Eminem has annotated some of his most famous songs for Genius.
While they're still not without their naysayers, more and more respected artists and writers have been going to Genius (formerly Rap Genius) to contribute annotations. We've seen Rick Rubin, A-Trak, Nas, The-Dream, Sasha Frere-Jones and more contribute words to the constantly growing lyrics site, and now Eminem has joined the roster of contributors.
Em has shared some stories behind a few of his biggest hits on the site, including "My Name Is," "Lose Yourself," "Stan," "In Da Club," and even his closing freestyle in 8 Mile.
Read some excerpts from his contributions below. Head to Genius if you're looking to Stan out a little more.
On "My Name Is":
“My Name Is” was the first thing that came out of my mouth that first day I was at Dre’s house. I don’t know if we released what I did the first day or if I re-did it, but it was basically the same. I didn’t understand punching, or believe in it. So I would just go from the top of the song all the way down. I was never flying in hooks. Everything was live, one take. If I got all the way to the fucking end, and messed up the last word, I’d be like “Run it back, let’s do it again.” I remember Dre was like “Yo, are you fucking crazy? Let’s just punch.” I didn’t like that concept because I wasn’t used to it. When we were recording here in Detroit, in the beginning, I was saving up my money to go in. We only had an hour, you know? I’m like “One take down, alright, let’s go to the next song. Fuck it.” That’s what I was used to.
When I’m writing, I’m in the syllable game. I’m connecting 5-6-7-8 syllable phrases where every syllable rhymes. I get heavy into that. When I start rapping something, and I think of more syllables that connect with it, sometimes I want to just keep the scheme going forever.
I’ve done it before in songs, where the syllable scheme of the first verse ends up being the syllable scheme of the second verse, and the third verse — all the way down. I do it because the lines start connecting and making sense. Once I find something and lock in, it comes out pretty quick.
On "Lose Yourself":
When we were making 8 Mile, I was revisiting this old CD from two years before, going through old loops. I found the “Lose Yourself” demo on this session where me and Jeff Bass were just making beats. Jeff was just sitting on those guitar chords, and then it went into something different. I was just like “Yo, that section, right there, I gotta make a beat out of that.” I recorded the demo version of it the same day I made the beat. I didn’t like the rhyme, and put it off to the side.
But it’s one of those beats I never gave up on. That beat was definitely a highlight of my producing. I ended up doing the new version on the set of the movie, just writing between takes.
On "In Da Club":
We couldn’t decide on the first single from Get Rich. It was going to be either “If I Can’t” or “In Da Club.” We were torn, so me, 50, Paul, Chris Lighty, and Jimmy Iovine decided to flip a coin.