For many people in the early 2000s, "mom's spaghetti" didn't refer to their mother's recipe. It recalled an infamous line in Eminem's hit song Lose Yourself from the movie 8 Mile.
The semi-autobiographical film, which topped the box office when it was released in 2002, brought in $242.9 million in the global box office and won an Academy Award for best song. It's not too shabby for a hip hop star that brought rap to middle America's mainstream. Now, 20 years later, Eminem and Shopify have partnered to bring movie moments, merch, and the notorious pasta to New York.
"His music, it's shaped our childhood pretty much, and he's a big part of our lives to this day," pointed out Cait Gilliam at the 20th Anniversary 8 Mile exhibit, which ran from Nov. 10 to Nov. 20.
Shopify, which powers the point-of-sale for Detroit flagship restaurant Mom's Spaghetti as well as Eminem's online webstore, worked with the multi-hyphenate rapper-producer to bring the experience to New York. The event was hosted in Shopify Spaces, a collaborative office for entrepreneurs.
"I think Eminem has international appeal because his backstory, his origin story, is so relatable to folks around the world," said Chris Schmicker, Shopify director of brand marketing. "To go from humble beginnings to become an iconic celebrity and creator/merchant is something that I think strikes a chord with so many of his fans."
Guests were allowed to order spaghetti and then peruse the exhibit while waiting for the dish to be prepared. In addition to showcasing clips and photos from the movie along with other memorabilia, the pop-up allowed fans to explore iconic scenes from 8 Mile.
One location — the dingy bathroom where the movie opens up as protagonist Rabbit is hyping himself up for a rap battle — was painstakingly recreated using local artists who "aged" the tiles and scrawled graffiti on them.
"I can still feel that energy, that hype of getting ready for like an iconic rap battle, and all of that anxiety but excitement of making your moment count," Schmicker said. "That energy is something that I think so many people can relate to, and you really feel it when you're onsite and have this experience."
Even though the movie is two decades old, Eminem still holds a place in the hearts of many.
"He just stays true to his original vibe," Newton Lee said while visiting the exhibit. "It's the authenticity of, you know, telling things as they are."
Stavros Litras, who showed up to the event wearing an Eminem letterman jacket, said he started listening to the rapper thanks to his brother and has stayed a fan ever since.
"He does a good job at relating to a wide range of people," Litras said. "He has songs for every type of situation, whether it's motivational songs, introspective songs, super-duper lyrical miracle songs, or you know, silly songs. So I think he's, that's why I think he's the GOAT because he can do everything."