Anatomy of a Song: Eminem - My Name Is


Remember the 90s? It was a far simpler time, wasn't it? The internet was in its infancy, inflatable furniture was trendy and MTV was the authority on everything cool. 1999 was no exception, with everyone tuning in to MTV to catch Eminem’s break-out hit My Name Is.

Yes, the lyrical content was a little bit offensive and that didn’t sit too well with parents, but the song was an instant success. The single put Eminem on the map, even nabbing the rapper a Grammy for best solo rap performance in 2000 (yes, that was a category). However, surprisingly, neither Eminem nor producer Dr Dre own the publishing rights. Those belong to a 74-year-old British jazz singer.

Wait, what? Let's explain. You might not instantly recognise the name Labi Siffre or his 1975 song I Got The... but it’s extremely likely that you’ve heard it. Or, at least, parts of it. The now classic signature guitar and bass riffs from My Name Is were sampled by Dr Dre from Labi’s I Got The....

In return for using the samples, Labi asked for the publishing rights …and he got them. The Jazz singer also requested some lyrical edits before granting permission to release the track, and he got those too. Eminem and Dr Dre bowed to Labi’s requests, the track was released and history was made.

My Name Is is arguably the most recognisable song to use samples from I Got The… but it’s far from the only song to do so. Samples of the song have appeared on numerous hip-hop tracks, from Jay-Z’s Streets Is Watching to Primer by Atmosphere, to name but a few.

Hear the original Labi Siffre classic and all the songs that feature samples of it on the RHA "I Got The… Sample” playlist.

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