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Old School Archives

Looking back at Eminem's role in '8 Mile'

As Eminem gears up to be a part of the biggest Super Bowl Halftime show of all time, alongside Dr Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J Blige and Snoop Dogg, we’re looking back at one of his greatest achievements — 8 Mile.

The world of musical performance, be it rap, hip hop, rock and roll or pop, is easily assimilated with that of the acting stage. Hollywood has long welcomed the stars of the music world over to the glitz and glamour of the silver screen if the promise of higher ticket sales loomed. However, not everybody has made the transition seamlessly. While some performers take to the notion of portraying a character like a duck to water, some bomb.

Stepping out into a role for a feature film with little to no acting experience is incredibly daunting. Sure, the rappers who star in films have gained a grip on stage fright from their own careers, they likely know how to hold the attention of the crowd and work a camera, but these pictures are the major leagues and there can be no room for missteps. For Eminem, things were even more pressurised.

It’s one thing to star in somebody else’s movies, but to be the figure of your own narrative is altogether more difficult. However, somehow, the star pulled it off providing his audience with a classic film and perhaps the only well-executed rap battle in Hollywood history.

Arguably one of the greatest rappers alive, Eminem’s career arguably peaked with this triumphant performance in 8 Mile. A semi-autobiographical tale of how B Rabbit, played by Eminem, rose up the ranks of a battle rap league to gain prominence.

Reflecting moments of Em’s own journey within the rap Olympics, where he was talent-spotted, we won’t say there was a lot of true ‘acting’ going on, but he did deliver a memorable production.

The film can also boast filming the least embarrassing battle rap scene for a film ever, which considering how many have tried, is truly some feat. The playful interchange between powerful potency and jovial jabs is what makes Eminem a great rapper and lets 8 Mile be a high-quality film.