Unless you’re an idiot, or, like, 13, you’ll know that Eminem started out in the battle rap arena. A phenomenally quick-witted rhymer, he may rarely descend into the field of freestyle these days (though he is just about to launch a new Pay-Per-View series called Total Slaughter), it’s incontestable that Marshall is one of the arena’s true champions. To mark the start of his Wembley tour, we pick our five favourite freestyles from the Blond Bomber, leaving an honourable mention to his (apparent) loss at the hands of Skinnyman at Subterranea in the early noughties. Can somebody please put that up on the Internets? Thanks
Recorded in 99 for Kurt Loder’s MTV News segment, the then fledgling MC took Loder on a tour of Detroit, before Em and Proof delivered a taut volley of rhymes live and direct from a Vauxhall Nova. Certain lines might be ‘pre-written’, but you can see from the veins popping in Em’s neck that his brain is searching for the perfect off-the-top sentence structure. The love of wordplay and deep friendship between Em and Proof, and the joy they get from making up the dopest shit ever, is palpable. “RIP DeShaun ‘Proof’ Holton".