Detroit rapper Marv Won tells the epic story about battling Eminem on the set of “8 Mile” and how it went on to change his life.
Those familiar with the Detroit hip-hop scene probably know the name Marv Won, lyrically deadly member of the Fat Killahz and a prominent name in the battle rap circuit. Some eagle-eyed viewers may even remember him from an 8 Mile bonus feature battle, during which he went head to head with Eminem in a tilt that has since garnered half-a-million YouTube views. In fact, Marv recently held it down with an appearance on Math Hoffa’s My Expert Opinion podcast, where he discussed his battle with Slim Shady at length.
“Everybody that was an extra in that movie was a rapper in the city of Detroit,” explains Marv. From there, his longtime collaborator Quest Mcody (also appearing on the podcast) added that “people who say that Em don’t do shit or hasn’t done shit for the city outside of the philantrophy that isn’t promoted, I know for a fact that as a teenager I got paid a lot of money per hour to do absolutely nothing but stand around and meet some of the greatest rappers in the world.”
“At that point, we were rowdy,” explains Marv. “What the director decided, was he was going to do a contest. We gon’ pick three people to come up here and pantomime scenes. [Em] was going to rap, and it was going to be some b-roll.” Though he was originally hesitant to sign up, Marv’s manager told him to sign up and try to land the position. “I was one of the n***as that made it to the finals. So they bring [Em] in, and they like alright, just spit a verse.”
“It got more of a reaction than he wanted,” reflects Marv. “What people don’t know is he was rapping when the beat came on, but the mic was off. So the beat dropped, and he’s rapping but nobody hears it. And I’m trying not to break character, like “for real?” And I’ll never forget, he’s flipping his mic, and he’s like I got something for your fat ass, Marv. And he raps, and I’m like you can’t let me have this moment?”
“He raps, I beat him,” says Marv, his nonchalance sparking laughter throughout the room. “That’s my man. But what I’ll say, is that shit literally changed my life. Not even on a money standpoint, but the fact that when that DVD dropped, they used that scene to sell DVDs. Up until that point, my mom thought I was wasting my time. Honestly, I had been all these places but it didn’t resonate. Until she’s looking at Entertainment Tonight and they’re playing the scene….I’m forever indebted, nobody can say anything bad about that man to me. That’s my actual man.” And to make it even better, Em actually ended up asking Marv for a rematch during a party at the Slim Shady manor.
For those who might not know, Marv Won is a formidable battle rapper in his own right. In the early millennium, he and Quest McCody held it down in the World Rap Championships, representing Detroit all the way to the semi-finals, where they were eliminated by the eventual champions TheSaurus and Illmaculate. To this day, Marv has been a fixture on the battle circuit, and those who appreciate that particular side of the culture will likely hold his opinion in high esteem.
Be sure to check out Marv and Quest chop it up with Math Hoffa on My Expert Opinion, a must-watch if you’re looking for some insight into the underground.