Eminem vs Canibus: "The most theatrical emcee battle of all time" (LAST UPDATE: 5/31/09) ...


Mar 27, 2005 (Updated Nov 24, 2009)


The Bottom Line All the information you need to know on this beef, spanning from 1998 to 2007.

WARNING: this essay is EXTREMELY LONG so unless you want a real in-depth look at this lyrical battle, don’t read this. Otherwise, enjoy.

MOST RECENT UPDATE: 5/31/09


I’m sure every Hip-Hopper has heard about the beef that has gone on between the two well known emcees Canibus and Eminem. On one side, you have Canibus, the emcee who, for the most part, stays one dimensional and gives us mostly battle raps. Already known for his publicized beef with LL Cool J, and his less publicized beefs with Beanie Sigel and Truck Turner, Bis can be vicious as he wants to in battle. On the other side you have Eminem, the popular emcee who is known most for his ill lyrics and shock tactics. Aside from LL, Em is probably the most battle tested emcee of all time. But while Em was already familiar with lyrical beefs, Bis was his first real competition and the first rapper who you could honestly match him line for line (I mean come on, can you call Ja Rule, Everlast, Benzino, or the Insane Clown Posse lyrical competition for Em?). Many believe it just started when Em called him "Canibitch’ on his 2002 album, "The Eminem Show", but thats not true. Not to many people know that the beef has been boiling since before Em was even signed. I’ll be the first to admit that many of the disses here are pure speculation but there are some that are straight out obvious. Let me fill you in on what has been described as ‘the most theatrical emcee battle of all time’:

In 2002, Em spoke on how the beef with Canibus started on Tim Westwood’s hip-hop radio show in the United Kingdom, all while him and Proof (of D12) called Bis names like ‘Canibitch’ and ‘Canishit’. While the audio itself is extremely hard to find on its own, someone was cool enough to upload the interview to Youtube, so you can hear it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfwNOJdZYwM

According to Em, the beef started in 1998, before Em was even signed. Of course, a different beef was heating up at that time: Bis and LL Cool J. LL had just released “The Ripper Strikes Back”, a response to Bis’ “Second Round K.O.”. The diss track as a whole was decent, though L relied on using stuff Bis said in his track to go back at him, and not doing anything original. In fact, the best original disses were aimed not at Bis, but at Mike Tyson, who appeared with Bis on the track. Canibus’ manager at the time, Wyclef Jean, told Bis that he heard Eminem ghostwrote the lyrics to the track. With that, Bis and Wyclef invited Em to the video shoot of the Canibus song “I Honor U” so they could talk to him about it directly. Wyclef asked him first, and Em denied the claims that he wrote it. Later, Bis asked Em again separately. Em’s reply to him was that “Yo, I’m a grown man. I would tell you if I wrote it or not”. Em then said he wanted to do something with Bis, like a collaboration or something. Bis’ response was “Yo dogg, get to know me first”, with Bis basically acting rude towards him.

It must be noted that Em apparently had much love for Bis before the situation at the video shoot. However, after this whole situation went down (as well as Bis' debut coming out and receiving less-than-stellar reviews), Em's opinion obviously seemed to change. And that's when the dissig started.

Em started taking shots at Bis in two of his tracks. The first was on his major label debut, “The Slim Shady LP” on the song “Role Model”: “I'm cancerous, so when I diss you wouldn't wanna answer this / if you responded back with a battle rap you wrote for Canibus / I’ll strangle you to death then I’ll choke you again / Then break your fuckin’ legs till your bones poke through your skin / You beef wit me, I'mma even the score equally / Take you on Jerry Springer, and beat your ass legally”. I know you could say that could’ve been taken either way, but I believe it was a diss referencing the ghostwriting incident in a peculiar way. It should also be noted that "Role Model" was later released as a radio single, and just like the previous singles released from the album ("My Name Is" and "Guilty Conscience") some of the raunchier and more explicit lines were changed. The lines directly following 'the battle rap for Canibus' lines were changed for the mention of killing, but these new lines made another reference to Canibus, this time talking about LL and stealing the mic off his arm, referencing Bis' original changed lines from "4,3,2,1" (which is how the beef between L and Bis started). The censored, radio version of "Role Model" goes like this: “I'm cancerous, so when I diss you wouldn't wanna answer this / if you responded back with a battle rap you wrote for Canibus / a Hellspawn, dropping a stealth bomb / six mics in The Source, they borrowed one from LL's arm”.

The second track was “Get You Mad” from the Sway and Tech “This or That” mix. The first two lines don’t diss Bis, but refer to his beef with LL in the same matter that the edited lines from "Role Model" did: “My attitude is worse than NWA's was, I'll battle you over stupid shit / and diss people who don’t have shit to do with it, like Cool J Does (MY TATTOO!)" but the real diss towards Bis was later on, when Em talked about his ‘plan for emcees to get record deals’: “Lesson Three: Get a job at a label / Switch demos with Canibus and put yours on the owner's table (here listen!)” I believe that diss was a shot at Bis’ material, saying that if you switch your demo with Canibus, you'll surprise the label heads because Canibus' shit isn’t impressive.

Also Em apparently slammed Bis in an interview after his Slim Shady LP was released; he was asked this question: "If you could take back anything you said, what would it be?" Em replied "That Canibus is dope, cause he isn't".

Ok, now back to Em’s explanation of the beef from the Westwood show. According to Em, Canibus came to see him on the Warped Tour the following year and apologized for his reactions and asked if Eminem was still up for doing collaboration. Em said yes and so the track was going to be made for Bis’ second album, 2000 B.C. Bis presented Em with the track “Phuk U”, with only Bis’ first two verses on there, and the third verse for Em to fill in. Unfortunately, Em said he wasn’t feeling the track and turned it down. When the track came out Em said the third verse sounded like it was directed toward him or LL, but he couldn't really tell. However, in an interview with allhiphop.com in 2001 (done right after C True Hollywood Stories came out), Bis was asked if he directed the verse at Em:

"Now with the subtle disses to Em on this CD, did you have a verse dissing Eminem on the song "F-YOU" off your last album?

