Besides bumping the single’s sales, Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” performance at the 2020 Oscars was a major do-over of what could have happened at the 2002 Academy Awards. In a rare interview with Variety, the elusive rapper explained why he decided perform the Best Original Song-awarded track at this year’s Oscars, 18 years later.
“I kinda figured maybe since I didn’t get a chance to do it at the time, maybe it would be cool,” he told the outlet. “Back then, I never even thought that I had a chance to win, and we had just performed ‘Lose Yourself’ on the Grammys with The Roots a couple of weeks before the Oscars, so we didn’t think it was a good idea. And also, back at that time, the younger me didn’t really feel like a show like that would understand me.”
Eminem said that instead of attending the 2002 awards ceremony, he spent the night at home with his daughter. He also denied rumors that he had refused to perform the hit due to the Oscars requiring him to censor his lyrics.
“I don’t know that I was disappointed [that I missed the ceremony],” he reflected. “I was blown back by the fact that I won. I don’t even think I understood back then that you could get an Oscar for a song, and I remember being kinda confused about why I was even up for one, because as a kid with the Oscars, it was like a vacuum.”
He also discussed the secrecy leading up to this year’s Oscars performance, which resulted in his set being a huge surprise.
“We flew in [to Los Angeles] last week, so we probably have four or five rehearsals just to make sure we got everything right,” he explained. “Most of the rehearsals were offsite, not in [the Dolby Theater], just trying to keep it secret.”
Em also revealed the burgeoning artists he’s excited by, naming Young M.A., the Griselda Records trio and YBN Cordae.
See his Oscars performance below.