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Fans bared their breasts, waved posters, raised middle fingers and formed mosh pits with reckless abandon last night.
An audience of 46 000 took the lyrics of Eminem’s Lose Yourself to heart during the controversial rapper’s first performance in South Africa at Cape Town Stadium.
“I think there are a lot of people in Cape Town I mentally destroyed,” the rapper said, addressing the screaming crowd after performing the hit Rap God, from the album of the same name.
The raucous evening started quietly as fans filtered into the sunlit stadium in Green Point from mid-afternoon.
DJ Ready D set the tone for the evening with beats from a range that included DMX and Macklemore.
As the sun dipped below the stadium bowl, local rapper Jack Parow and his handlebar moustache hit the stage, spewing Afrikaans rhymes splashed generously with English expletives.
New York chef-turned-rapper Action Bronson was the third man to enter, sporting a Springbok jersey and his characteristic ginger beard.
His upbeat set riffed on ’80s tunes and beachy beats. Wild cheers met his karaoke-style singing to classics like I Want to Dance with Somebody as he clambered into the crowd, smoking and joking with fans all the while.
“I wish I could sing. I can’t sing for s**t.”
The crowd didn’t seem to mind though, lauding his off-tune crooning at least as much as his rhymes.
Dark had settled on the stadium by the time the Rap God took the stage at 9pm.
Screams greeted the first appearance of Eminem’s amplified silhouette behind a stage-height white sheet.
The cheering roared to a cacophony as the curtain was stripped away, launching a performance of Survival.
Along with a full band and female vocalist Skylar Grey, fellow Detroit rapper Royce Da 5’9” joined Eminem on stage for vocal accompaniment and animated banter.
The 13-time Grammy winner exhibited near-frenetic energy, incorporating 28 songs and interacting with the crowd. A barrage of tweets shared images as professional photographers were barred from shooting during Eminem’s performance.
Fans described the night as “crazy”, fantastic”, “surreal” and “electric”.
It was Eminem’s first visit to the continent, but the reception he received made it hard to tell.
“I feel at home,” he said.
Eminem continues the Rapture tour in Joburg on Saturday.
- Cape Argus