The Gospel

You’ve probably seen snippets of this in several different versions in Chrysler commercials but the complete performance of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” by Detroit’s Selected of God choir is well worth watching and listening to in full. I find it very affecting.

Blessedly aside from a bit of discrete product placement it’s without commercial interruption.

I have a few quibbles with the pragmatic truth of the lyric not to mention its theology but that is, perhaps, a post for another time. That may be a class issue. The higher one’s position in the class structure the less true it may be that “you only have one shot”.

I find the developments in gospel choirs over the years fascinating from jubilee to jazz to rhythm and blues and, now, to hip-hop (something I predicted decades ago).

The full length song can be purchased at iTunes. All publishing proceeds will go to benefit a number of Detroit based charities.

6 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw Link

    Isn’t this a cover of an Eminem song? In any event, I wouldn’t describe it as gospel music, its soul, which I think is an old argument.

  • Isn’t this a cover of an Eminem song?

    Yes, as I wrote in the post.

    The choir is definitely a gospel choir. The other material (even more rap/hip-hop than this) on their web site makes that very clear. What I find fascinating is the transition.

    Gospel choirs tend to be conservative in the sense that they tend to preserve musical styles long after their popularity in the surrounding culture has waned. Clearly, gospel is transitioning from R&B to hip-hop.

  • Oooh, I like it.

  • PD Shaw Link

    Sorry, I missed the reference. I read the post and later watched the video.

    I guess it depends on what you mean by gospel. I think there is a long debate, at least back to Mahalia Jackson, about what constitutes gospel music, and in part the “soul music” classification emerges from accepting a distinction. If you have a gospel choir singing a hamburger jingle, is it gospel? I tend to think no, but I understand why others might disagree.

    To me this doesn’t sound that different from what pop musicians like Brian Eno/David Byrne/ David Bowie did in the 80s by using electronic sampling to appropriate gospel choirs to enhance their own songs. The Rolling Stones (“You Can’t Always Get What You Want”) were earlier, there are probably more.

  • michael reynolds Link

    One of Eminem’s best, vaguely autobiographical as pretty much all his stuff is. It was written for the movie 8 Mile which is a stripped-down semi-autobiography. Very interesting evolution from Eminem and Dr. Dre to The Selected of God.

  • Ann Julien Link

    I think gospel choirs make a song an Anthem, and this is eminem’s anthem. (also chrysler’s, and detroit’s!) I love it, too, and I’ve never heard this long version, so thanks for the post!

    i think what the lyric is about (“you better lose yourself, you only get one shot, to live in the music, in the moment”) is existence, and “giving it over (to God or your higher power”).

    For every individual second/moment of our lives, we only have one chance to live that individual second. And then comes the next second/moment.

    Each moment is a chance to let go and let God and/or our best selves work through us. It’s also the message of Christmas, so— timely post, Dave! Thanks for the nudge and Happy New Year, Ann 🙂

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