve his purpose of motivating you to get up and be so obsessed with your goals where you won’t stop until you achieve them.
The lyrics are put together into a very original rap beat, using electric guitar and others similar to rock music, to motivate the listener and to make them listen closely to the message he is giving. With all of the instruments going on, he is getting you focused on his life, and when he gets to the hook, the fact that it’s so catchy with the beat makes you be as motivated as he is. The song could help a person get into working out or help pump them up for a big game. It can also do as little as prepare a person for the work or school day by inspiring them to be the best they can be. A good example of that is when he says, “Success is my only motherfuckin’ option, failures not”, as well as the chorus of the song since that is the part where it is the most catchy.. It’s motivating you because if you’ve had a bad workout or a bad game, you’ll do better next time, which is precisely his purpose in writing this song.
Eminem was very successful in proving his point of motivation, to keep going, and achieving your dream, no matter the obstacles in your way. Everything he says in the lyrics, and in the music video, tie up together. All the instruments used, the facts that he gives the audience about his life, his mistakes, the emotions, and motivational lyrics, tie up together to prove a point of how you can’t give in when the going gets tough, and how you must “lose yourself” in the moment in order to fully make it meaningful.
His last verse, “You can do anything to set your mind to, man”, sums up the message of the song which is basically you can do anything you want to and even if there are obstacles that are keeping you from achieving your dream, you can overcome them with hard work. So, keep it stuck in your minds and never let it go.