You know I’ve heard people talking about that but I wouldn’t say that it was about Eminem. Everytime people hear me rhyme they analyze my lyrics to death. But as far as Eminem, let me say this- I got a mutual respect for Eminem because between his rhyming content and delivery, I think he's tight and that goes with out saying. He's got the total package and has proven himself in the arena of selling records. So for the record I do wanna say that he is tight without a shadow of a doubt. If you ask Em about me he will say the same thing about me. As far as our careers it's just that he ran off with Dre when he got in the game and I ran off with Clef you know? If the tables were turned then maybe things would have been different also.
"

Is the verse directed at Em or not? You be the judge:

"Aiyyo, your superstar status don't mean shit to me
Lyrically, sucker emcees still get fricasseed
Try to diss me now, how you sound?
Yo, whoever signed you must be runnin' the circus cuz you a clown
You a rapper wit a drug habit, hidin' the truth
Camouflagin ya needle tracks wit some colorful tattoos
You was never equipped for this, never equipped to spit wit Bis
I'm swift as shit, let me point out the main differences
You magnificent, I'm ‘Mic-Nificent’
Yo, I’d even go out on a limb wit it, say you write a little bit
That don't make you a tight lyricist cause you don't practice or stick with it
Look at the 60 hour shifts I spend wit this
I never quit, I got a gift for the art
A low-maintenance cost, no physical moving parts
In 98, niggas thought I was God, how the FUCK did that change?
I'm STILL one of the illest niggas in the game
So look inside yourself, and tell me what you see
If you see a hungry nigga then you looking at me
And it’s alright if you don’t trust me cause I don’t trust you
As a matter of fact, I'd probably bust you, motherfucker, FUCK YOU!
"
- Canibus, third verse of “Phuk U

2000 B.C. leaked a few months before it was released in July so Em had heard it I’m guessing in May, right before his 2nd major album, “The Marshall Mathers LP” was released. After this, the freestyle disses started coming on the radio and live shows. Eminem and Proof went on Tim Westwood’s show in 2000, taking an outright shot at Canibus in a freestyle. Bis never really dissed Em before then, but he did say a few things that could’ve been aimed at Em. The first of these lines were used in a 100 bar freestyle at Hot 97’s Radio Station on the day before his album was released, perhaps making a reference that Em was wack because he was "not black". Another line from that freestyle could've been a reference to Em's lines from the Westwood freestyle (listed below), saying Bis can freestyle. Another one of these supposed jabs by Bis towards Em was at a live show in England. Shortly after performing what would become the next LL diss track, “Rip the Jacker”, he kept freestyling and said a line that could have been aimed at Em, saying his stuff at the Rap Olympics, where competed and lost in the final round, was wack.

Plus I provoke you and then I bust
Freestyles y’all can’t trust, I’m like Canibus
I bust, Can I Bus? No you can’t
But yes I can, cause I’m Slim Shady and I’m the man

- Eminem, freestyling over "4, 3, 2, 1” on the Tim Westwood radio show in 2000

Aiyyo, we flex styles like a Bisec’
I found out where Canibus’ money went, I borrowed a dollar from Wyclef

- Proof, freestyling over "4, 3, 2, 1” on the Tim Westwood radio show in 2000 (Immediately following Em’s lines listed above)

Thought I couldn't freestyle? You must be freebasing'"
...
"Listen, it’s not like I’m wack, it’s not like I can’t rap
It’s not like I’m not black so cop that

- Canibus, Release Day freestyle on DJ Clue’s show on July 17th (the day before 2000 B.C. came out)

And I’m tired of all these wack niggas and wack wiggers
With wack lyrics, bring that shit to the Rap Olympics

- Canibus, Freestyling live in London in December in 2000

Things stayed quiet for a while; Eminem’s career skyrocketed, while Canibus’ career went, sadly, downwards. In what was an interesting development, Bis' third album, 2001's “C True Hollywood Stories”, was a satirical take on the current state of Hip-Hop and the record industry. The most well known track on the album was “U Didn’t Care”, where Bis continued the story of “Stan”, the Eminem track from the MMLP. He spoke as Stan for the entire track; It was a creative amusing conceptual song that proclaimed Canibus' dedication to his fans, saying he’s different from the mainstream artists who could care less about them. It’s viewed as an Eminem diss song, but he didn’t diss him much until the last verse. He spoke on the ghostwriting incident, and then took a few actual shots at Em by reminding him (still as Stan) that he too was once the fan and that we all have idols.

Matter of fact, I think he (Bis) met you
It was the day you came to his video shoot with DJ, Jimmy's nephew *
'Clef stepped to him and told him he should step to you
That you was ghostwriting for L, but that wasn't true
You was lookin’ at him the same way I'm lookin’ at you
Why can't we be friends Em'? I don't want nothin’ from you
You see there's a little bit of Stan in all of us
Tell me, where you think all of these record sales spawned from?
Talkin’ 'bout Britney and Christina Aguilera?
N'sync too, have you ever looked in a mirror?
Your hair ain't really blonde, and ya eyes ain't blue
So never diss me, cuz when you diss me you’re dissin’ you
"
- Canibus, from “U Didn’t Care

* NOTE: 'Jimmy' is a reference to Jimmy Iovine, founder of Interscope Records, which is the parent label to Shady/Aftermath

In 2002, Em decided he wouldn’t let Bis get away with dissing him. On his album, “The Eminem Show”, he took various shots at the Canibus man. The first of these tracks were “Square Dance”. Everyone thought this track was a diss towards Nelly since Em used the southern drawl Nelly used in “Hot in Herre”, but that wasn’t the case here. Em refers to him as 'Canibitch', in the first verse ("Canibitch don't want no beef with Slim / NO! Not even on my radar / so won't you please jump off my dick, lay off and stay off") and the outro ("Canibitch won't square dance with me / Fanibitch won't square dance with me / Canada-bis don't want no parts of me...), but most of the disses are subliminal. The lines "On your knees, got you under siege / Somebody, you would give a lung to be / Hun-ga-ry, like a fuckin younger me / Fuck the fee, I can get you jumped for free" are a rebuttal to the track "Phuk U" (he’s referring to is "look inside yourself..." lines). And the lines "Yeah buddy, laugh it's funny, I have the money / to have you killed by somebody who has nothing" are a rebuttal to the line from the Jay-Z diss from CTHS "I Got a Story to Tell" (I had nothing before and I have nothing now / Fuckin with a nigga with nothing only brings you down"). The other subliminal diss is one line referencing Bis' song "Draft Me!" (where Bis talked about defending his country) which then leads him into some introspective lyrics about getting drafted for the army even if you’re too young (“Yeah you laugh till your motherfucking as gets drafted”)

He also went out of his way to diss Bis a few times in “Say What You Say”. For the most part, the track is a diss to Jermaine Dupri, who had put himself above Dre as the best producer in the game in an interview. This first part is one I missed at first but it is indeed directed at Bis: “First take, I make mistakes, just keep it / no punches pulled, no punches, that’s weak shit / fake shit, if I ever take shit, I’ll eat shit / wasn’t for him, wouldn’t be shit”. The line that proved to me that it was a diss towards Bis was the ‘no punches’ line. Em would mention Bis’ punchlines in a later diss (mentioned later in this review), practically begging for Bis to use punchlines in his disses towards Em. I looked at it like “No punches? That’s weak shit!”, meaning that if Bis wasn’t using punchlines to diss Em, it would be only looked at as weak. The line that confused me was the last one, “wasn’t for him, wouldn’t be shit”. That could be taken one of three ways: As a reference to himself, saying he wouldn’t be anything without Dre, a producing pioneer in Hip-Hop, backing him with his dope production; a reference to JD, saying that JD wouldn’t even be producing if it wasn’t for Dre’s influence; OR it could’ve been a reference to Canibus, saying that if it wasn’t for his beef with LL Cool J, he would still be just another no-name underground rapper. You can take that however you want, but Em DID go on to mention Bis in the track by name later on: Second verse, it gets worse, it gets no better than this / Amateurs drink veteran piss / from a Dixie cup; if you ever mix me up / or confuse me with a Canibus or Dre with a Dupri, / we’ll rub it in, every club you’re in / we’ll have you blackballed and make sure you never rap a-fuckin’-gain”.

But perhaps his best diss towards Bis from The Eminem Show album was his verse in the song “When The Music Stops”. He constantly refers to his Bis’ known DJ Clue freestyle (the one that begins with "I speak at frequencies dogs would have trouble hearing / Canibus is the lyrical Version of German engineering.") when you finish the verse, you realize it is a satire of Bis’ freestyle. If you don't understand, let me explain. With the line "If there ain't shit for me to feed off, I'm see-saw battling”, he’s calling out his battle with Bis, saying if they aren’t working together, then they are battling. In the lines “But there's way too much at stake for me to be fake / There's too much on my plate / I done came way too far in this game to turn and walk away / and not say what I got to say” he notes how Bis called him a Stan in “U Didn’t Care”, and says he has struggled too much to get to the top of the rap game just to act fake (or let Canibus get away with dissing him). The lines “What the fuck you take me for, a joke? You smoking crack?” and “I'll get up 'fore I get down, run myself in the ground / ‘fore I put some wack shit out” are a reference to the CTHS album as a whole, saying Bis must be smoking crack for taking him as a joke and that he’d kill himself before he’d put out a wack album like it. He goes after Bis with a few challenges, first a physical one, like he did to Everlast and ICP, then challenges him to freestyle, the first reference to Bis’ freestyle I mentioned ("Fuck shooting, I'm just trying to knock his teeth out / fuck with me now bich, let’s see you freestyle”). Em then makes a CLEAR reference to Canibus' freestyle with the line “Motherfucker if you really feeling froggish, leap” This cements the verse as a satire of Canibus' DJ Clue Freestyle, as in that old verse, Bis used the line “You feel like a frog nigga, then jump”. He then says that CTHS was an attempt to diss him and he won’t let him get away with it (“Yo Slim, you gonna let him get away with that? He tried to play you! You can't let him escape with that!”) and then ends his verse saying that CTHS shouldn’t even be considered rap because he’s confusing Hip-Hop with a ‘True Hollywood Story’ (“This ain't rap, this is crazy the way we act / when we confuse Hip-Hop with real life, when the music stops”).

The string of Canibus disses continued throughout the months. On a Kay Slay mixtape, Eminem did a freestyle over the beat that would later be used for “Love Me” (from the 8 Mile Soundtrack), making a little Canibus reference: “I live for the love of rap, you crazy? / I’ve made beats for Jay-Z for free, page me / if you need a beat, you Canibus? Then it’s Dre’s fee / For Kay Slay, the fee’s waved”. With still no response from Bis, Em continued on a track from Xzibit's 4th release 'Man Vs Machine' called “Say My Name”, which was a diss track to everyone who had dissed them in the past months. The diss was mainly aimed at Jermaine Dupri, but Em took shots at Bis as well: "I'd rather have my motherfucking ass kicked by Moby / before I let some bitch in a can like Bis cop over me / to do war, and try to bring my crew back down / I’d never stoop to that level to do that now”.

In November, Bis made a return, in a BIG way with his fourth album, “Mic Club: The Curriculum”. Out of the thirteen tracks, two took outright shots at Em. The first was “Dr C, Ph.D.” He took a few shots at his hype man, Proof (“If you ain't got this album you missin' the 'proof’" and “If you don't like the quality, then talk to me / what the fuck you on a website for you creep? / Punchin' the keys / remember that sound, cause that's exactly what it sounds like when I'm punchin' ya' teeth”), but kept most of the dissing around Em. He lets us know even though he wanted to quit the game, he got back in to take care of Em ("Got in the groove even though I'm not in the mood") and he lets us know that no matter what, he will shine in the limelight of a white emcee ("My nuclear rocket plumes glow against the 'pale' background of the moon"). He later brings up the interview I mentioned from the past, and he tells Em that even though he misinterpreted the meaning of CTHS, he’d know this was an all out attack on him (“I'm spittin' divine, you cant get it twisted this time"). And here are some of the more obvious disses to him:

"Motherfucker you didn't win cause I can't lose
Give the fans a chance to choose? FUCK YOU!
Who's the illest? Who's it really up to?
Rapid fire, you better run for the pacifier
Tie you up and drown you in a saliva quagmire
Till your oxygen expires and ya' lungs dry up
cause you said Bis ain't dope - you a damn liar!
"
….
"Yo, I soak that sugarcoated shit in soy sauce
Tell the FCC boss 'Turn that noise off!'
Call Detroit’s mafia boss
Tell 'em 'Yo I gotta' job for you, I want you to bust his balls
Drop him off by Niagara Falls
Write my name on a banana and put the banana between his jaws'
"
….
"Kick a rap bitch - if you got the gumption to speak
Stand next to me I might put a lump in ya' meat
Diss you and ya' man, double the beef
to tell you the truth, I thought ya' rebuttal was weak
Round the outside, blah blah, etcetera, etcetera
The body of my literature is bigger than South America
Nigga' look - this is all I got to say
You can suck my P-H-D-I-C-K!
"
- Canibus, from “Dr C Ph.D.

