Yesterday, Eminem casually whipped out Lose Yourself at the Oscars. It was 17 years after the song originally received the award for Best Original Song and the first time that Eminem had actually performed the track at the awards.
No one expected it, and the surprise paid off. In celebration, we thought we’d dig up some of the most surprising facts about the track which is considered one of the best hip hop songs of all time.
We go behind the scenes of Eminem’s Lose Yourself, and unearth some of the most amazing facts behind the Oscar-winning song.
Eminem wrote the song in character
Eminem wrote the hit song whilst filming 8 Mile, the 2002 movie which parallels his life. Whilst on the set for the movie, Eminem had a trailer where he’d go to write songs during filming breaks. Lose Yourself details the life of Eminem’s character in the movie, Jimmy “B-Rabbit” Smith Jr., and consequently, Eminem wrote the song in character.
This isn’t the first time that Eminem has written a song in character, with plenty of songs written as his alter ego, Slim Shady. In fact, Eminem is an alter-ego in itself, as he has also written songs from his own perspective of Marshall Mathers. These songs usual deal with more personal issues relating to his now ex-wife Kim, his daughter, Hailie, or his mother.
The paper that Eminem wrote the song on appeared in 8 Mile
The original sheet that Eminem wrote Lose Yourself on actually appeared in the film. You can see B-Rabbit holding it during a scene where he is riding the bus.
Apparently, the sheets of paper later sold at an eBay auction for $10,000. You can get a closer look at them below. It’s amazing to see Eminem’s mind-map style of writing.
Back in 2003, the Academy Awards tried to get someone else to perform Lose Yourself
Back in 2003 when Lose Yourself was nominated for an Oscar, Eminem decided not to perform it at the ceremony. At the time he thought the song would never win and felt as though the awards wouldn’t “get” him. Back then every nominated song had a performance, so the Academy Awards even asked Eminem’s longtime manager Paul Rosenberg if they could get someone else to perform it.
In the end, Lose Yourself didn’t get a performance. After winning, this marked the first time in 14 years that the winner of Best Original Song was not performed at the Oscars. It’s crazy to imagine what it would have been like if someone else had performed the track.
Lose Yourself was the first rap song to ever win an Oscar
In winning, Lose Yourself beat out songs by Paul Simon and U2. At the time this was a pretty bold move for the Academy Awards who usually went for tamer choices like Sting or Elton John. Barbara Streisand announced the award and co-producer Luis Resto accepted it. When the winner was announced, Eminem was actually at home, asleep with his daughter.
Check out footage of Barbara Streisand presenting the award below.
— Marshall Mathers (@Eminem) February 10, 2020
“Weird Al” Yankovic made a parody of the song called Couch Potato
In 2003, American satirist “Weird Al” Yankovic made a parody of Lose Yourself which he called Couch Potato. In the parody, the narrator talks about his obsession with watching TV. The opening lyrics describe:
“Look, if you had, one shot / To sit on your lazy butt, and watch all the TV you ever wanted / Until your brain turned to mush, would you go for it / Or just let it slip.”
Due to Eminem’s concern that the song would hurt his career, the commercial release was cancelled. Yankovic had intended to make a video to go with the song but it was also scrapped at the last minute. However, there are numerous fan videos online which have been made to accompany the parody. Check out one below.
In 2015 a judge quoted lyrics from the song when handing down a sentence
In Washington D.C. Superior Court Judge Yvonne Williams was sentencing twenty-year-old twins after an brutal, unprovoked attack on a man in Brooklyn.
Judge 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 Lose Yourself “the most inspirational song”.
Unfortunately, they didn’t seem to get the message, as both siblings were back behind bars the following year.
The lyric about “mom’s spaghetti” became a viral sensation
In the opening lyrics of the song, Eminem describes barfing up his mum’s spaghetti: “Palms are sweaty / Knees weak, arms are heavy / Vomit on my sweater already / Mom’s spaghetti.”
This went on to become a widespread meme which originated in the 4chan community in the early 2000s. It was typically posted as copypasta (a block of text copied and pasted across the internet) which began as people describing awkward situations and ended up leading into the lyrics of the song.
The meme reached its peak when YouTuber Jay’s Green Stuff made a video of Eminem singing entirely about his mum’s spaghetti.
Check it out below.
If you liked this article, check out these 8 obscure facts about classic songs.