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Very few artists would say their success happened overnight. It may have just taken one song for them to blow up, but it’s likely that they had been working towards that moment for years. Many emcees start of in their teens – freestyling, battling, writing whenever they can, hustling, trying to make their dream come true. For the few that do make it, there are hundreds, even thousands more who don’t. It’s cool to see footage of the lucky few when they were just a kid with a dream, battling in their friend’s basement or freestyling in the school lunchroom. Here are some videos of popular rappers BEFORE the fame.

J. Cole

Before he was the first son of Roc Nation, Jermaine Cole was just a kid in an oversized t-shirt frestyling in a basement. He had skills even back then, though.

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50 Cent

Before creating his G-Unit empire and releasing one of the biggest debut albums in rap history, 50 Cent was just a hungry New York emcee freestyling with Consequence, N.O.R.E. and Punchline.


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Eminem

Eminem cut his teeth in the battle rap scene.

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Nicki Minaj

Before taking the rap world by storm with her army of Harajuku Barbies, Nicki was spitting hard on ‘the come up.’

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