DETROIT -- Eminem gave the thumbs-up to a fellow Detroit rapper on Thursday night (Aug. 26), crowning teenaged MC FowL the winner of the nationwide Red Bull EmSee: Road to 8 Mile national finals at St. Andrews Hall.
FowL (real name Saffal Tall) is an 18-year-old who recently graduated from Martin Luther High School and starts classes at Michigan State University next week. He took the competition -- which was judged by Eminem, his hype man Denaun Porter and DJ Alchemist -- by winning three rounds of rap battles with flows that not only insulted his opponents but also hyped the virtues of his home town, much to the delight of the partisan crowd that packed the club.
In the final round FowL -- who released a mixtape, "The Commencement," earlier this year -- handily defeated D.N.A. from Queens, N.Y., who surrendered after being shouted down by the St. Andrews audience. Asked how he felt about his victory, a broadly smiling FowL led the crowd through a couple of Detroit-related chants before saying, "That's about it."
As the contest winner, FowL will have the opportunity to record at Red Bull Studios in Santa Monica, Calif., with "a headlining producer" who has not been specified.
Thursday's contest was filled with celebrities from the rap world, including Bun B., DJ Jazzy Jeff, Cowboy Troy from Big & Rich's Musik Mafia and Detroit hip-hop luminaries Trick Trick, King Gordy, Skillz and Slum Village's Elzhi. Eminem mentor Dr. Dre was in Detroit on Thursday but was not seen at St. Andrews.
Slaughterhouse, an all-star group that includes Detroiter Royce da 5'9", closed the night with a performance. Eminem, who headlines a pair of shows with Jay-Z on Sept. 2-3 at Comerica Park, was expected to perform as well but left after the judging was completed.
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