The second diss was on one of Bis’ best songs ever, “Curriculum 101”, in which he dissed the entire rap industry, and also dissed Em in the process. He used a few metaphors to show that in a battle Em could get destroyed. He makes a reference to the battle with LL, when got a tattoo similar to LL's; Canibus is stating that after he defeats Eminem he will put a tattoo of a C on Eminem to really show how bad he won, in contrast to when he got the tattoo of LL when he won that one. He also goes on to call Em ignorant for a couple of reasons; one because his rhymes are plain and simple, while he (Bis) used words that shouldn’t rhyme but made them rhyme anyway, and two because he misunderstood the true meaning of CTHS (which was to satirize the industry), saying he (Em) doesn’t understand what the narrator (Bis) is trying to say about the rap industry.

"Anybody better than Bis MUST be a hoax
Black man, NOPE, What about the Great White Hope?
WHAT?! Man you must be sniffin' great white coke
Don't you know that's like Gary Coleman fightin' the Hulk?!
And still not even quite that close
a great white bitin' ya' rubber dingy boat 50 miles out from the coast
What the fuck is the Mathers wit' you?
I'll beat you black and blue, then I'll probably get a tat of you too
Better yet I'll put a tattoo of me on you
A 10 by 10 "C" logo neon blue
The most theatrical MC battle of all time
I rip jackers like you - you know the call sign
The killer cobra that'll hover over Jehovah
in a motorized autogiro with sycamore rotors
Hydrogen peroxide gaseous vapors
Technically these words shouldn't even rhyme off paper
In theory for every soul that can hear me I'mma blaze' em
In practical practice, my style’s even greater
Can't you see what I'm spittin'? Can't you hear the difference?
Compared to me you're energetically inefficient
You need 10 times the enzymes to process one of my rhymes
You gotta rewind every one of my lines
Do you know how to paraphrase?
Can you even understand what the narrator is try to say?
"
- Canibus, from “Curriculum 101

There was also another diss on the Mic Club album ... on the CD itself, there is a word search. In the word search, there are the titles of some of the album tracks ("Curriculum 101" , "Poet Laureate", "Drama A/T" for example), his names ("Canibus" and "Rip the Jacker") and even a message to his loyal fanbase ("One Luv To My Fans"). But in paticular, they had four words that werent all together but were so close they could've been connected: "Battle" "Me" "Slim" "Shady". They also mention "Damage Control", a track that was supposed to be on the album but was taken off at the last minute, along with a few other tracks (These tracks were apparently titled "You Don't Wanna Battle", "Behind the Music", and "A Beautiful Mind"); "Damage Control" was also rumored to be the full-blown Eminem diss. Go here to see the word search ("Battle" is highlighted inb Purple and "Slim Shady" is highlighted in red ... "Me" isn't highlighted, but look to the left of Battle & you'll see it): http://tiny.cc/ZKB8l

At the end of 02/beginning of 03, Em was engaged in another beef, this time with co-owner of The Source, Benzino. In Benzino’s first diss, he referenced Canibus in the lines “You ran to your manager, asked him how to handle this / Five shades darker, motherfucker, you’d be Canibus / No one would care about your complicated rhyme style / Just another backpack rapper out of style”. In Em’s response “Nail in the Coffin”, he didn’t diss Canibus right out but could’ve meant something by it. In these lines he started to change his voice to sound like Canibus, I guess to mock him at the same time: “Here, let me break this shit down / in laymen’s terms for you, just to make sure / that you (imitating Canibus) can understand this when Canibus aint using / to many complicated fuckin’ words for you”. Not a diss to Bis lyric wise, but still, it has to be mentioned.

In 2003, when Bis released two mixtapes to hype people up for his new album, “Rip The Jacker”, one of the tapes included “How Many Emcees”, another track that dissed Eminem, calling him a Stan and referring to the past when Em called Bis' names out in songs for no reason. He also sends a rebuttal to Em's disses towards him from "When the Music Stops" from TES. Here, Bis lets him know it wasn’t an attempt at dissing him, but it was a sick concept of parodying the industry. Also when Bis says at the end "'I'll battle you on the net, I'll battle you in the flesh' / y'all niggas know the rest, don’t fuck with bis" It’s another rebuttal to WTMS. the "I'll battle you" line is from the DJ Clue freestyle and with the second line he is saying that you shouldn’t make a satire of my verse there cause mine is better, they'll remember that one line and know its better than your shit so 'don’t fuck with Bis'.

Ya know, I think it's just time to be grateful
For every emcee that came through and spit tape-full's of data for you
Every album before this, I made it for you
Nowadays, the truth is I got nothin' to prove
But I heard him call my name a couple times,
in a couple of his rhymes and I thought about it a couple of times
Is he lookin for a response or is he being a jerk?
Or am I just to involved in my work?
I thought to myself, "why he put my name in his verse"?
When he said I wasn’t ill he just made things worse
That’s when I recognized what Stan was worth,
the only man on earth that could reverse the Cool J curse
I served him, like a nigga without purpose
Constantly taking Rip the Jacker back and forth to my therapist
I wasn’t prepared for this,
People wanna embarrass Bis for reasons that are not really apparent to me yet
What, I can’t get signed because I got mad at a vet?
How could a couple verses have so much anger in 'em?
Don't you know the difference between Rip The Jacker and Bis?
Go use the Pythagoras theory and do the math on this
Add up every multi syllable paragraph
that I’ve managed to average since January 96,
and tell me when you find it you dick ridin' bitch
I’m so sick of you bein skeptical always runnin behind my shit,
tell me the truth, you really think its time that I quit?
You think maybe I could wholesale these rhymes that I spit?
I guess the nicest emcees got tired of Bis
And lied to themselves, like they never relied on Bis
The real rock of the game, people have climed on Bis
Rhyme more sick than anybody out your clique
With thousands of niggas to vouch for that shit
I got a couple bitches too, I make 'em bow to the dick
The album is sick, some Hollywood biography shit,
the difference between ships in bottles, and bottles in ships
Fuckin' wit Rip, they find your fossils at the bottoms of cliffs
Stick 6 mics up your ass even though I doubt it will fit

