Eminem is often spoken of as a highly technical and calculated rapper. He has flow and style, but it works in a unique way that he’s cultivated throughout the years. You hear him rap, and you can tell it’s Eminem, from the vocal inflexions to the tone, and especially down to the lyrics and writing itself.
One of the conclusions this can lead to about his work is that it comes out of sitting down and writing—of concentrating and studying, as if the calculated nature of his work is in a sense, literature. And although this is undoubtedly a part of the equation—especially when it comes to his writing and current writing process—there’s also another component that comes along with practising rap and honing one’s skills on the mic. And that component is the freestyle, of course!
Even if Eminem might not be the first person you think of to come out with incredible freestyles, there is something to be said for being able to bust out any rhymes you have knocking around inside your head and being able to play around with them. Even if they aren’t sharp, calculated lines, freestyle boosts the flow and allows you to play around with inflexion—another arguable strength of Eminem’s
And one of the places Eminem has had the space to explore this is the freestyle he did for the BBC, which lasted a whopping eight and a half minutes. Even if it isn’t all lyrical gold—which, there’s plenty in there, too—being able to go for that long is an undoubted strength in its own right.
Listening to the freestyle in full, there’s a sense of fun and quirkiness to it all. The lyric “I like Jell-O” literally pops up within the initial few bars, which is enough to make someone laugh a little, even in the context of the wider freestyle.
Whether or not you’re a devoted fan of Eminem, this freestyle is no doubt impressive, and it’s absolutely worth a listen. It doesn’t necessarily flow like a regular song, especially at the impressive run time, but there’s a marvel in seeing where he goes at every twist and turn in the proverbial narrative.
If you want to check out the longest freestyle Eminem has put out to date, you can check out the eight-minute masterpiece he did for the BBC in the video down below. It’s at least worth a watch once.