There are many stereotypical knee-slappers about Midwest cities. No city is the butt of more jokes than “the D,” “Det-roilet,” or just plain Detroit. Once the gold standard of cities, it is now home to a lot of hardship and resilience, to say the least. Yet it gave birth to one of the most influential MC’s of our time: Marshall Mathers III, a.k.a. Slim Shady, a.k.a. Eminem (Em).
Even though the story of Em’s upbringing is similar to that of the current city of Detroit, this article isn’t about his life. It’s about a new VR (virtual reality) experience created by Felix and Paul Studios which debuted at Sundance 2019: Marshall From Detroit. The 21-minute piece is a digital tour of Detroit that highlights Eminem’s story.
It starts in an SUV with Sway Calloway interviewing Em while driving around the city. Em talks about the city’s turmoil and reconstruction throughout the years. As they’re talking, you get a 360-degree view of a city few have ever experienced. Listening to stories about Em’s life while visiting glamorous and non-glamours locations which feel like real time.
The combination of interview and tour walks you through abandoned buildings and theaters Em used to rap at before he got big, proving a glimpse into what it was like having a rap battle around a flaming garbage can in the winter. He recalls stories of how Detroit has shaped him as an artist and why he decided to never leave and always have a base in his hometown. As a music reviewer, I have a lot of respect for any artists who make that decision.
The VR experience Marshall in Detroit is obviously in its infancy, but it’s truly exciting to this new form of storytelling first hand. As we all know, technology is only getting better, faster, smaller, and simpler. It can take the viewer to places they have never seen. From a concert standpoint, it can take you backstage and really give a real glimpse into the life of the artist, which may potentially kill our addiction to the millennial disease of FOMO (fear of missing out).
Marshall From Detroit will be available in the Oculus store soon
Read the full description below:
“Growing up, Marshall Mathers dreamed of rapping his way out of Detroit. Years and fortunes later, he still hasn’t left. Now in this intimate VR experience, take a surreal ride on a cold winter night with Sway Calloway and Eminem himself, Witness Detroit as never before as the two old friends swap stories, discuss dream and keep it 100. Marshall From Detroit is a lyrical and atmospheric study of a legend, his hometown, and how a place can shape you.”