Battle rap OG Poison Pen dropped some serious history knowledge on the Uppercut Podcast. This New York legend, who’s practically seen it all in the battle scene, recalled some epic moments from back in the day, including an early Eminem battle and Proof being booed onstage.

Pen takes it back to 88 Hip-Hop, an internet radio station that was ground zero for battle rap. According to Pen, Eminem wasn’t just some random white dude with a mic. He was out there battling for respect on the corner outside 88 Hip-Hop radio headquarters. This was where Pen first crossed paths with a young Slim Shady:

88 Hip-Hop was very pivotal because it was not just young motherfuckers like us. I told you Fat Joe, Pun, and other motherfuckers were there. I met Eminem there. He battled my man, Karate Joe. Rest in peace, Karate Joe, Flatbush finest. He battled on the corner for cigarettes, and Em pulled up with The Outsidaz, with Young Zee; Pace was not there, but Young Zee was there. We were young, we knew who Young Zee was, we didn’t know the white boy with a hood on. Em was ridiculous! Karate Joe and Eminem rhymed back and forth for 114 years on the corner. Of course there is no footage of that. Things like that would happen regularly outside. That’s where I met him.

Pen also shared a surprising story about Proof. Apparently, Proof once competed in a battle against a female MC and completely smoked her. However, the crowd wasn’t feeling Proof’s aggression and ended up booing him:

Then I linked up with Proof. Rest in peace. Proof used to come out here. Proof did the Blaze battle. Proof actually got booed cause he battled a female, and he smoked her! I don’t remember the girl’s name, but he battled a shorty and smoked her! This is also a different era, so he was talking wild, disrespecting the fuck out of her, so she got the sympathy vote ’cause he was going so hard on her. Obviously, he won. They weren’t having that, so they booed him and shit, and the shorty got the sympathy win, and Proof lost. That shit was crazy. That’s history right there.

These stories are a reminder of how Eminem and Proof honed their skills in the trenches. From street corner battles to battles against established names, they put in the work to become the legends we know today.

Watch the video below:

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