For Eminem 8 Mile is a fictionalized autobiography with some killer freestyle rap battles. I’d like to take a few minutes and highlight my favorite punchlines that occur during the various battles and explain why those lyrics are so powerful in the movie.
Outside the lunch truck: “Your style is doo doo… You’ve worked here longer than me I make more than you do!” followed by “Check this out yo yo, He cashed his whole check and bought 1 ho ho!”
“I’ll crack your shoulder blade and hit you so hard Elvis’ll turn in his grave…”
“So sue me… This is a horror flick, but the black guy doesn’t die in this movie”
“Is that a new bra? Look, Snoop Dogg got a boob job!”
These lines bring a smile to my face every time I watch 8 Mile. So what is it that makes these lines especially powerful, and how can battle rappers improve their punchlines? As you’ll notice, every punchline mentioned here has a few elements in common:
They’re specific. Whether it’s making fun of someone who’s broke or whose shirt is too tight, these punchlines only work on the person they’re thrown at. This is why they work so well; we all have heard a million “Yo Mama” jokes, but as we’ve seen Eminem (aka B. Rabbit) and .other rappers in the film do time and time again, specifics are what win the day.
The punchlines are also well delivered. They each have a pause between the set up and the punchline. Like a heavyweight boxer, it’s important to combine a strong one-two punch to knock out opponents. Eminem is a well known freestyler, who took second place at the Freestyle Olympics (which got the attention of Dr. Dre), and most of the actors in 8 Mile freestyle as well. Their smooth delivery is no accident; for maximum effect, they pause so the audience can really understand where they’re taking the lyrics.
For Eminem 8 Mile as a film is a chance to demonstrate his artistic skills, rically and on screen. For those who have seen the bonus DVD battles, you can certainly attest that he can freestyle battle with anyone on 8 Mile! He was able topple random MC’s who were chosen to be extras on the film because they beat everyone else. If you haven’t seen the DVD bonus, I highly recommend it.
As for rappers in movies, which do you prefer? Eminem 8 Mile or 50 Cent: Get Rich Or Die Trying?