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Eminem's 2012 VIBE Cover Story: 8 Miles and Runnin'

It took six weeks of rehearsals and reams of flubbed lines, but by the time 8 Mile hit theaters, Eminem had scored a hip-hop movie masterpiece. Shining a light on both sides of Detroit’s railroad tracks—trailer parks and battle cyphers—Em’s first leading role is a true underdog story, bolstered by callous punch lines and a guy named Cheddar Bob. Ten years after the classic film’s premiere, VIBE rounds up the gang—Eminem, Mekhi Phifer, Anthony Mackie, Evan Jones and Omar Benson Miller—to wax cinematic. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime…
Written by Jeff Rosenthal

VIBE: Eminem, at the time you hadn’t really acted before; but the story was based in Detroit, based off of some of your life experiences. When the cameras stopped rolling, did you feel that you headed further into these guys’ world of acting, or they into yours?
Eminem (B-Rabbit): I definitely felt like I was about to embark on some shit that was not necessarily up my alley. It was all brand new, and I’m so glad I had all of these guys around me. My hardest part, was remembering the lines. ‘Cause really, all I had to do was take myself back into the mind frame of how I felt before I got signed with Dre. It wasn’t really too much to just be myself.
Anthony Mackie (Papa Doc): It was crazy for me because it was my first job. When we started, I didn’t really have no lines. Motherfuckers would be like, “Yo, your character sucks, so we just added this. Do this.” My biggest thing was just trying to be on the same level as Mekhi fucking Phifer.
Mekhi Phifer (Future): You pulled it off, Cat Daddy! You pulled it off!
Eminem: When I look back at the movie, one of the cool things is we all became friends on the set. The film carried over to how we [eventually] interacted in real life.
You always said this isn’t your life story. Does it matter that everybody thinks it is?
Eminem: It doesn’t really matter to me. People who really listen to my music probably know what’s real in that movie and what’s not. There were bits and pieces that were taken from my life, but for the most part, it was the story of the underdog. We rehearsed so much before we even started the film, and I was in every scene. I was there every day from 6 a.m. until—half the time—5 in the morning the next day. It became a point where I felt like I am this person. I’m fucking B-Rabbit because I was living this movie. I had no choice but to be him.
In hindsight, everyone thinks this movie was an easy decision, but the studio and Jimmy Iovine were wondering if this could hurt the Eminem brand. Mariah Carey’s Glitter had just tanked and the last time Universal had worked with a rapper was on Cool As Ice with Vanilla Ice. Mekhi, you initially passed on the movie. Why?
Phifer: I was due to start ER and 9/11 had just happened. They was like, “Okay, we want you to fly to Detroit.” It was like, September 13. “I ain’t getting on no plane! I’m staying here and I’m gonna be a doctor, Goddamn it!” I hadn’t read the script yet, and they were so hush-hush about the script that I had to sit and read it in [director] Curtis [Hanson’s] office because they weren’t releasing it. But when I read it, I thought, Oh, this is kinda slick! They had me go to Detroit to see if me and Em was going to have chemistry…This cat became my man so fast that I was like, “This is gonna be dope.” And when I met all the rest of the guys, I was all in. It was the best decision I ever made.
Omar Benson Miller (Sol George): 8 Mile is so revered, it’s like everywhere I go, somebody’s talking about it. Yesterday, me and Cheddar were walking down the street, heads down, and some kid walked up to us from behind and was like, “Anything goes when it comes to hoes/I’m the kingpin when it comes to flows…”
Evan Jones (Cheddar Bob): [Laughs] Yeah, who wrote that rap?
Eminem: That shit should’ve been a single. “Ten freaky girls! Ten! Ten!”
Benson Miller: I just want to bring up something: Because of Em’s celebrity, not being able to move around so much, Proof was out there a lot. And I can remember the wrap party literally... We kept singing the song and they didn’t want to let me and Cheddar into the wrap party because they didn’t know who we were. Proof came out and it was all good! I’ve been doing movies for a while now, and there’s a lot of funny dudes out there. The inclusive nature of you guys, Em and Mekhi, who were already on and who were senior to us in that sense, was great. It was really something special.
Eminem: I definitely appreciate that.
Phifer: You’re cool cats. Y’all made it easy on us.
Mekhi, your character was based off of Proof. Did you have any long conversations to try and really understand who he was?
Phifer: I definitely spoke to Proof. I didn’t sit him down, because to me the character spoke for itself. I mean, I wanted to portray him as he was in ’95. That’s why you see me with that wig, that crazy wig! [Laughs] And that even came down to the wire—we almost couldn’t do dreads because they couldn’t get the wig right.
Eminem: [Laughs] We used to call Proof “the Wolverine” because at the Hip-Hop Shop, his hair was crazy. I think that, for the most part, being that I wasn’t playing Marshall, Mekhi’s character didn’t have to be exactly like Proof. As long as it had that authenticity, which I felt it did. He just had to be Detroit.
Evan, what was Eminem like in those first rehearsals?
Eminem: I was a fucking dick! [Laughs]
Jones: Like everyone’s been saying, he was fantastic. Right off the bat, he took us to the Detroit Lions game. On the way back, you jumped in our car and played us some new tunes off your album [The Eminem Show], and it was so good. You made us all feel like family.

