We've been on a pretty big early Eminem kick lately.
Just in the last week we dug deep on his failed and mostly forgotten first single, and then of course there was that amazing early press release we found. You know, the one where Em's a lowly underground emcee looking for a deal?
And today we got some more vintage Marshall Mathers in the form of this 1999 freestyle that Tim Westwood unearthed from his vault. Now I know a lot of people on these pages consider themselves hip-hop historians, so this will also serve as a great test. Go ahead and listen to this freestyle and tell me if anything sounds familiar.
If you said wait, aren't those the verses from "Any Man" congratulations, you also clearly grew up in the era when Soundbombing II was required listening.
In fact, I'm pretty sure that tape was the first time I ever heard Em - it was either that or his Wake Up Show freestyle. Both "Any Man" and this Westwood freestyle came out in 1999 so I don't know which came first, but regardless, it's obvious there were the illest bars Slim Shady had on deck at the time.
Anyway, whether you're an old man like me or just hearing this for the first time, it's a powerful reminder of just what a purely talented emcee Em always was, and an additional reminder of what we lost when we lost Proof. Seriously though - how dope was Proof?
[By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.]