Eminem’s legacy in battle rap has been cemented. After making his name in the battle circuit before crafting one of the most successful careers in hip-hop history, Eminem established his respect for battle culture with 8 Mile, a semi-autobiographical film which focused on the rapper’s growth through battle rap. But Eminem didn’t stop there.
Recently, Eminem and Shady put together their first battle event, Total Slaughter. The event, which took place over the weekend, featured the most anticipated battle of the year, one between battle legend Hollow Da Don and Slaughterhouse’s Joe Budden, a Shady Records emcee who has established a critically acclaimed career off the battle arena.
Total Slaughter does more than create something new. The league also looks to expand on what the battle community has already formed. For example, some of the culture’s biggest names, including Arsonal, Daylyt, Big T and T-Rex, were part of Total Slaughter following their stint on the reality show the led up to the event. Of course, the event also featured the long-awaited rematch between battle icons Loaded Lux and Murda Mook.
Given Eminem’s past, present and future in battle rap, it’s fitting that we look back at the rapper’s journey through the culture. After all, battling helped Eminem make a name for himself in the industry, a household name that has permeated popular culture for about 15 years and counting.
So here are some of Eminem’s performances from his days as a freestyle battle emcee. The footage shows a diamond in the rough, one that would eventually have an album go diamond. You can see a lot of what makes him great today in these relics from the past, a hunger and tenacity that is still part of his signature sound. You can hear his clever wordplay and ferocious delivery. You can see how battling helped sharpen the skills that would eventually catapult him to the top of the charts. Here are the best Eminem rap battles from before the emcee became a household name.Continue Reading
Related: The Best Eminem Freestyles