Pharrell might be the happiest man on earth. After knocking 2013 out of the park by collaborating with Daft Punk and Robin Thicke, his song “Happy” is nominated for Best Original Song at this Sunday’s Academy Awards. The upbeat rapper joins a very short list of hip-hop artists to be recognized in this category.
Eminem became the first rapper to win in 2002 with “Lose Yourself,” the title track from “8 Mile.” Three years later, Three 6 Mafia became the first hip-hop group to win with “It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp.” M.I.A. became the first female rapper nominated for Best Original Song with “O…Saya.” Unfortunately for her, she lost to another song from “Slumdog Millionaire.”
It’s been tough for hip-hop songs to get nominations in the past. Not just because stuffy Academy voters were slow to recognize the genre’s worth, but songs that use sampled or reworked material are ineligible. That means the beats have to be totally original. If that wasn’t the case, you know Coolio would’ve been nominated for “Gangsta’s Paradise.”
A common thread that runs through all of these tracks is they contain inspirational advice. We’ve pulled the best lyrics to get you pumped up through the rest of your week.
Eminem, ‘Lose Yourself’ from ’8 Mile’
Three 6 Mafia, ‘It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp’ from ‘Hustle & Flow’
M.I.A., ‘O…Saya’ from ‘Slumdog Millionaire’