Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” is one of the most recognizable rap songs to come out of the ’00s, both for Em’s sharp, winding verses and a thrumming beat that still manages to inspire listeners to shadowbox in the mirror. Naturally, it’s the kind of song people would want to use to underscore a commercial, film trailer, or, say, a 2014 political campaign ad, as was the case with New Zealand’s National Party.
Eminem and his team are suing the governing party for infringing on the song’s copyright by using a track that’s strikingly similar. In defense, lawyers say the track is not Eminem, but “Eminem-esque,” which is the name of the track they pulled from a stock music library. Eminem’s lawyers say “Lose Yourself” is “iconic” and “without a doubt the jewel in the crown of Eminem’s musical work.” Take that, Dido.
As is customary in cases of copyright infringement, both tracks must be played side by side for the court. They did so on Monday, and the result is this glorious video of grim, straight-faced lawyers, and court officials having to sit stoically through the entire song, the robed judge hovering there over his laptop, counting down the seconds.
The audience is not the kind you’d want at a climactic rap battle. They are tense, biting the inside of their cheeks, doing everything in their power to not begin mouthing along with the chorus, or, at the very least, tapping a foot. A palpable tension lifts once the song finishes, only to return once again when the judge forlornly begins playing “Eminem-esque.”
The only noticeable sign of life comes about two minutes in, when this happens:
Now what, pray tell, could that note say?