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Eminem's freestyle battle contest heads to the finals in Detroit

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Image Credit: Johnny Nunez/WireImage.comAll summer long, Eminem and his cronies have been criss-crossing the country looking for the best unknown freestyle rappers at a series of audition events. Now it’s time to crown a victor. The finals of the awkwardly titled Red Bull EmSee: The Road to 8 Mile contest will take place in Eminem’s hometown of Detroit on Aug. 26, next Thursday. Em himself will judge the finalists’ improvised rhymes.

Eminem first got the music industry’s attention by placing well at an organized freestyle competition in 1997. Before that, of course, he cut his teeth at local battles like the ones dramatized in 8 Mile. It’s cool that he’s bringing that tradition full circle and giving some new rappers a chance to shine. That’s especially true these days, when the word “freestyle” hardly means what it used to — respected artists regularly “freestyle” during radio appearances by reading pre-written rhymes off of their BlackBerries, a dubious practice that I have to assume won’t fly here.

Have you been at any of the EmSee events? Rooting for anyone in the finals? Let us know.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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