Legacy (Eminem song)

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"Legacy"
Song by Eminem from the album The Marshall Mathers LP 2
Released November 5, 2013
Format Digital download
Recorded 2012; Effigy Studios (Ferndale, Michigan)[1]
Genre Hip hop
Length 4:56
Label Aftermath Entertainment, Shady Records, Interscope Records
Writer Marshall Mathers, Polina Goudieva, David Brook, Emile Haynie
Producer Emile Haynie
The Marshall Mathers LP 2 track listing
"Survival"
(5)
"Legacy"
(6)
"Asshole"
(7)

"Legacy" is a song by American hip hop recording artist Eminem, taken from his eighth studio album The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013). The song, which is the sixth track on the album, discusses Eminem's dysfunctional childhood. The song was produced by American record producer Emile Haynie and written by Marshall Mathers, Polina Goudieva, David Brook and Emile Haynie. The song features additional vocals from Russian singer-songwriter Polina. "Legacy" was met with generally positive reviews from music critics upon the album's release. The song has since peaked at number 44 on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. "Legacy" became one of the official theme songs of WrestleMania XXX.[2]

Background and theme[edit]

The song primarily discusses Eminem's dysfunctional childhood upbringing in Detroit, Michigan.[3] The song mirrors "Lose Yourself" in explaining how important music was in directing the young Eminem's life.[4] He cites Queens' hardcore hip hop group Onyx as an example of what he would listen to at the time.[5] The song recounts how shy and awkward Eminem was as a child, even being shoved into a locker in school, and then details how he gained self-esteem and hope through rap.[6] In the end, he discovers rapping is his legacy and that having his brain "wired differently" was worth it.[7]

Eminem has stated that he intended for the song to be "self-empowerment" for those whom nobody believed in.[8] The song contains numerous football references, including Brian Dawkins, Detroit Lions, New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins, the Body Bag Game, Dick Butkus, and Brian Baldinger.[9] Most notably, he mentions the Detroit Lion's 0-16 2008 season.[10] Onyx's Fredro Starr praised Eminem for mentioning the group. He also pointed out that it connected the two Marshall Mathers LPs, as Onyx's Sticky Fingaz was featured on The Marshall Mathers LP on the song "Remember Me?".[11]

Composition[edit]

"Legacy" was written approximately two years ago during a session between singer-songwriter Polina and songwriter David Brook in New York. A few months later, Polina visited Interscope executive Neil Jacobson, who, upon hearing the song, commanded her: "Don't play this for anyone. It's an Eminem record." The following week, Polina and Brook joined Emile in the studio where he produced the song and then sent it to Eminem. Eminem added his own verses to the song, but left Polina's vocals untouched. The song's production and overall tone earned comparisons to Eminem's hit song "Stan".[12] The rhyming words used in the song remain unchanged, as Eminem wanted to challenge himself.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

"Legacy" was met with generally positive reviews from music critics. Andy Gill of The Independent highlighted "Legacy" as one of the album's best songs.[13] Greg Kot writing for the Chicago Tribune said, " "Legacy" reprises the formula for The Marshall Mathers LP-era hit "Stan" with introspective rhymes tied to a female vocal hook."[14] Gabriel Alvarez of Complex stated, ""Legacy" is a unique entry in Eminem's catalog because it shows an emotional growth that Eminem didn’t always seem capable of. He shoveled shit his entire life and often seemed unable to forgive his mother, his detractors, and ultimately himself for everything he had been through. Yet on "Legacy" he finally finds Eminem able to appreciate his great gift, even if it came at a great expense."[15] Roman Cooper of HipHopDX credited "Legacy" for doing "a great job of carrying Em's wicked rhymes."[16] Ryan Bassil of Vice said, "Legacy" was, the perfect summation of an album that is both self-aware and introspective, but still brash and cleverly comedic."[17] Melinda Newman of HitFix gave the song a B- rating and said, "It’s as close as Eminem gets to a self-empowerment song."[7]

Josh Weiner of The Tufts Daily stated, "Always renowned for his storytelling gifts, Eminem shows audiences what he’s made of with tracks like the introspective "Legacy".[18] " Matt Shinseki of Campus Times said, "Songs such as "Stronger Than I Was" and "Legacy" are unexpectedly profound reflections on how far Eminem has come from his troubled childhood in 8 Mile, Michigan. The lyrics in these tracks are reminiscent of some of his earliest work and are comforting for long-time fans that worry that Eminem may forget his roots."[19] Jay Soul of RapReviews said, "Nobody can place himself within the psyche of bullied school kids like Marshall Mathers III, and "Legacy" provides a highlight - almost like the audio version of the "No Love" video."[20] Stephen Deusner of Paste stated, ""Legacy" seems like the most baffling anti-bullying anthem imaginable, at least until you realize it’s about how you shouldn’t bully Eminem."[21]

