Grammy-winning rapper Eminem has revealed some of his battle rap secrets he used to gain fame and momentum behind him as an unsigned artist from Detroit.
Em claims he would often mix pre-written punchlines and spontaneous lines during battles.
“I came up on the local Detroit scene and everything was about battling,” Em said in an interview. “If you wanted to make a name for yourself, the battle scene was so huge, it was battles every couple months where anybody who was anybody trying to make a name for themselves would come out. I think one of my greatest inspirations or things that I would feed off of was people not believing, the cloud of doubt I felt hanging over my head and I just wanted to prove everybody wrong. I wanted to make it and I was gonna make it regardless of what anybody said. I’m looking for somebody, one to stand out to be unique and also say the sickest, most ridiculous retarded sh*t you can say and think of that would make somebody quit. Emcees have competitive spirits, that’s why we’re in it and we do what we do. I would have written lines, I would have punchlines, that I would be prepared to say at anytime to kinda figure out on the spot what punchlines I would pick and choose for this person that was in my face but also be able to mix in freestyle with it. That would be the basic formula that I would follow, have my punchlines ready to go but also be able to say something spontaneous too.” (Real Talk NY)
Last year, rapper Asher Roth revealed his inability to battle other artists.
“I’m not a battle emcee,” Roth revealed. “I don’t like using my powers to tell people they suck. I’d rather just rap about what’s going on in my head. As far as content and substance, I don’t think [I’m like Eminem], but you never really know…I’m just happy I’ve been given a platform. Being white spawns [comparisons] right off the bat, but I think time is on my side, and people will see that there’s something really here.” (New York Post)
Popular battle rapper Jadakiss previously shared some insight on going after artists on diss records.
“You need the people on your side if you’re feuding with any artist or anybody,” Kiss explained. “If the people believe in you and they behind you, you’ll be able to have a good come out in the end, like the results will be all right. And then, these rap feuds be really frivolous like you know what I mean, they don’t be like, it’s not really over money or it’s not over somebody violating somebody’s family. I mean now they gettin’ to that with this whole Internet thing you know what I mean.” (Hard Knock TV)
In 2002, Em released the film 8 Mile which focused on his rise to stardom as a battle rapper in Detroit.
A rap version of “Saturday Night Fever.” B-Rabbit, a wannabe rapper from the wrong side of Detroit’s 8 Mile, has problems: he dumps his girlfriend when she tells him she’s pregnant; to save money to make a demo tape, he moves into his alcoholic mom’s trailer; his job’s a dead end, and he’s just choked at the local head-to-head rap contest. Things improve when he meets Alex – an aspiring model headed for New York – and a fast-talking pal promises to set up the demo. Then new setbacks: Alex isn’t faithful, mom rejects him, rifts surface with his friends, and he’s mugged by rivals. Everything hinges on the next rap showdown at the club. Can B-Rabbit pull truth out of his cap? (IMDb)
Check out Eminem’s interview below: