As everyone who’s seen 8 Mile knows, Eminem got his start on Detroit’s extremely competitive rap-battle circuit. And now he’s helping to produce a new venture that aims to turn battle-rap into something resembling a legitimate sport. Em and Slaughterhouse, the Shady Records rap crew, are teaming up to present a new rap-battle league called Total Slaughter, which will hold its inaugural event this summer in New York. Long relegated to YouTube, street DVDs, and the short-lived MTV2 show Fight Klub, the rap-battle underground could possibly, perhaps, get some form of legitimacy from this thing, although it’s hard to imagine anything this by-its-very-nature chaotic turning orderly enough to become an actual sport. But Eminem’s manager Paul Rosenberg has big plans, telling Rolling Stone, “What we look at this opportunity as, is a way to do for battle rapping what UFC did for MMA. That’s really the model we’re basing it on. It’s this great thing that a lot of people love, but it’s very splintered, and it’s very niche, and it’s not really brought into the right production levels that it can or should be.”
The first card will take place at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom 7/12, and it’ll include Slaughterhouse member Joe Budden coming out of battle retirement to take on one Hollow Da Don, as well as a rematch of this storied 2003 battle between New York fixtures Loaded Lux and Murda Mook. Here’s the hype video:
Rosenberg claims that Em is very unlikely to return to battling himself, but, I mean, that would be something, wouldn’t it?