Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Flowtation Device presents: Eminem's "Lose Yourself" verse 3 (EXPLICIT LYRIX)

In case you haven't been sufficiently encouraged to lose yourself, here's the final clarion call, the piece de resistance, the part that demonstrates not just Eminem's facility with the words, but his ability to shape those words into forms and structures. There are four distinct areas in this verse, each with its own rhythm and rhyme scheme. I've colored them differently, and I hope to high heaven they show up when I post this.

A couple random items. In his review of the Marshall Mathers LP (which does NOT contain "Lose Yourself"), Toure said Eminem "is, simply, better than any other MC in hip-hop except for Jay-Z." (What makes Jay-Z better I'm not sure--listening with Zeegy in the car today (WHICH I REALLY NEED TO STOP DOING), I determined that Jay's flow is not as anally structured as Em's, which may be why I've never liked him as much. However, Jay seems to rap around the beat more, which I would theoretically prefer. I really can't wait to analyze "99 Problems," among others.) Toure also liked that Eminem "rarely uses the same rhyme pattern twice." My analysis is not yet extensive enough to corroborate this claim, but four different patterns in one verse is pretty good, I'd say. (But then, listening to Jay-Z, I'm not sure how long he sticks with a pattern. Sometimes it seems like he changes every couple lines, which I'm not sure is a good or a bad thing.)

Also, in the purple stretch, note how the line about "goddam food stamps" offsets the "NINEto"/"TYPEof"/"DIApers" scheme by a bar. Nice! Also, in the penultimate bar check how "THEonLYopPORtuNIty" flip-flops the stresses, so that weak syllables land on the beat and strong syllables off the beat. Very Alanisian, and makes my head spin. (Adds to the urgency of the sentiment? Sure.) (He may have done that in verse one, too.) And--you can smack me if you want--at roughly the Golden Mean we encounter the longest run of uninterrupted eighth-note syllables: "aFAther / ANDaPRIMaDONnaBAby / MOMmaDRAmaSCREAmin'ONher / TOOmuch". Not sure that's the climax message-wise, but formally? Nice!

As a reminder, THE KEY:

CAPS = syllable on beat

small = syllable on offbeat

* = beat without syllable

. = offbeat without syllable

/ = barline separating groupings of (usually) four beats

-- = beat bearing second half of "carryover" syllable (syllable with duration of more than one half beat)

_ = offbeat bearing second half of "carryover" syllable (I'm finding this hard to put into words) (just look at the example)

STRESS or stress = syllable with unusual vocal stress (I still haven't gotten the hang of deploying these consistently)

(parenthetical) = syllable with duration of less than one-half beat; pickup syllable

To experience the system in all its glory, you should play the third verse of Eminem's "Lose Yourself"--starting at 3:08--while reading the lyrics as notated below.

* . * . * . NOmore / --games--i'm(a)CHANGE_ * what / YOUcall--rage-- . TEARthis /

MOTHerFUCKin'ROOFoff--like / TWOdogs--caged-- . Iwas /

PLAYin'INtheBEginNING_(the) / MOODall--changed-- . I'VEbeen /

CHEWEDup--andSPITout--and / BOOEDoff--stage-- . BUTi /

KEPT--RHYmin'ANDstepped--right / --in(the)NEXT_CYpher * . /

BESTbeLIEVE_SOMEboDY'Spay / IN'thePIED_PIper * . /

ALLthePAIN_INside--amp / --liFIED_BYthe * . /

FACTthatI_CAN'Tget--by / --withMY_NINEto * five /

--andI_CAN'Tpro--vide / --theRIGHT_TYPEof-- . /

LIFEforMY_FAM'lyCAUSEman / --theseGOD_DAM_FOODstamps /

--don'tBUY_DIApers--and / --there'sNO_MOVieTHERE'Sno /

--mekHI_PHIfer-- . / THISisMY_LIFEandTHESEtimes /

--areSO_HARD_ * and(it's) / GETtin'EVenHARDerTRY'N'to /

FEEDandWAterMYseed--plus / * . TEEterTOTterCAUGHTup /

BEtween--bein'--aFAther / ANDaPRIMaDONnaBAby /

MOMmaDRAmaSCREAmin'ONher / TOOmuch * forMEtoWANna /

STAYinONEspot * anOTHer / DAYofMONot * on(y's)GOTten /

ME . TOthePOINTi'mLIKEa / SNAilI'VEgot * toFORmu /

LATEaPLOT_ORendUPin / JAilORshot * sucCESS_ /


* . MOMiLOVEyouBUTthis / TRAI_LER'Sgot * toGO_ /

IcanNOT_GROWold--in / SA_LEM'Slot * soHEREi /

GOit'sMYshot * . FEET_ / FAIL_MEnot * thisMAYbe /

THEonLYopPORtuNIty / --that(i)GOT

No comments: