Eminem may be one of the biggest and best-known rappers in the world but Hip-Hop Evolution takes us back to where it all started
To remain the dominant force in the streaming industry, Netlifx has been churning out the original content at an ever-increasing pace.
The latest addition to the streaming service is season 3 of Hip-Hop Evolution, a documentary series co-produced by the HBO network in the USA.
The series takes us behind the scenes of rappers and the music they create, dating as far back as the 1970s and 80s and bringing us more up to date with the Hip-Hop stars of the 90s and 00s.
Episode 3 of the third season shows us the underground rap scene of the mid-to-late 90s including the rapid rise of one Marshall Mathers, better known as Eminem.
Pass the Mic’
Episode 3 takes us into the hip-hip underground, examining how rap battles were born out of informal street gatherings known as cyphers and grew into a proving ground for up and coming artists to prove themselves.
We hear from a number of rappers who describe how the cyphers came into being and quickly became banned in New York City under the orders of former Mayor, Rudy Guiliani.
Of course, New York wasn’t the only place where these rap battles took place and it was one such gathering in Detroit where one artist started making a real name for himself before reaching global stardom.
Hip-Hop Evolution: The Story of Eminem
Eminem arrived on the hip-hop scene as a complete unknown and a total outsider in the primarily black industry.
The Hip-Hop Shop
Eminem grew to prominence rapping in the Hip-Hop Shop, a clothes shop in Detroit where rappers gathered for cyphers and the location where Eminem made a name for himself.
One rapper in the documentary explains his shock not only Eminem’s appearance at the cyphers but also his impressive ability to rap even stating that: “I didn’t even know white people rapped.”
The Slim Shady LP
Eventually, thanks to the fact that no one actually bought clothes from the aforementioned Hip-Hop Shop, the venue closed down and its rappers had to find somewhere else to display their talents.
For Eminem, that just happened to be a record-making career that is still active today.
After a lacklustre start with the 1996 effort Infinite, the rapper rose to instant fame with Slim Shady LP which is widely regarded as one of his finest albums to this day.
Produced by Dr. Dre
The Slim Shady LP was produced by non-other than Dr. Dre, a huge figure in the industry and a massive draw for Eminem when he was looking to build an audience.
Being produced by Dr. Dre was seen as a big thing at the time. ‘If Dre saw something in Eminem, he had to be good’ one rapper explains.
The pair’s relationship has continued ever since with Dr. Dre working as a producer on every single one of Eminem’s albums since.
The Slim Shady Show
Eminem’s career was no doubt helped by the MTV series The Slim Shady Show which aired between 2000-2003 which not only helped popularise Eminem’s Slim Shady alter ego but the hip-hop genre as well, bringing it to the masses in the late 90s and early 2000s.
While Eminem’s music may still hold up to this day, looking back at The Slim Shady Show and it’s very much a different story.
Sold more than 100 million records
One of the final things mentioned about Eminem is that, thanks to his meteoric rise to fame, since the lates 90s when his career really took off, he’s sold over 100 million records worldwide, something that only a few artists in the world can boast.
It’s only fitting that, while the series focuses primarily on the black origins of rap music, that one of the genre’s biggest stars is given a mention in the episode in question.
All three seasons of Hip-Hop Evolution are available to stream now on Netflix.