On July 12th, Eminem and Shady Records will launch their rap battle league, Total Slaughter.
"What we look at this opportunity as, is a way to do for battle rapping what UFC did for MMA," Rosenberg tells Rolling Stone. "That's really the model we're basing it on. It's this great thing that a lot of people love, but it's very splintered, and it's very niche, and it's not really brought into the right production levels that it can or should be."
"I'm a passionate battle fan, so this is something I've always thought about doing," adds Eminem, whose Shady Films is co-producing the event. "I came up battling at the same time I was making records and learning my way around the studio. It's a little bit different in terms of the kinds of tools you need, but the competitiveness is the same. The times I didn't win gave me just as much light in the past as when I did. It's all about your performance."
Kicking things off, we're hit with the first official trailer for the inaugural event, which promises a long-awaited rematch between Loaded Lux and Murda Mook and confirms Joe Budden's participation as he will square off with veteran battler Hollow Da Don.
"Once the Internet started making it surge, Mook and Lux is probably the highest viewed battle from that time," says Slaughterhouse's Royce Da 5'9". "And to this day it's still up in the air. Back then, there were no judges. They went five or six rounds and there was no general consensus as to who won that battle. And those guys went on from there and basically wiped everybody out. Mayweather and Pacquiao. That's essentially what they are to battle rap."
The other battle leading the July event will be the return to competition of Slaughterhouse's Joe Budden, who will be taking on NYC bruiser Hollow Da Don. "He plans on coming out of battle retirement and kind of showing the established guys can still do it," says Royce. "I don't know why people think that we can't. But we can. I got all the confidence in the world in Joe. Hollow is a great battle rapper... but he's in over his head a little bit. Joe is an upper echelon guy. I'm a real fan, so I know Hallow has more of a problem on his hands than he thinks he does."
The event's undercard will be decided by a 4-part reality series called Road to Total Slaughter, airing on WatchLOUD.com.
"This is the exact same way the UFC was to MMA," says Royce of Total Slaughter. They thought these guys were bar-brawlers and cab-drivers, they didn't realize how much technical skill went into it until somebody put that on a platform. This is the exact same vision that we all see in these guys. These guys are gladiators."
Tickets go on limited pre-sale May 2nd; available to the public May 16th.