Throwback Thursday: Eminem

In The Freestyle Battles At The Rap Olympics 1997

posted February 27, 2014 12:00:00 PM CST | 9 comments

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This video of the 1997 Battle Rap Olympics exposes an early Eminem's battle rapping prowess.

If you’re an Eminem fan, a freestyle rap fan, or just a fan of old school hip-hop culture in general, you’ll probably enjoy this video. 1997 was a formative year for Marshall Mathers. Prior to developing his Slim Shady alter-ego, an early Eminem had released his first album, Infinite, under an independent label. The album flopped, Marshall was dead-broke, and almost ended it all at one point. The rage in Mathers’ life is what spurred on his then-new alter-ego, and the result is what you’re seeing here. Eminem decimated his opponents with rhymes similar to what you hear on his earlier, angrier albums. Interestingly enough, Eminem did not win the Rap Olympics competition in 1997, placing second to Otherwize. However, an Interscope Records employee impressed with Mathers’ performance purchased his newly-released Slim Shady EP and handed it off to Interscope co-founder Jimmy Iovine. Iovine played it for Dr. Dre, leading to Marshall’s signing to Aftermath. The rest is history.

-Sterling Sackey

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