- Canibus, from “How Many Emcees

When the tracklisting to “Rip The Jacker” first was released 2 or 3 months before the album was released, M-Sea-Creasy was rumored to be an Eminem diss (i guess it was to meant something like "Em, is he Crazy?") Though he doesn’t go all out at Em like he did on Mic Club, he does talk about what kind of emcee Mr. Mathers really is: "You cant battle me so you'd rather embarrass me / i maintain dignity in the face of calamity / they reach out they hand at me and talk dishonestly / but i read through there syntactic structure like Noam Chomsky". You wouldn’t normally think these lines referred to Em but I think it did because in the upcoming months, Em proved this to be true to me. On an Obie Trice mixtape “The Bar is Open” (which was released a week before Obie’s debut “Cheers” was released) It included “Funk Flex Interlude”. In this interlude, Em imitated Funkmaster Flex, saying he will ask the other emcees what they thought about Obie, which led to Em imitating various Emcees saying Obie is tight. The list included Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, and then Canibus. When he did Canibus, he used his imitation Canibus voice to mock him and spit a few lines imitating his style. I guess he did this to let everyone know he hasn’t forgotten about him:

[Eminem, in Bis’ voice]
Yo this is Canibus, the rhyme analyst
I aint feeling Obie Trice, I hope he gets covered and smothered in tarantulas
Before metaphors with reservoir dogs
Before Christ was hung on the cross, before- {Gunfire}


[Normal voice]
Get the FUCK outta here!
- Eminem, “Funk Flex Interlude

On October 20th of 2003, more shots at Canibus were taken, this time at Eminem's Birthday party. Not much is really known about that happened, but supposedly, Proof got Em to go with him to his favorite club because Canibus was going to battle him there. (NOTE: If you look it up, most stories say Bis was going to battle Em, but the truth is the match was gonna be Bis vs. Proof. Proof even put up posters and flyers saying "BIG PROOF VS CANIBUS", which can be seen here: http://tiny.cc/OYF6A). When Em got there, Bis supposedly was waiting for them. Em was eyeballing him, but then Proof got up and revealed the guy was actually just a look-a-like. Em then re-named the rapper Canibitch (again) and sat back as Big Daddy Kane and Doug E Fresh performed a surprise gig for him (footage of this has been posted at Rapbasement.com: http://tiny.cc/k7Jk4).

But things didnt REALLY heat up until the next month. In November of 2003, the beef ignited in a full force. In that month, while Em was under fire from the Benzino and the media for some basement tapes he made as a teenager for using racial slurs, a number of unreleased Eminem tracks were leaked including a few disses to Benzino and Ja Rule (“Bully” and “Monkey See Monkey Do”), a track from the next D12 album (“Six In The Morning”), two tracks that would make Em’s next album a year later (“Love You More” and “We As Americans”), and finally, the one that matters in this essay, “Canibitch”, the diss track to Canibus.

While their was never any official confirmation, most people believe the song was recorded in 2001 or 2002 as a direct response to CTHS. Personally, I think that is definitely the case. Note how he disses Jermaine Dupri and the Pet Shop Boys in the third verse, they made references to Eminem in songs or interviews around that time, and besides, if this track was recorded in 2003, one would've expected him to throw shots at Benzino or Ja Rule since those feuds were happening at that time.

There are two rumors circulating as to how this track leaked. The first is that Benzino managed to get hold of a copy of the song and released it in an attempt to create more problems for Eminem. The second theory is that Eminem leaked it himself to divert attention away from the racist basement tapes. Whichever happened, the first REAL full non-subliminal diss track had surfaced.

The track is over a pop-style beat, almost similar to "Without Me". Starting off with borrowing from Slick Rick’s “Children’s Story”, Eminem attacked Canibus in a humorous manner, a way which appeared to be an attempt at winding Canibus up more than straight up insulting him (now you can see how Bis’ lyrics from “M-Sea-Creasy” made more sense to me). Lyrics such as "99% of my fans are blonde, Bis come on answer me man respond!" made it clear that Eminem is ready for the beef to be taken to the next level. He went on to attack bis in storytelling fashion; saying how Bis sent letters to him which led to Em going to ‘Canada’ to stop him. The Canada thing was a rumor LL Cool J started, saying Bis was from there originally when he originally was from Jamaica. He referred to him as “Canibitch”, “Stanabis”, and “Canadabis”. The track was pretty nice, as he got at Bis in a funny fashion, but only using childish tactics to attack him. The only real big diss was when he called him a biter. Still, the track was pretty good, maybe good enough to get a response out of Bis:

So in two seconds flat Dre's at my crib
The funny thing is we both know where this kid lives
And neither one of us have Canadian citizenship
Shit, oh Dre wait a minute that's it
All we gotta do is use a bit of turbo boost
We can fly over the border (Lets go!) {*WOOSH!*}
So we're off to Toronto and we're gainin' speed
{*BOOSH!*} (What was that?) Oh, Jermaine Dupri
Fuck it; keep goin' no time to waste
Wait, back up, and hit him one more time in case (Okay!)
Fuck, now he's draggin' under the car
Oh well, only 30 more thousand miles
Meanwhile, me and Dre are tryin' to conversate
Just tryin' to find a reason for the constant hate
And tryin' to figure out what happened to ‘Germaine Propane’
(He couldn't have fell of that hard!) Ain't no way!
"What happened to the way you was rappin' when you was scandalous?
the Canibus turned into a television evangelist"
Plus he raps with his regular voice
{*BOOSH!*} {*BOOSH!*} {*BOOSH!*} {*BOOSH!*}
(What was that?) Pet Shop Boys
So we pull up to the bridge where he last was spotted
His corpse was still movin' but his ass was rotted
He kind of smelled a little like Courtney Love
I figure if I stick him with a fork, he's done
So I stabbed him twice, kept jabbin', Christ
He won't die, this guy's like a battered wife
He's like Kim; he keeps comin' back for more
But he won't fight back, I cracked his jaw
Hold up 'Bis quit foldin' up!
Punch me in the chest make my shoulders touch!
DO SOMETHIN'! At least one punchline
C'mon till the meter reads nine, nine,
Nine-ty nine percent of my fans are blonde
'Bis c'mon answer me man respond!
Tell me 'bout the sun rain moon and stars
Interglacial metaphors from Mars!
'Raw to the floor, raw like Reservoir Dogs'
Bite another line from Redman's song!
Suddenly the stub from a dead man's arm
from a midget reaches out from under the car
It's JD, this motherfucker won't die neither
Dre starts sprayin' him with cans of Ether
We stomped the bitch and then stomped the bitch again
(Compton!) Detroit bitch talk some shit again!!
STOMP HIM! (Switch feet!) STOMP HIM! (Switch again!)
Dre alright he's dead dog, quit kickin him!
I think Stanabis jumped off the bridge again (Damn!)
He disappeared, yo he's gone, he did it again!

