I really don’t care much for awards season, in a musical sense, because if you pay attention most songs that get nominated by the Grammys are either smash radio hits or they are overplayed and forced upon you, I only include the sub-categories and the big two song categories. And just from that alone, my excitement reached the height of LeBron’s when J.R. Smith made an alley-loop slam against the Knicks, ironically assisted by Iman Shumpert, when Common and John Legend walked up on stage and accepted the Oscar. The Oscars act like a beauty pageant’s talent competition, while Best Original Song is a slightly different story. Unlike the Grammys, most songs composed for film are made with more intention, considering past winners.
Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” brought this attention to me. As the first rapper to win the award, I had a faith for hip-hop in the future, and after a slight gap, another hip-hop song won. Three 6 Mafia won for their track “Hard out Here for a Pimp,” which is probably the most unconventional best song winner I’ve heard of to date. Now, for my main intention, a retrospective on these three hip-hop tracks winning the Oscar.
Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” was never an unconventional song, considering it’s about the white struggle. The track itself is not far from a masterpiece, and saying it is, is hard for me to say, despite how much of a bias I lean on with Eminem. The instrumental has so much variation in the beat. The BPS (Beat per Second) is scatter-shot and I love. Initially it picks up speed with the kicks and snares. I think what stood out the most was that this track could easily be played on a guitar. Eminem also has lyrical prowess, which is very evident, but of the three hip-hop winners, this is probably my least favorite.
After Eminem’s win in 2002, Three Six Mafia won in 2006 for easily the most unconventional song. Before they performed the song on the Oscar stage, the group sought light in the south dominating with crunk gritty rap style. The beat is gritty and the heavy bass is evident that it’s southern style. The hook is melodic, as done by the beautiful Taraji P. Henson. It’s lyrically stout, with them taking a story telling approach. It made a story off a beat not typically known for that type of rap. The south glamorizes with more confidence and their expertise flow. Unlike Eminem’s track, this song just seemed to be placed for the sake of variety. They won over more-favored films, like Crash, but their won just had everyone in shock. I thought it was well deserved, but I still can’t believe Juicy J lost his Oscar. I’d personally make it evident that should always be in my sight. This is my second favorite.
Lastly, during this most recent Academy Awards ceremony, Common and John Legend won the award for their song off the film Selma. This is probably my second favorite of the three for many reasons. The song begins with a soulful hook from John Legend. A violin plays after, with the piano here and there, as Common raps a verse that pertains two a dual mirror between the Civil Rights movement and the protest on the judiciary systems. This song can easily lead to political debate amongst both, as Common raps as if he’s giving a speech as he keeps the flow consistent adding more emotion line per line. Same follows suit in his next verse. The song is unlike most hip-hop songs because I never heard about the struggle in this tone.