An Oral History of the Real 8 Mile Rap Battles

If you’re at all familiar with Eminem, you’ll know all about 8 Mile, the movie that follows Em through the twists and turns of the rap battles he fought while growing up in Detroit.

Grantland–which has been doing some great work lately–has this oral history of those battles.

When 8 Mile hit theaters in the fall of 2002, it was a minor revelation. We hoped it’d be good — we had no idea it’d be that good. Eminem and his unlikely collaborator, director Curtis Hanson — fresh off a whimsical Michael Chabon adaptation, Wonder Boys — loosely approximated a few hard days of Marshall Mathers’s come-up in rough-and-tumble ’90s Detroit. Rendered in muted blues and grays, obsessively authentic, and boldly understated, the result was, quite possibly, the best rap movie ever made.It was also, in no uncertain terms, a love letter to a scene. The movie culminates in a virtuosic sequence: Scarred, reeling, and increasingly inclined to give no fucks, B-Rabbit wades into the grimy dungeon of the Shelter to do battle with his demons — and the Leaders of the Free World.

Continue reading. Thanks to Ivar for the link.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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