Encanto and 8 Mile Have Basically the Same Soundtrack

Eminem has arguably one of the greatest “pen games” in Hip-Hop history. And Lin-Manuel Miranda is obviously world renown for his musical writing ability. So it’s not a far stretch to see these two have a few things in common. First, they can cleverly write extremely catchy songs. Secondly, they can tell fully stories in a poetic way, all while rhyming line after line after line. So let’s see this in action.

We’ll begin with just a snippet of one of the most well known, and best written, Hip-hop songs in history. The first verse of Eminem’s Grammy award-winning song, “Lose Yourself.”

…The clock’s run out, time’s up, over, blaow
Snap back to reality, ope there goes gravity, ope
There goes Rabbit, he choked, he’s so mad but he won’t
Give up that easy, no, he won’t have it, he knows
His whole back’s to these ropes, it don’t matter, he’s dope
He knows that but he’s broke, he’s so stagnant, he knows…

The catchiness of this song (not just the chorus) speaks for itself of how well written it is. But what makes the verses so catchy? Well for the first verse it’s the repetition of the same pattern/flow within almost every line. Here, repeat this out loud a few times, “da-da-da-DA.” Now after repeating it, replace “da-da-da-DA.” with the phrases highlighted below.

  • reality, ope
  • gravity, ope
  • Rabbit, he choked
  • mad but he won’t
  • that easy, no
  • have it, he knows
  • back’s to these ropes
  • matter, he’s dope
  • that but he’s broke
  • stagnant, he knows

Growing up I would just repeat, “Snap back to reality, ope, there goes gravity, ope there goes rabbity, ope, there goes gravity, ope, there goes rabbit he…” I didn’t know the words, but I knew “da-da-da-DA.” Also it’s worth noting that these aren’t end rhymes. Just like we’ll see in Surface Pressure from Lin-Manuel Miranda later, these rhymes cross the bar line; which in context of the song means the rhyme ends one sentence and begins another. *Side Note: Saying “ope” is the most Mid-western thing one can do. So Eminem being from Detroit makes this verse even more awesome.* Let’s continue on…

These hoes is all on him, coast-to-coast shows
He’s known as the Globetrotter, lonely roads
God only knows, he’s grown farther from home, he’s no father
He goes home and barely knows his own daughter
But hold your nose, ’cause here goes the cold water
These hoes don’t want him no more, he’s cold product
They moved on to the next schmoe who flows
He nose-dove and sold nada, and so the soap opera
Is told, it unfolds, I suppose it’s old, partner
But the beat goes on, da-da-dom, da-dom, dah-dah, dah-dah

  • Globetrotter
  • grown farther
  • no father
  • own daughter
  • cold water
  • cold product
  • sold nada
  • soap opera
  • old, partner

Geez, he does it again. But this time Eminem actually gives it to you how you should sound it out, “dom-da-da.”

Another thing Eminem does here, that we’ll see Lin-Manuel Miranda do in Surface Pressure, is use alliteration (and internal rhymes) of similar vowel sounds between the end rhymes. Eminem does it here with the OH vowel sound:

“God only knows, he’s grown farther from home, he’s no father
He goes home and barely knows his own daughter
But hold your nose, ’cause here goes the cold water”

And then a few lines later he creates even less room between each vowel sound with:

“They moved on to the next schmoe who flows
He nose-dove and sold nada”

Lin-Manuel Miranda: actor, singer-songwriter, playwright, rapper, and filmmaker

First of all, Lin-Manuel Miranda is a HUGE Hip-hop head, and the music from Hamilton is proof. This deep-dive from The Wall Street Journal about Hamilton and Hip-hop is extrordinary. So it’s no wonder that the songs in Encanto would have a hip-hop swag and vibe to them. Ok, let’s begin with the first verse.

I’m the strong one, I’m not nervous
I’m as tough as the crust of the Earth is
I move mountains, I move churches
And I glow, ’cause I know what my worth is
I don’t ask how hard the work is
Got a rough, indestructible surface
Diamonds and platinum, I find ’em, I flatten ‘em
I take what I’m handed, I break what’s demanded, but

Under the surface
I feel berserk as a tightrope walker in a three-ring circus
Under the surface
Was Hercules ever like, “Yo, I don’t wanna fight Cerberus”?
Under the surface
I’m pretty surе I’m worthless if I can’t be of servicе
A flaw or a crack, the straw in the stack
That breaks the camel’s back
What breaks the camel’s back? It’s

Now just like in Lose Yourself, I didn’t know the actual lyrics to this song, but I knew each phrase ended in “nerv-ous.” So I usually just sing, “Under the surface, da da da dada nervous. Under the surface, was hercules da da dada fight Cerberus. Under the surface, a tight rope walker da da da circus…” It’s catchy. It’s a VERY catchy flow/pattern of words, especially to be in a verse (just like Lose Yourself). I’d dare to say I find the verses catchier than the choruses. So here are the rhymes we have from the verse:

  • Nervous
  • Earth is
  • churches
  • worth is
  • work is
  • surface
  • berserk as
  • circus
  • Cerberus
  • worthless
  • service

And back again with verse number 2.

Under the surface
I hide my nerves and it worsens, I worry somethin’ is gonna hurt us
Under the surface
The ship doesn’t swerve — has it heard how big the iceberg is?
Under the surface
I think about my purpose, can I somehow preserve this?
Line up the dominoes, a light wind blows
You try to stop it topplin’, but on and on it goes

  • surface
  • hurt us
  • iceberg is
  • purpose
  • preserve this

Again, finding more words (technically syllables) that rhyme with the word “surface.” And just as in Eminem’s verse where only half of the word reality rhymed, here we have just half of iceberg, and preserve that contribute to the rhyming. And like Eminem’s verses, here are a few examples of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s internal rhymes, and amazing alliteration:

“I’m the strong one, I’m not nervous
I’m as tough as the crust of the Earth is
I move mountains, I move churches
And I glow, ’cause I know what my worth is”

The alliteration here is on the eR sound.

“Under the surface
I hide my nerves and it worsens, I worry somethin’ is gonna hurt us
Under the surface
The ship doesn’t swerve — has it heard how big the iceberg is?”

So there you go. Basically the same movie, right? Admittedly though, I have to listen to Surface Pressure everyday because our 2yr old loves dancing to it. I made the connection here because just like Lose Yourself when I was younger, I never know the entire lyric, I just remember the catchy hook at the end of each line.

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