If you found A-Trak’s behind-the-scenes stories/annotations for Genius an interesting read, then you’ll most definitely enjoy Em’s.
On “My Name Is”
Dre put on the Labi Siffre record, and I was just like “Hi! My name is!” That beat was talking to me. I was like, “Yo, this is it, this is my shot. If I don’t impress this guy, I’m going back home and I’m fucked.” I knew Dre wasn’t an easy person to please. I made sure that everything he had a beat for, I had a rhyme ready to go, or I came up with a rhyme on the spot
“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.
On “Just Don’t Give a F*ck”
“Just Don’t Give a Fuck” was a song that I wrote when I was staying at my mother’s house. It was around the time that Hailie was born. She wasn’t even a year old yet. All of kinds of shit- not being able to provide for my daughter, my living situation, etc., just started building up so much that I had just had it. “Just Don’t Give a Fuck” was actually the second song where people that knew me was were like ‘What the fuck are you talking about?’ See, I didn’t normally talk about stuff like that… I soon found myself doing things that I normally didn’t do. Like getting into drugs and drinkin’. I was reaeeaaally fucked up. I was sick of everything . Kim and I had Hailie, my producers FBT were just about to give up on me, we weren’t paying rent to my moms, and just a whole bunch of other horrible shit was going on.”
On the meme-worthy verse for “Lose Yourself”
“His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already: mom’s spaghetti…”
The first verse is all about Jimmy Smith Jr. It’s me talking about Jimmy Smith Jr. — like, I’m not saying my sweater, I’m saying his. I’m trying to show you what his life is about.
Read and get more insight here.