- Eminem, Third verse of “Canibitch

For most of 2004, the beef had died down and Bis was absent from the Hip-Hop scene due to his duties in the U.S. Military. He did a few shows and radio appearances to promote the new single “Who Writes The Song”, which he did with U.K. Hip-Hop/Folk artist Jeymes Samuel. But finally Bis appeared back in the U.S. with some answers to some questions. On August 22nd 2004, Canibus appeared on the Wake Up Show with Sway and King Tech. When he was asked about Eminem, he was not reluctant to answer questions. When Sway asked when it started, Bis said the phrase ‘the best bump heads at the top’ explained it. He said he was still in the ‘Second Round K.O.’ mania, so he didn’t look at him as anyone important so when they began to bump heads a bit in their tracks. Bis said that Em was aware of his style and liked his music, and Bis said after hearing him, he liked his music too. But basically, Bis blamed it all on communication problems.

Sway then mentioned the “Canibitch” diss track, and Bis said that when he was in the army, someone played the track for him there. Bis explained that the track didn’t start a fire in him, because he felt Em didn’t really say anything worthwhile. He said Em ripped Everlast, Jermaine Dupri, and Benzino, but the “Canibitch” track was a weak attempt, and hardly an all out assault on him. He felt that Em was just taking jabs at Bis, since Bis took jabs at him first. Bis said he’s more interested in ‘fusing relationships’ then battling, but he would retaliate if Em dissed him. Bis then said that a week before, an intern from Shady Records called him up and asked him if he wanted to battle someone at Riggs Morales' "Fight Klub", which is a place in New York where any emcee can battle any emcee, regardless of whether they are signed or unsigned. He later got an e-mail from someone (most likely a fan) saying that Em was the one that wanted to battle at Fight Klub. Bis said he’s been contemplating the Fight Klub thing, and stated to Em “We don't have to draw it back to '8 Mile' but if you want to draw it back to '8 Mile', I’ll be right there with a smile on my face”. Nothing more ever evolved out of the Fight Klub challenge, though it is rumored that Em wasn't up for the challenge when Mic Club called Shady Records back and challenged Em to an actual battle. Either way, in an interview with AllHipHop.com from April of 2005, Bis had said "the battle was over" for him:

AllHipHop.com: With the battle circuit heating up, and the Fight Klub putting up a million dollars as prize money for an upcoming battle, would you consider battling again?

Canibus: No. The battle is over for me. I'm free to make music and elevate the art. It's time to rebuild.


Em was never asked about the beef that much but Canibus would be asked about it in nearly every interview. In some interviews, he gave Em props but still wouldn't put him above himself (in one interview from 2003, Bis had said this about Em: "His wordplay is phenomenal. His rhythm is impeccable. His mind is sick and twisted which is a good thing and his star quality is absolutely explosive. Now having said that... do I think he's better than RTJ? FUCK NO!"). It was obvious Bis was fed up with being asked about it, as in one 2003 interview he had started responding sarcastically, saying that he and Em "love each other", and then saying "We meet at 3:30 am every thursday and battle it out one on one-no cameras, media, or witnesses. Just like Rocky and Apollo Creed!". But I remember one interview that not many people know about that caught my eye. Let me explain. On a canibus fan site known as Canibusworld.com, it was figured out that Bis had been secretly posting on the site under the name 'Da Watcha'. One of the site's mods, theTRUTH, had set up a Q&A session with Bis before he left. This took place in September of 2004, one month after the Wake Up Show interview mentioned in the previous paragraph. In this questionare, Bis had said that due to the events that happpened between him and Em in the past, he took the song "Stan" personally, among other things:

"3. What was the reasoning/meaning behind CTHS?
Ironically, I take pleasure in seeing what it means to you all. I sometimes picture that there is a gauntlet of "pissed off people" that I have to run through about CTHS. In the songs that were recorded around that time I mildly remember quotes here and there about my mental/musical/emotional state. Statements that came from me, of course. I was disillusioned with the relationship between what I wanted and what I already had. I wanted Eminem to know that I took Stan personally because of what transpired between us both. I will come clean and tell you that I played the "asshole role" and hurt him deeply. If it's of any consolation to you I was crushed 10 fold when I heard STAN. Yes. Besides the fact that I heard the record maybe a couple hundred short of 1 million times. Even then I knew that my opportunity to make things right with Em was nil. I was off of universal. EMI had lapsed my publishing deal and I had recorded material to seek another deal. @ the time it seemed lucrative to release an LP independently as I had seen with Ca$h Money, Master Percy, and Daz (who was eating like a mad dog off that shit) as per my conversation with Wendy Day. She was encouraging and helpful to me. I was later introduced to Louis Lombard who release the "Priesthood" album which happened to be a name that we (Bis & Killah Priest) coined drunk off some Gramarne (I don't drink anymore). Louis had explained some things to me I had never heard before and thus CTHS was born. CTHS was my 3rd release. My 4th and 5th were lyrical beasts. The CTHS-Mic Club-RTJ trilogy is undeliberate. They are independent of each other. The only link between them is me. I wonder if what happened at the video shoot and some of the following events (the tour bus meeting @ the Syracuse NY show, the show at the Long Island Coliseum, the cold face off at Cheung King) were just buttons being snapped up on a shirt I was destined to wear. I was still entangled in the backlash of Battling "L". The Beef II DVD shows that my music career was more of an unplanned publicity stunt for "L" than it was for what I came in the fuckin' game to do in the first place. I was like the "wrestler of the week" or something. I have been unable to make amends with L because he acts like he hates me. Even my mother thinks he's sexy (like he says) but she don't feel him cause she knows the effect that 2nd Round KO shit had on my life. One-Hit-Blunder. I was a champ in Hip Hop for a hot sec. I respected L enough to get tatted up and give him a run for his skully. I revered him enough now to say he changed my life for the better because I found purpose. Maybe my effect on Hip Hop helped others find purpose also. Canibus ain't a lifestyle, Canibus is the 9th mile / Sike, I'm just playin', but I bet I made ya' smile. Read: It was all in the Name of Hip Hop. Nobody really got hurt. Honest to God. If I can look back and say that I had a good time, how can LL or Eminem say they had a bad one?
".