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Stream: Hulu's 'FYRE Fraud' Doc Examines The Festival That Scammed Thousands

In 2017, rumors of an exclusive festival taking place in the Bahamas took over social media. Organized by Billy McFarland and promoted by Ja Rule, the FYRE Festival was the new, cool kid on the festival block and quickly put other more seasoned festivals to shame.

But all that glitters isn't gold.

FYRE FRAUD, the new documentary streaming on Hulu, takes an intimate look at the scam that left thousands stranded on the island. Directed by Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby, the dark-comedy interviews whistleblowers, victims, and the convicted con-man himself, McFarland.

In a press release, Fraust and Wiloughby said the goal isn't to make light of those who were scammed.

"Our aim was to set the stage for a strange journey into the moral abyss of our digital age, going beyond the meme to show an ecosystem of enablers, driven by profit and willing to look the other way, for their own gain.

"We draw on countless cultural references, on true crime tension, and on humor - but we did not intend to create a toothless comedy about the Fyre Festival. We hope this film can pierce our collective apathy and disrupt our own millennial peers, if only for an instant - to look at these stories for what they truly are, and to halt this algorithm before it devours us whole."

FYRE FRAUD is now streaming on Hulu.

 

 

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Nas Claimed Jay-Z Knew About R. Kelly's Predatory Behavior In Resurfaced Interview

R. Kelly's reported predatory behavior was painfully public for decades, leading many to dig in the archives to see just how many of his former collaborators knew of the singer's ways.

This week, a Nas interview with Wendy Williams resurfaced with the rapper angrily calling out Jay-Z for continuing to work with the singer after rumors continued to spread about Kelly's interest in teenage girls. The year was 2002 and for many hip-hop historians, the time of Nas' and Jay's infamous feud.

“That’s not my style,” Illmatic emcee said on Williams’ former 107.5 FM radio show. “I could have shown the R. Kelly video that everybody’s talking about and made fun of it and show pictures of Jay hanging out. You can’t tell me Jay didn’t see a 14-year-old girl come into the studio and sit on R. Kelly’s lap. You gonna tell me he didn’t see no 14-year-old girl come into the vicinity?"

In the early aughts, Jay and Kelly paired up to release Best of Both Worlds after their successful single collaborations, "Fiesta" (Remix) and "Guilty Until Proven Innocent" went to the top of the charts. 2002 was also the year recordings of Kelly engaging in sex acts with a 14-year-old circulated around the country and later, the internet. In his interview, Nas brings up Kelly's problems and explained how he saw a "little problems" with his behavior.

“You’ve seen it go down. I’ve been around R. Kelly … I’ve been on tours with him. I didn’t see no 14-year-old, but I talked to the man and see there’s a little problem there. The brother needs help and I pray for him. I’m here for the people. I’m here to talk [about] the truth.”

Nearly 17 years before the 6-part docuseries Surviving R. Kelly upended his sex cults, the unearthed discussion shows how complicit people were in the 52-year-old's perversions.

In an unearthed interview from 2002, #Nas tells #WendyWilliams that #JayZ had to have known about #RKelly and 14 year old girls when they worked on #BestOfBothWorlds

A post shared by the Jasmine BRAND (@thejasminebrand_) on Jan 15, 2019 at 7:40am PST

A claim launched long before Surviving R.Kelly aired in January 2019, the rapper professes that both him and HOV knew that Kelly had taken a liking to young girls, though Nas asserts that he never saw young girls while with Kelly.

The Lifetime limited series was a 6-part exposé chronicling the generational abuse faced by young women and girls at the hands of the pied piper of R&B. Director dream hampton previously stated former colleagues of Kelly's declined to be interviewed for the doc including Jay-Z .

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Dave Chappelle Isn't Sure His R. Kelly 'Chappelle Show' Skits Were Insensitive

The Surviving R. Kelly series may be over, but the fallout from it has seemingly just begun.

Director dream hampton took to Twitter during the airing of the Lifetime documentary and spoke honestly about the several celebrity men she contacted in hopes they'd speak on camera about R. Kelly and the years of sexual allegations that have shadowed him. Among them was Dave Chappelle.

The beloved comic famously made a music video entitled "Piss On You" mocking the real-life video of R. Kelly urinating on an underage girl. During the Chappelle Show heyday, he used R.Kelly's legal woes as material for years.

TMZ caught with Chappelle in West Hollywood and asked him if he regretted not being featured in hampton's series and instead he dodged the question.

"Jesus Christ, I just had dinner," Chappelle said in between taking a drag of his cigarette. "I just ate. Strop bringing that motherf**ker up."

When pressed about whether or not he thinks his old skits were insensitive, the 45-year-old said "I don't know. I'd have to watch it again."

D.L. Hughley joined Chappelle for dinner and commented on R.Kelly and the forthcoming Michael Jackson documentary, Leaving Neverland, which outlines sexual assault allegations against the late singer.

"If you can be mad at R. Kelly, you should be mad at Michael Jackson," Hughley said.

 

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