Before Eminem became one of the most successful rappers of all time, he was a struggling MC. He'd been cutting his teeth in Detroit and traveling to battle other aspiring rappers. By 1998, he was signed to Dr. Dre's Aftermath, but hadn't released his debut album yet. Still, there came a moment that year where Em felt he'd finally made it.
That moment came on Aug. 20, 1998 when Slim Shady and his longtime partner-in-rhyme Royce Da 5'9" appeared on New York's "The Stretch Armstrong Show," a radio program hosted by DJ Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia. Em breaks this down in "Stretch And Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives," an upcoming documentary about the show.
"Stretch and Bobbito, that was our dream" Eminem says in the trailer. "It felt like we made it. This was it."
Complex Media's Chief Content Officer Noah Callahan-Bever was present on the day Em appeared on the show. "At the time we knew that this was a significant moment in the career of Eminem, his NYC baptism by fire," he wrote for Complex, "but I don’t think any of us had a sense of the significance it would have in story of 'The Stretch Armstrong Show.'"
Other notable MCs have similarly praised the radio program in different ways. The trailer shows interviews with Jay Z and Nas, for instance, and in a clip, the Illmatic MC said he viewed it as "the most important show in the world."
"Stretch And Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives" is set to be released next month. Screening information can be found here and the trailer can be seen at Complex. The Em and Royce "Stretch Armstrong" freestyle can be heard below.