Hi, today we’re going to check out the rhyme schemes in the first verse of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.”
This is what the verse looks like in the diagram:
We’ll first take a look at the main rhyme schemes (the ones that structure and organize the verse), and then we’ll look at the smaller “extra” rhyme schemes.
Main rhymes schemes
Main rhyme scheme 1
All of Eminem’s main rhyme schemes use compound rhymes, which are rhymes with more than one syllable.
In the first main rhyme scheme, the compound rhymes are linked together through a combination of assonance (vowel sound rhyme) like “palms/arms/mom’s/calm” and by their rhythm… all the phrases such as “palms-are-sweat-y” and “arms-are-heav-y” have four syllables each. These are the rhyming phrases of the first main rhyme scheme:
–Palms are sweaty
–arms are heavy
–calm and ready
The word “already” is an example of “partial linking”, where other words work with the main compound rhymes, but they don’t form complete compound rhymes by themselves.
Main rhyme scheme 2
The next main rhyme scheme uses a combination of the vowel sound in “wrote” and the vowel sound in “down” and sometimes the vowel sound in “run”. Some are two syllables long like “wrote down” and “whole crowd,” some add extra syllables like “goes so loud” (where “goes” and “so” have the same vowel sound as “wrote” and then “loud” has the same vowel sound as “down”. Occasionally the “run” vowel sound is added, like with “won’t come out” and “run out.” These are the rhyming phrases:
–goes so loud
–opens his mouth
–won’t come out
Main rhyme scheme 3
The third main rhyme scheme is the longest, covering eight bars of music and it also has the longest compound rhyme pattern, containing 6-syllable long rhymes.
The rhyming phrases are linked through the first syllable rhyme (an “oh” sound), and usually the final three syllables (“grav-it-y” “have-it-he”). A few of the phrases change the final rhyming syllable to the vowel sound in “him,” like with”this” and “it’s”.
These are the rhyming phrases:
–oh, there goes gravity
–oh, there goes Rabbit, he
–choked, he’s so mad, but he
–won’t, give up that easy
–no, he won’t have it, he
–knows, his whole back’s to these
–ropes, it don’t matter, he’s
–dope, he knows that, but he’s
–broke, he’s so stagnant he
–knows, when he goes back to this
–mobile home, that’s when it’s
–yo, this whole rap shit, he
–hope it don’t pass him
Again there are a couple of examples of partial linking with “reality” and “cap” rhyming with the main phrases, but not forming complete compound rhymes on their own.
What’s particularly interesting about this verse is how most of the rhymes begin on the 3rd beat of the bar and then extend into the 4th beat. Then when it moves into the third main rhyme scheme the phrases begin on both the 1st beat and the 3rd beat, as he doubles the number of rhyming phrases for that section of the song.
Below in the diagram you can see the extra rhymes, which are the ones NOT in yellow, green, or blue:
In addition to the main rhyme schemes that give the verse its structure and order, Eminem spreads some smaller rhymes throughout the verse that don’t rhyme with the main rhyme schemes. They fill in the gaps with more rhymes, to add even more rhyming interest.
These are the extra rhymes spread through the verse, around the main rhyme schemes:
–knees / weak
–vomit / on it
–nervous / surface
–drop / bombs
–he / keeps
–snap / back
–back / lab
By using these extra rhymes, Eminem is able to fill the verse pretty much entirely with different kinds of rhymes, leaving very few spaces that don’t rhyme with something.
Hopefully this has given you a better understanding and appreciation of the level of complexity in Eminem’s rhyme schemes.
If you have any requests for songs to be deconstructed in the same way, please let me know in the comments below!