I saw 8 Mile when it first came out, and remember liking it, even though I wasn’t a hip-hop fan and was suspicious of Eminem because he was such a giant mainstream success at the time. (I imagine he still is. I don’t really know about that kind of thing any more.)
James used the clip to illustrate how Eminem won the rap battle by using cognitive biases to isolate his opponent and bring the audience to his side. But what really struck me about the clip was how vulnerable Eminem made himself, how raw. Even though his stance is hostile and aggressive, he uses the stage to reveal a wounded heart. He says he doesn’t give a fuck what people think of him, because they don’t know what he’s been through. But of course he does give a fuck.
He wins the battle by making his suffering completely clear. By opening his heart.