Christopher R. Weingarten of Spin compared "Legacy" to Eminem's previous more pop oriented album Recovery and deemed it skippable.[22] Mike Diver of Clash stated, "His ear for a great melody underpinning caustic wordplay remains in flashes, but it’s consistently overwhelmed by too many formulaic arrangements leaning on hooks from female vocalists. "Legacy" is a rudimentary rant balanced by a sweet contribution from Polina."[23] Craig Jenkins of Pitchfork Media said, ""Legacy" pulls all manner of cockamamie pronunciation gymnastics just so Eminem can end every line with the same rhyming syllables, and the song’s decision to dispense with proper word accents and splay sentences haphazardly across the middle of lines makes for a flow that comes across overwrought and labored even as it plays Frankenstein with conventional word choice and rhyme patterns."[24]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2013) Peak
position
France (SNEP)[25] 163
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[26] 199
UK R&B (Official Charts Company)[27] 24
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[28] 18
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[29] 44

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Here Are Eminem's Real Production Credits For 'MMLP 2' - XXL". Xxlmag.com. 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  2. ^ "Eminem legacy becomes theme song for wrestlemania". 
  3. ^ By Julia LeConte (2013-11-05). "Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP 2 | NOW Magazine". Nowtoronto.com. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  4. ^ Wood, Mikael (2013-11-01). "Review: Eminem's furious 'The Marshall Mathers LP 2'". latimes.com. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  5. ^ "Eminem Name-Drops Everyone In Hip-Hop On MMLP2: Did You Catch All 43? - Music, Celebrity, Artist News". MTV.com. 2013-11-12. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  6. ^ Christina Lee. "Eminem’s ‘MMLP2′: Who Is The Real Slim Shady Targeting Now?". MTV Hive. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  7. ^ a b Newman, Melinda (2013-11-04). "Eminems The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is a compelling, disturbed return to form: Track-by-track review". Hitfix.com. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  8. ^ a b "Eminem Q&A Exclusive: The Making of 'The Marshall Mathers LP 2'". rollingstone.com. 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2013-12-26. 
  9. ^ By Simon van Zuylen-Wood (2013-11-08). "Eminem Name-Checks Brian Dawkins in New Song | News | Philadelphia Magazine". Phillymag.com. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  10. ^ "Eminem Mentions The 0-16 Lions In New Song ‘Legacy’ « CBS Detroit". Detroit.cbslocal.com. 2013-10-30. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  11. ^ "Onyx's Fredro Starr Says Eminem Has "Always Shown Love" - XXL". Xxlmag.com. 2013-11-06. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  12. ^ "Polina, Songwriter On "The Marshall Mathers LP 2," Details Eminem's "Legacy"". Cheri Media Group. 
  13. ^ Andy Gill (2013-11-08). "Album review: Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (Shady/Interscope) - Reviews - Music". The Independent. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  14. ^ Greg Kot (2013-11-03). "Eminem album review; The Marshall Mathers LP2 reviewed - Chicago Tribune". Articles.chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  15. ^ "#63. Eminem “Legacyâ€? (2013) — The 100 Best Eminem Songs". Complex. 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  16. ^ Cooper, Roman (2013-11-04). "Eminem - Marshall Mathers LP 2 | Read Hip Hop Reviews, Rap Reviews & Hip Hop Album Reviews". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  17. ^ "'The Marshall Mathers LP 2' is the Album Every Eminem Stan's Been Waiting For | NOISEY". Noisey.vice.com. 2013-10-31. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  18. ^ "Album Review | Eminem’s first album in three years a success - Arts - Tufts Daily - Tufts University". Tufts Daily. 2013-11-12. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  19. ^ "Eminem belts out brilliance in swift, profound ‘Mathers’". Campus Times. 2013-11-07. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  20. ^ "Feature for November 5, 2013 - Eminem's "The Marshall Mathers LP 2"". Rapreviews.com. 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  21. ^ "Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP 2 :: Music :: Reviews :: Paste". Pastemagazine.com. 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  22. ^ Weingarten, Christopher R. "Eminem, 'The Marshall Mathers LP 2' Review". Spin.com. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  23. ^ "Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP 2 | Reviews | Clash Magazine". Clashmusic.com. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  24. ^ "Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP 2 | Album Reviews". Pitchfork. 2013-11-06. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  25. ^ "Lescharts.com – Eminem – Legacy" (in French). Les classement single.
  26. ^ Zywietz, Tobias (February 15, 2014). "Chart Log UK". Zobbel.de. Tobias Zywietz. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Archive Chart" UK R&B Chart.
  28. ^ "Eminem Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 for Eminem.
  29. ^ "Eminem Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for Eminem.