Eminem Is Producing A Battle Rap Satire Film Filled With Social Commentary (Video)
It’s been nearly 18 years to the date since 8 Mile hit theaters, a film which solidified Eminem’s place in the pop-culture zeitgeist. At the time of its debut, Eminem was several months removed from the release of The Eminem Show, his fourth studio album and one that would eventually release a diamond certification from the Recording Industry Association Of America. Eminem would become an Oscar winner thanks to “Lose Yourself,” which featured prominently on 8 Mile‘s soundtrack. The film, which co-starred Eminem alongside Mekhi Phifer, the late Brittany Murphy, Michael Shannon, Kim Basinger and others, was also important in bringing Battle Rap to a mainstream audience; Eminem plays “B-Rabbit,” a Detroit battle rapper whose dedication to the craft is tested several times over.
Now, it’s 2018, and Marshall Mathers is bringing Battle Rap back to the silver screen. On November 2, select theaters will begin screening Bodied, a satirical look at the goings-on of the Battle-Rap world. Produced by Eminem and directed by venerated music-video director Joseph Khan (whose work on Eminem’s “Without Me” earned him a Grammy Award), the film follows “Adam Merkin” (played by Calum Worthy) as he accidentally puts forth a winning performance in his first battle. His nemesis is “Behn Grym” (played by Real Husbands of Hollywood’s Jackie Long) and together, the two launch insults at one another as they compete for the crown.
Bodied, which also stars Anthony Michael Hall, goes beyond superficial disses and takes a look at some of the social undertones of Battle-Rap culture. The main character, “Adam,” is a white Berkeley graduate, which brings with it much of the film’s contextual framework. In the trailer, the battle host character is an obvious lampoon of the stereotypical white rap fan; he’s ostentatious, has an affected accent and appropriates Black slang. Elsewhere in the trailer, another character asks “Adam” what he does, besides “appropriate Black culture for your livelihood.” The movie documents a fictionalized version of what can happen when an outsider infiltrates Battle-Rap culture, but not just from a white perspective. One of the film’s co-stars is Dumbfoundead, the Korean-American Los Angeles rapper who spoke with the Toronto International Film Festival about tackling issues of race within Hip-Hop (co-stars and battle stars Alex “Kid Twist” Larsen and Dizaster also spoke).
Those unable to catch Bodied in theaters will have the opportunity to watch it on YouTube Premium beginning November 28.