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Film / Bodied

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Meet Oakland's newest battle rapper.

Bodied is a 2017 battle rap comedy-drama film directed by Joseph Kahn and produced by Eminem, reportedly loosely based on his life.

The film is about Adam (Calum Worthy), a white graduate student at Berkeley who, while working on a graduate thesis on the use of the N-word in battle rap, becomes a battle rapper himself.

His passion isn't exactly met with open arms — his girlfriend Maya is taken aback by the perceived misogyny of the raps, and his father (a professor at Berkeley) doesn't take the idea seriously.

As he climbs up the ranks, his passing enthusiasm turns into a competitive obsession as he earns success and sparks outrage alike.

Bodied won the Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Award alongside Fantastic Fest's 2017 Audience Award. Exclusive streaming rights for the film were acquired by YouTube Red in January 2018, with a limited theatrical release in November of that year.


The film provides examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Megaton goes after Adam's friends, he calls Devine "Biggie Minaj", which even Prospek finds funny. Devine is not so impressed.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Adam defeats Megaton, earning him respect and fame as a battle rapper, but at the cost of his girlfriend, his friend and mentor Behn, his scholarship, his home, and his relationship with his dad.
  • Defeat Means Friendship:
    • Adam becomes friends with Prospek and his friends after defeating him in a rap battle. Prospek even compliments him on his "creative Asian jokes".
      Prospek: Shit, at least you knew I was Korean instead of calling me "chink" the whole time. Far as I'm concerned, that's culturally sensitive by battle rap standards.
    • Subverted with Adam and Behn. While Behn used hard-hitting fictional bars, Adam opts to use actual personal details about him, cementing his commitment to winning and his betrayal of Behn's trust. Adam is shocked that he's unable to settle differences after the fight ends, seeing the insults as "just battle rap", but Behn tells him that not only do words have consequences, but battle rap has become an outlet for genuine anger and cruelty for Adam and not just an act. This marks the end of their friendship.
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  • Enemy Mine: After Adam defeats Behn, a couple of other rappers begin heckling both of them. Behn and Adam immediately team up to take them down.
  • Graceful Loser: After the final battle, even Megaton is won over by Adam's skills.
  • Instant Web Hit: Deconstructed. The video of Adam's battle against Prospek is posted online (and even used in a classroom lecture by his now ex-girlfriend), which turns the entire student body against Adam and basically ruins his life.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: Adam and his friends stop by a sushi restaurant where Prospek works as a chef, but the owner kicks them out for making fun of Prospek (even though Prospek takes the jibes in good humour, noting that ignorant white people wouldn't even notice a Korean working in a Japanese sushi restaurant) and even roundhouse kicks Che when he tries to approach him. Prospek berates his boss for playing into the stereotype.
    Prospek: An old martial arts master doin' a spin kick in the middle of a sushi restaurant!? Really? Do you even know how much of a fuckin' stereotype you made us look like? You set Asians back a hundred years!
  • The Unfettered: Megaton responds to Adam's disses towards him by punching him in the which he jumps right back up and keeps rapping.
    "That little love tap? That was real touchin'. But I just murdered my own friend so you should know that I don't feel nothin'!"
  • The Unreveal: A minor plot point involves Adam not yet having picked a battle rap name. In the final scene, he says that he's finally figured out his battle rap name. He looks up to the camera and says "My name is—" before the credits roll and Eminem's "My Name Is" plays.
  • Verbed Title
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After their battle, Adam talks to Behn hoping that they're "cool" despite all the terrible things Adam said because "anything goes" in battle rapping. But Behn says no, and calls Adam out for deluding himself into thinking there wouldn't be consequences for what he says, and that everyone who's criticising him is wrong so he doesn't have to consider that he might not actually be a good person after all. He ends their friendship, and leaves the battle rap game to return to his job and family.

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