The G.O.A.T. of movies “8 Mile” hit theaters 15 years ago today. If you’re from the Detroit area and 8 Mile isn’t your favorite movie I have to question you because it was an absolute masterpiece. Cinematic perfection. And, whether you’re from the area or not, if you’ve never seen the movie I’m not even sure you’re a real person.
What a story. What a film. One of perseverance, standing up for yourself and taking the risk to do something potentially LEGENDARY with your life. You don’t have to settle for being a factory worker, just go to your nearest battle rap shelter and get the ball rolling.
I find myself watching the final battle raps on YouTube at least once a month, give or take. It gets me pumped every time. Electricity flows through my body when Eminem’s character, B-Rabbit, eviscerates Papa Doc and his crew. It’s basically as close you can get to murdering a person with words. Eminem picks them off one at a time like a systemic sniper fighting to keep his squad alive. You think the pressure is too much? Not in the second go-around for B-Rabbit. This is better than Eminem’s takedown of President Trump.
Like I said, the final battle raps get me juiced like I just took a shot of pure adrenaline. By the end I’m jumping around like the rest of The Shelter, but in the privacy of my own home. When B-Rabbit says, “Now everybody from the 313 put your motherfucking hands up and follow me,” you better believe my hands go up to the moon. And Papa Doc is still a chump for not putting his hands up. What a loser.
But the reason the rap against Papa Doc is undoubtedly the most hype I ever get to any form of music is because the rawness in which Eminem speaks. I’m not even sure if he was acting. You can see the real pain in his eyes and struggle in his soul as he battles the Free World. He’s pretty much saying, “This is me. I’m always going to be me. I’ve got nothing to hide. I’m proud of who I am, but can you say the same?” It sends the message to never be ashamed of where you came from. You could see the embarrassment in Papa Doc’s face when B-Rabbit informed the crowd that he went to the preppy private school Cranbrook. It was at that moment that Papa Doc had no more ammunition against Rabbit because Rabbit said it all. If you’re not embarrassed or ashamed about something in your past, nobody can use it negatively against you.
The movie is semiautobiographical, which means it’s a fairly true story of Eminem’s upbringing. If even 5% of that movie is true it doesn’t matter because it was the real story and accurate depiction of Detroit. The film made $51 million in the opening weekend after having a budget of $41 million. The total earning now stands at roughly $250 million.
With that being said, here’s 15 facts in celebration of 15 years of 8 Mile.
- Eminem was supposed to play the lead role in Southpaw but his schedule was too busy at the time. It was intended to be a metaphorical continuation of 8 Mile. Southpaw echoed the struggles of Eminem on the top of the food chain while 8 Mile was a reflection of Eminem’s early struggles. Eminem ended up writing the songs Kings Never Die and Phenomenal for the movie.
- Eminem won an Oscar at the 2003 Academy Awards for Best Original Song for Lose Yourself. It was the first rap song to win the award. I also listened to that song before every hockey game I ever played. If you think there’s a better pregame song than this one that’s okay but you’re wrong and I hate you.
- The piece of paper that Eminem wrote the song Lose Yourself on was sold at an auction for north of $10,000.
- Eminem didn’t attend the Academy Awards because he didn’t think he had a chance to win the award.
- 8 Mile is Anthony Mackie’s first film credit who plays Papa Doc. I’m surprised this guy is still alive after what B-Rabbit did to him. Yeah, I know Papa Doc is a movie character. But like I said, that last rap by B-Rabbit feels so real I’m even shocked that the real life Mackie was able to recover enough to become a superhero. Maybe Rabbit inspired him to help Captain America save the world?
- In the original script of the film, Eminem’s character Rabbit worked as a hotel bellboy instead of at a factory. Glad they went with idea number two.
- “Boyz n the Hood” director John Singleton has a cameo as a bouncer in the film.
- Eminem wrote the raps for 8 Mile while the film was being shot. In between scenes he would take out his pen and paper and jot down his legendary cyphers like he was back on the bus on his way to work at the factory.
- Rapper Xzibit has a cameo as a factory worker. Pretty safe to say that nobody remembers Xzibit as a rapper. He was that dude on Pimp My Ride (Not the guys below).
- The name 8 Mile wasn’t chosen as the film’s title until the end of filming. Before then it was just titled UDP: Untitled Detroit Project.
- Eminem lost 24 lbs. for the role and had to dye his hair black. This was the moment we saw an evolution in Eminem from his blonde-headed Taco Bell & Mt. Dew days to a better physique.
- The atmosphere of the rap battles was reportedly so intense and long that multiple people in the audience passed out or threw up during filming.
- The city of Detroit tried to block the house-burning scene. “When we were seeking permits, the city was really opposed. Back then there was an arson problem in Detroit, specifically on the night before Halloween (Devil’s Night).” Ultimately, the city made them choose a house already scheduled for demolition on old crack house blocks and had to pay for the cleanup and contribute to the block’s beautification.
- “The Shelter” was recreated inside and out. The Shelter, where the battles took place, is based off the basement in St. Andrew’s Hall in Detroit that carries the same name and still exists today. People drive around Detroit looking for that alley that Eminem walks off into in the final scene. But that alley doesn’t exist because it was a recreated interior set so don’t waste your time looking for it.
- This is the greatest movie of all time. Ever. Period.
READ: Eminem destroys Trump