Nashawn Breedlove, an underground rapper who famously battled Eminem in “8 Mile” (2002), has died. The skilled emcee, known onstage as both Lotto and Ox, reportedly died Sunday in his sleep at home in New Jersey. He was 46 years old.
“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news of my beloved son Nashawn Breedlove’s passing,” his mother Patricia wrote Tuesday on Facebook. “Many of you knew him by his alias ‘Lotto, ox,’ a name that echoed his resilience and determination.”
She continued, “Nashawn was a rapper, singer, songwriter, and actor. No one could deny his talent. Nashawn’s departure from this world has left an immense void in my life, one that words cannot fully express. I can’t put into words the pain and hurt that I feel.”
A cause of death has yet to be disclosed.
Breedlove was mourned on social media by fans of his music and performance in “8 Mile.” Fellow battle rapper Mickey Factz argued on Instagram that Breedlove was “one of the few emcee’s to beat Eminem … You will be missed for your tenacity and aggressiveness.”
“The first mc who was ever robbed of his win in a rap battle!” rapper Daylyt wrote in the comments, while Onyx — the legendary hip-hop group whose song “Last Dayz” was used as the instrumental for that battle — chimed in with three prayer emojis in tribute.
The battle near the end of the film, which centered on a white rapper fighting for respect in a predominantly Black culture, saw Breedlove ingeniously wield Eminem’s attributes against him — with verses the New Jersey native reportedly wrote himself.
“I’ll spit a racial slur, honkey, sue me,” he rapped in the Academy Award-winning film, “this shit is a horror flick, but the Black guy doesn’t die in this movie … Fuck Lotto? Call me your leader, I feel bad that I gotta murder that dude from ‘Leave It to Beaver.’”
Breedlove was ultimately defeated when Eminem turned Lotto’s stage name against him: “My motto: Fuck Lotto, I get the seven digits from your mother for a dollar tomorrow.” The film won Eminem an Oscar for Best Original Song and grossed $243 million worldwide.
“He was not just my son; he was a remarkable man whose character and strength inspired all who crossed his path,” his mother wrote in her Facebook post.
Breedlove previously contributed music for “The Wash,” a 2001 film starring Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. His ex-girlfriend Latisha Harper thanked Factz in the comments of his post for paying tribute — and revealed that Breedlove is survived by a son.
“Nashawn was so humble and modest he didn’t even know he had true fans,” wrote Harper. “He was so talented. Not only Wa[s] he an amazing MC he sang better than Luther. He blessed me with my son @youngzaak … I will always be his biggest fan.”