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Supernatural: The Lost Freestyle Files



Album: The Lost Freestyle Files
Label: BabyGrande

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Eminem's film debut 8 Mile helped bring the intensity and adrenaline-pumping combat of battle-rap to the masses, but fans looking for an additional fix had to look further than the multi-platinum soundtrack, which eschewed the movie's riveting battle sequences in favor of studio tracks. The 8 Mile album's loss is Supernatural's gain. The legendary freestyler and battle-rapper has capitalized on his subgenre's sudden surge in popularity by releasing The Lost Freestyle Files, a singular and exciting collection of studio tracks, live performances, freestyles, and battle-rap sessions. The disc's studio tracks confirm Supernatural's ability to excel outside his forte, but the battles set Files apart. The album's centerpiece is an already-legendary battle between Supernatural and Chicago freestyle king Juice that's equal parts linguistic chess match and no-holds-barred street brawl. The former was declared the winner, but the decision was controversial, and it's easy to see why: Supernatural is a superbly gifted battle-rapper with an impressive bag of tricks and gimmicks, but Juice ruthlessly exploits his competition's weaknesses and turns his stylistic stunts against him before a crowd whose allegiances seem split evenly. Supernatural's battle with Craig G–who wrote the battle-raps for Eminem's 8 Mile opponents–is fiercer and less memorable, but still raw and dripping with atmosphere, and an extended live performance showcases Supernatural's improvisational skills while reinforcing the connection between battle-rapping and its cousin, improvisational comedy. Even The Lost Freestyle Files' piecemeal construction works in Supernatural's favor, perfectly encapsulating the life and career of an MC whose work is defined by ephemera rather than songs and albums.