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Byline: Brian McCollum
DETROIT _ In 1995, the Detroit hip-hop scene was booming, blessed with a parade of inventive rappers who played to packed crowds week in and week ...
Hold up. Stop the tape.
Moviegoers watching "8 Mile," which opened Friday with Eminem in his first starring role, may be transfixed by the breathless onscreen action, set in Detroit seven years ago: Clubs jammed with fervent fans. Edgy rap battles between sublimely gifted emcees. A progressive radio culture eager to support local music.
Alas, for those who were there, reality wasn't so romantic. Finding good Detroit hip-hop in the mid-1990s was often an exercise in patience. Many young rappers were loathe to innovate, mimicking the commercial sounds out of L.A. and New York. Local stations mostly ignored hometown artists. Hip-hop showcases at clubs like the Shelter and the Palladium _ including nights with Eminem _ usually played to sparse audiences.
In a 1997 Detroit Free Press story headlined "Detroit's Hip-Hop Blues," rapper Uncle Ill, a member of Da Ruckus, sounded a common lament.
"If you write anything about …