Hip-hop star Eminem is setting up a competitive rap battle league and accompanying reality TV show to raise the profile of the lyrical face-offs.
The Stan hitmaker helped launched his career in rapping tournaments, in which two competitors go head-to-head firing rapid improvised lyrics at each other.
He has now set up a league table called Total Slaughter, aimed at publicising emerging rappers, and the inaugural event is set to take place in July (14) in New York City.
Eminem tells Rolling Stone, "I came up battling at the same time I was making records and learning my way around the studio. It's a little bit different in terms of the kinds of tools you need, but the competitiveness is the same. The times I didn't win gave me just as much light in the past as when I did. It's all about your performance."
Paul Rosenberg, Eminem's manager and partner in Total Slaughter, adds, "What we look at this opportunity as, is a way to do for battle rapping what UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) did for MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). That's really the model we're basing it on. It's this great thing that a lot of people love, but it's very splintered, and it's very niche, and it's not really brought into the right production levels that it can or should be."
The first event will feature rappers including Joe Budden, Murda Mook and Loaded Lux.
A TV show will accompany the competition, showing aspiring rappers sharing a house and competing for a place at the events.