Published Sun, February 13, 2022 at 9:00 AM EST
What: “Lose Yourself”
When (was it released): 2002
Where (was it featured): Music From And Inspired By The Motion Picture 8 Mile
Why (did the song happen): With witty wordplay, jaw-dropping lyrics, and an unrelenting barrage of assaults on cultural icons, Eminem rose through rap’s underground in the late 1990s and earned a number of followers in the underground circuit. Yet, in the aftermath of Vanilla Ice, most people didn’t take white rappers seriously. Fortunately for the Detroit rapper, Dr. Dre gave him the chance no one else in the industry was willing to provide. The alliance produced remarkable results, with 1999’s The Slim Shady LP and 2000’s The Marshall Mathers LP selling more than 14 million copies combined. Moreover, Eminem’s performances on these albums shattered the stereotype that white rappers couldn’t be considered among the genre’s elite. Prominent film producer Brian Grazer wanted to do a movie starring Eminem that was loosely based on the rapper’s pre-fame life. For the movie’s theme song, Eminem decided to produce himself.
How (it became iconic): Over a skeletal, drum-driven beat accented by haunting guitar riffs and piercing piano accents, Eminem flows with a controlled fury. But, unlike much of his previous work, which was laden with profanity and violent imagery, “Lose Yourself” features no profanity and Eminem focuses on the travails his character in the film, Rabbit, is trying to overcome. It’s a moving meditation on the pressure a person feels when they invest their heart and soul into their passion and need to succeed in order to feel any sort of validation within themselves. The stakes are about as high as they can be and Eminem delivers a masterful look into that nervousness, that uncertainty, that pressure. It was the perfect song for 8 Mile and became a theme song for people needing a musical pep talk before their own real-world moment of truth. Few songs are seemingly tailor made for a Super Bowl appearance. However, “Lose Yourself” is one. It’s a song that talks about seizing an opportunity, a single chance to achieve everything that a person has ever worked for. For most of the players on the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals, this will be their only appearance in the Super Bowl. In this moment, the players are faced with two possibilities: will they exit in triumph, or in defeat? No wonder the Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show would be a perfect time for Eminem to perform “Lose Yourself.”