This 1998 Cypher By Eminem & Royce Da 5’9″ Was A Preview Of Much Greatness to Come (Mix)

As a DJ at NYC’s legendary Fat Beats record store, as well as on college radio and about town, during the 90s and beyond, DJ Eclipse had a critical role at helping to break some of the most acclaimed MCs in Hip-Hop history. Similar to the Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito show on Columbia University’s WKCR, WNYU’s Halftime Show, when helmed by Eclipse, was a platform that showcased the finest underground Hip-Hop and emerging artists.

Eclipse’s access has given him a treasure trove of memorable moments over the decades, including vintage performances by Big Daddy Kane, and back in the day freestyles from Kanye West, Lord Finesse, Common (Sense) and Hieroglyphics. As a special holiday gift, he digs in the vault and pulls out a two and a half hour Halftime Show from September of 1998. In addition to an incredible mix of music from the likes of Black Star, Defari, M.O.P., Fat Joe, Boot Camp Clik, Gang Starr, Mobb Deep and more, the show also features a guest appearance by Bad Meets Evil (aka Eminem and Royce Da 5’9″).

After a brief interview, the pair tear into a nearly 8 minute cypher. Royce and Em Heads will no doubt recognize lyrics from songs and other radio shows that would manifest later, but hearing the young, hungry MCs play off one another and take turns attacking the mic with aggression is something to behold. Take a listen to the entire mix and see what Eclipse had to say about it below.

The Halftime Show w/DJ Riz & DJ Eclipse (w/Eminem & Royce Da 5’9″) 89.1 WNYU September 23, 1998 by Itsdjeclipse on Mixcloud

Here are some words from DJ Eclipse about the mix: “Merry Christmas everyone! Here goes another Halftime show from ’98 with guests Eminem and Royce Da 5’9″ (85:53). Short interview right into the freestyle session (if only cats today were as hungry as the 90s generation). As usual, Riz sets off the show lovely and then half way through I get on to finish up. Always good listening to the mic breaks to see what was going on during that time (i.e. Tramps shows, Fat Beats in-stores, new mixer…thanks Fat Beats!) (52:25). So much good music played. Last mic break at 147:39. Enjoy.”

Related: A 1997 Eminem Freestyle Surfaces, With Some Slick Slim Shady Rawness (Audio)