10 years ago today, Eminem and his best friend and partner-in-rhyme Proof dropped by Tim Westwood’s studio in the UK and delivered a seven-minute freestyle session that somehow never saw the light of day — until now. The Tim Westwood Youtube page posted the audio along with an animated video that humorously depicts Proof and Em’s jokingly deranged punchlines with cartoonish symbolism and archival footage of the two rappers from simpler times.
Judging from the timeline and the content, this freestyle would likely have taken place during the promotional cycle for Eminem’s Relapse, which was his return to the Slim Shady alter ego he’d used since making his mainstream debut 1998, but retired upon adopting a sober lifestyle. Although the album received mixed reviews at the time, it’s since undergone a critical reevaluation, with some fans praising the return of horrorcore aspects to Eminem’s flow which had been missing since his album Encore released four years before.
Like the album it was probably promoting, Eminem’s Tim Westwood freestyle is a return to form, as he improvises goofball boasts about eating crack cocaine and doing B-boy dance moves. Meanwhile, Proof seems to stumble over the show’s “no swearing” policy, but picks up in the latter half of the session, although Em doesn’t seem to like the “happy” beat. All in all, it’s an effective slice of nostalgia for fans of the rapper, who’s still locked in 10 years later.