The Q&A session was split into two parts and this was from part two. Go here (http://www.canibus-central.com/site/media/interviews/008.php) to read part 2 and go here (http://www.canibus-central.com/site/media/interviews/007.php) to read part 1.

No real attempts have been made by one to outright diss the other since then, though it seems that they would continue to take subliminal shots at each other. Whether this is true or not is unknown as the disses in this paragraph are pure speculation, but I’mma say it anyway, since it IS possible. First off, in a track titled "I Wish U Would" that featured Chino XL and Royce Da 5'9 (from the Sway and Tech album "Back 2 Basics"), a lot of people speculated that a good amount of Bis’ verse was aimed at Eminem, as he proclaims that he will "Beat (him) up with (his) fans around", saying "I don’t give a fuck if you're a star or not”. He also says "Fuck who you roll with, your man's a clown nigga" and many believed that referenced Dr. Dre (it also could’ve referenced 50 Cent) and the one line that convinced everyone it was directed at Em, the line they think referenced G-Unit (the Guerilla Unit): “Hang around guerrillas/gorillas, your fragrance becomes ape-ish”. Now as for the Eminem ‘shot’ at Bis, it was supposedly on his 2004 album “Encore”, in the track “Never Enough”. A lot of people think these lines refer to Bis: “Sooner or later, you haters are all gonna face me / And when you face me with all that shit you’ve been saving / to say to me, you had all this time to think about it now / don’t pussy out and try to about face me / Cause I’ve been ‘patiently waiting’ for the day / We finally meet in the same place to see…”. The logic is this: he's basically saying that Bis has had time to come up with content for the battle bein' that he was overseas and that Em has been waiting for him to come back. Now that Bis has been back a bit he seems to want to squash and move on. As I said before, Bis said he had heard rumors that Em was gonna come out and face him. I think Em is addressing the issue about Bis not accepting the challenge. Plus, the "about face me" line could be taken as a reference to Bis having been in the army.

In the beginning of 2005, however, it seemed the beef wouldn't hype up as Bis would continue to give Em props. A new Canibus mixtape titled “The Virtuvian Man” containing some recent Kay Slay freestyles, as well as some leaked material that was supposed to be for his next album, "Hip-Hop For Sale". The mixtape had Bis taking a slightly different route then his recent ‘Rip the Jacker’ style, dumbing down his large vocabulary while still dropping some ill lyrics. On the track “Dear Academy” where he shouts out all his friends who made it in the industry, like Common for example (“Nominated for being underrated / we ‘Made a Name for Ourselves’ but I guess Common was the only one who made it”), he mentioned Em and D12 in the second verse, as he pretended to be in the audience of an award show, whispering in awe about all the people he’s sitting with: “D12, me and them struck a pose man / with Slim Shady, yo this must be an omen!”. In the third verse, he makes another reference to Eminem, one that could be taken either way (as a diss or showing props): “I’m in the game now, I ran 8 Miles / I ain’t the same old nigga with the same style”. Most of the material from that bootleg that was recorded for "Hip-Hop for Sale", including that "Dear Academy" track, made it onto the album when it was released in November 2005.

A few days after the Virtuvian Man was leaked, another Canibus song was leaked where he addressed the beef between him and Eminem directly. The production on it was similar to the production on CTHS but Bis' lyrics were fire. Being an unreleased Mixtape verse, it didn't have an official title, but "The Ballad" was the tag title given to it (you'll see why in a second). It seemed to be an old song made in the UK from 2001; he mentions that he was "working on" [his] "fourth album", which technically refers to CTHS (his original third album, "Mind Control", was recorded before CTHS in 2001 but remained officially unreleased until 2005 due to disputes with a former record label). In it, he references his beef with LL Cool J ("I'm Illmatic like Nas and Stillmatic like Escobar / No I'm not still at it with Todd / Don't blame me, it aint my fault, it never was / Before I even knew him, I already had a buzz / But that was then, and this is now / Bis been rippin' it down since the day he came out") and talks about Alica Keyes, which shows how the "infatuation with Alicia Keys" line in "Poet Laureate 2" makes sense ("I wanna give Alicia Keys a kiss / compose a ballad and just make her fiend for Bis") but the beginning of it is about his beef with Eminem. He starts out by referencing an advertisement for CTHS that he put in The Source in 2002 that had a picture of 'Stan' and Eminem. He says he did it for 'a little controversy'; he goes on to call Eminem's rhymes "very weak". At the end of the song, he calls Em out and tells him if hes going to diss him, he needs to diss him outright instead of the few times he did subliminally on the Eminem Show. In the outro, he says something to the effect "I'll take you on mano e mano", showing that Bis was ready for this beef to be taken to the next level. Here are the lines about Em:

"I'm about 8,000 miles away from home
Thinking about the throne I got my eyes fixated on
I just put an add in The Source to cause a little controversy
Came from doing a concert in Jersey last Thursday
A kid said Eminem wanted to hurt me
He called my name out more than a few times and tried to embarrass me
His rhyme is very weak; I didn't know he had words for me,
I bet he's probably never even heard of me
Ever since I met Stan, he took it kinda personally
It didn't even occur to me he was involved personally
With Stan earlier than me, now he's perturbed at me
I seen him on the street last week he cursed at me
He told me him and D12 were gonna murder me
And anytime that I'm ready that he's got a verse for me
Damn, I didn't know he was that thirsty for me
I guess he ain't the only emcee that's nervous of me
There aint a person in the game wit more courage than me
From France to Germany they call me the merchant of beef
"
....
"Damn, I can write raps, I'm good at it aint I?
Niggas call my name out, cuz they want the mic back
but I raise the price so high that in fact
The market is collapsed and niggas don't know how to act
I guess the world's chaos is spinning over the raps
They make you sign a contract, and con you out of your tracks
Don't act like you don't know Bis
The man with the organic tongue and the golden spit
"
....
"I'm an extremist, when I'm on some MC shit,
and after this you could never not believe in Bis
Terry stone, UK clique, keepin it thick
Use my name motherfucker when you speakin' to Bis
"
- Canibus, "Exclusive Freestyle (a.k.a The Ballad)"

As time went on, Canibus seemed to drop more supposed references to Em. In late 2005, Bis signed with Head Trauma Records and hooked up with Phoenix Orion to form the duo Cloak and Dagger, who would go on to drop an album titled "Def Con Zero". In a exclusive mixtape freestyle, Bis went on to promote DCZ, and managed to confirm that a sequel to "Mic Club: The Curriculum" was being made ("People say 'Canibus, what's up with you? / When you coming out with something new?' / Curriculum 2 coming soon, don't even trip my nigga"). In this freestyle, he dropped a few lines that could've been making reference to Em, as well as the supposed Fight Klub battle: "I charge 500 G's or better for Fight Klub" and "Detonate mines, run '8 Miles' 8 times". On the DCZ album, there was a song called "Close to Me", where Bis said a few lines that could've been attacking Em. First, he said a line that referenced "Like Toy Soldiers", the song where Em attempted to squash beef with Ja Rule and Benzino: "Wake up, smell the roses, the fuckin' toy soldiers / have Styrofoam shoulders and can't stay focused". Bis also said "Battle? Watch the faggot bail", which could've been a reference to Em supposedly bailing on the Fight Klub battle.

In addition to the three albums Bis released in 2005 (those being "Mind Control", "Hip-Hop for Sale", and "Def Con Zero"), he also released a mixtape on his website titled "Mic Club Master Vol. 1", which was made up of a few new songs that Bis had recorded while in the army, as well as some old classics. One of the new songs. On one of the new songs "Yeng Meng, it sounded to me like Bis was going off on someone. Is it possible that he was going at Em? Maybe, as the song's hook first sounded like he was speaking on the constant rumors that spread through the streets: "Niggas runnin' around like, "what did he say?" / All day, everyday, "what did he say?" / Everybody want to know, "what did you say?"". As Bis starts into his verse, it sounds like he's directing his attention to a certain someone. It's likely that it could be about Em, but more likely that it's about his fickle fanbase: "Yo, I don't want to waste no lyrics talkin' about you / just let my body die and rot in hell why don't you / You asked the same question, I already told you / I'm a lyricist, I do what I'm supposed to do / You ever wonder what Hip-Hop would have been without me? / I'm six albums deep, somebody is thinkin' about me / whether it's good or bad, yo, I can't control it / a nigga's opinion belongs to him; I can't own it". Even if he didn't get at Em in a negative way in this song, there was definitely a reference to Em in that interview taking back what he said about Bis being dope: "Even the best confessed, at some point in they life, they said / that I'm the illest, but now they want you to forget".

As time went on, both parties seem to have let the beef die down. The difference between the two is while Em's mainstream fan base could care less if he gets at Bis, Bis' fanbase still want him to rip Em to shreds. In 2007, Bis released a new record titled "For Whom the Beat Tolls" and did a few shows in the U.S. to promote the record. At one particular show at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood CA, Bis let a fan in the audience get on the mic, to which that fan proceeded to shout "It's all about Canibus, fuck Eminem!" to which the whole crowd started cheering. Bis wasted no time in trying to peacefully resolve the situation: "Hold up! Aiiyo Em... Em, or whoever, when you see it man, don't get tight at me, he said it!". He continued on, and with one sentence, Bis pretty much confirmed that 'the most theatrical emcee battle of all time' was over: "But look though! I ain't on that shit, I ain't beefin with them niggas. I'mma do MY shit!". The entire incident can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlJfpJQhcnQ

Here's what's been going on for the two emcees as of October 2007:

Since the release of "For Whom the Beat Tolls" in June, Canibus has split ways with his label Mic Club Music and longtime partner Louis Lombard. He is currently signed to Waste Management Records, a label owned by Def Squad member K-Solo. There has been no news about any new Canibus records, though a few rumors have started spreading lately; the rumors range from him retiring to him signing with Murder Inc.

As for Eminem, he spent all of 2005 dropping guest verses for his artists on the Shady/Aftermath label, as well as a few that weren't on the label. It was rumored in July of 05 that Em was retiring from the rap game, but he later dismissed these rumor as being false. According to Em, he was just "taking a long break" from rapping, focusing more on his production for other artists. At the end of 2005, Em released "Curtain Call", a greatest hits compilation containing all his popular singles as well as three new songs. In Mid 2006, Em decided to extend his leave of absence from music after the tragic death of his best friend Proof and divorcing from his wife Kim (whom he remarried in early 06). At the end of 2006, Em dropped "The Re-Up", a compilation album that featured new tracks from him as well as newer artists on his Shady Records label. The rumors of a new Eminem album have been running rampant, and most people believe we will see a new album released sometime in 2008.

But what’s next battle wise for the two emcees? No one really knows. You can’t evaluate where the battle will escalate from here, but you can make your predictions. My prediction is that this will never go down officially, on stage or on wax. When Em took his extended leave of absence from the mic, there was is NO chance of this beef ever happening. In my personal opinion, the only way this beef would ever heat up again is if Bis decided to pull a Jay-Z and drop a massive diss track that’ll start a fire in Em (the same way Jigga did to Nas with “Takeover”). Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that will happen, as Bis has expressed no more interest in battling anyone, let alone Em ("I'm more interested in fusing relationships", "The battle is over for me", "I ain't beefing with them", etc.). As long as this beef as gone on, you can not come up with a clear clean-cut winner because there hasn’t been enough full-fledged diss tracks exchanged to decide that. You can speculate with all the subliminal tracks mentioned in this essay (some of which possibly aren’t even intended as disses), and when you do, it looks pretty even and the battle could go either way. But if you wanna REALLY determine a winner, you can’t, cause when you get RIGHT down to it, the only real full-fledged diss track was “Canibitch”, and that song wasn’t meant to be released, it leaked more than a year after it was recorded. If you want my opinion, with all these songs, all these disses, subliminal and outright, this battle is nothing more than a DRAW.

But is that really the end of this battle? Will “the most theatrical emcee battle of all time” never go down? You can’t tell, but never say never cause old feuds never really die, they are just buried away for a while. But someday, it is bound to be brought up, whether by Em or Bis or their fans or interviewers. So in the words of Em himself, "stay tuned and keep your ears glued to the stereo".

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