Marshall Bruce Mathers III (born 17 October 1972), better known by his stage name Eminem, is an American rapper, record producer and actor. In addition to his solo career, Eminem is a member of the group D12, as well as one half of the hip hop duo Bad Meets Evil, alongside Royce da 5'9". Eminem is the best-selling artist of the 2000s in the United States. Including his work with D12 and Bad Meets Evil, Eminem has achieved ten number-one albums on the Billboard 200. Eminem has sold over 172 million records worldwide, making him one of the world's best selling music artists. As of June 2014, Eminem is the second best selling male artist of the Nielsen Soundscan Era, the sixth best overall selling artist in the United States, and the best-selling hip hop artist, having sold 45,160,000 albums and 31 million digital singles.
After his debut album Infinite (1996), Eminem achieved mainstream popularity in 1999 with his second album The Slim Shady LP, which earned him his first Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. His next two releases, 2000's The Marshall Mathers LP, and 2002's The Eminem Show, were worldwide successes, with each being certified Diamond in U.S. sales, and both winning grammy awards for best rap album, making Eminem the first artist to win the award for three consecutive LPs. This was followed by Encore in 2004, another critical and commercial successful album. Eminem then went on hiatus after touring in 2005. He released Relapse in 2009 and Recovery in 2010, which was named the best-selling album of 2010 worldwide, becoming the rapper's second album, after The Eminem Show, to become the internationally best-selling album of its year. Eminem won Grammy Awards for both Relapse and Recovery, giving him a total of 13 Grammys in his career. His eighth studio album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, was released in November 2013.
Eminem has developed other ventures, including his own record label Shady Records with his manager Paul Rosenberg. He has his own radio channel, Shade 45 on Sirius XM Radio. In November 2002, he starred in the hip hop drama film 8 Mile, which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Lose Yourself", being the first rap artist to win the award. Eminem has also made cameo appearances in the films The Wash (2001), Funny People (2009), The Interview (2014) and the television series Entourage.
Life and careerEdit
1972-1991: Early lifeEdit
Marshall Bruce Mathers III was born on 17 October 1972 in St. Joseph, Missouri. He is the only child of Marshall Bruce Mathers, Jr. (born 30 June 1951, and known as Bruce) and Deborah Rae Nelson (born 6 January 1955, and known as Debbie). Eminem is of English, German, Scottish and Swiss descent. Debbie was 14 when she met 18-year-old Bruce; at age 17, she nearly died during her 73-hour labor. Eminem's parents were in a band called Daddy Warbucks, and played in Ramada Inns along the Dakota-Montana before their seperation. Bruce left the family, moving to California and having two other children: Michael and Sarah (born c. 1982). Debbie later had a son, Nathan Kane Samara (born 1986).
During his childhood, Mathers and his mother shuttled between Missouri and Michigan, rarely staying in one house for more than a year or two and primarily with family members. In Missouri, they lived in several places, including St. Joseph, Savannah and Kansas City, before settling in Warren, Michigan when Eminem was eleven. As a teenager, Mathers wrote letters to his father; according to Debbie, all of them came back marked "return to sender". Friends and family remember a young Mathers as a happy child, but "a bit of a loner" who was often bullied. One bully, De'Angelo Bailey, severely injured Mathers in the head; Debbie filed a lawsuit against the school in 1982, which was dismissed the following year.
Mathers spent much of his youth in a lower-middle-class, primarily African-American Detroit neighborhood. He and Debbie were one of three households on their block, and Mathers was beaten by African-American youths several times. As a child, he was interested in storytelling, aspiring to be a comic-book artist before discovering hip hop music. Eminem heard his first hip hop song, "Reckless" by Ice-T, at age nine on the Breakin' soundtrack, a gift from Debbie's half brother Ronald Polkinghorn. When Polkinghorn committed suicide ten years later, Eminem stopped speaking for days and did not attend his funeral.
His home life was unstable; Mathers frequently fought with his mother, who was described by a social worker as having a "very suspicious, almost paranoid personality". When her son became famous, Debbie bristled at suggessions that she was a less-than-ideal mother, contending that she sheltered him and was responsible for his success. In 1987, Debbie allowed runaway Kimberly Ann "Kim" Scott to stay at their home; several years later, Mathers began an on-and-off relationship with Kim. After spending three years in ninth grade due to truancy and poor grades, he dropped out of Lincoln High School at age 17. Although he was interested in English, he never explored literaure (preferring comic books) and disliked math and social studies. Mathers worked at several jobs to help his mother pay the bills, later maintaining that she often threw him out of the house anyway. When she left to play bingo, he would blast the stereo and write songs.
At age 14, he adopted the stage name "M&M", which evolved into Eminem. Eminem sneaked into neighboring Osborn High School with friend and fellow rapper Proof for lunchroom freestyle rap battles. On Saturdays, they attended open mic contests at the Hip-Hop Shop on West 7 Mile, considered the focal point for the Detroit hip hop scene. Struggling to succeed in a predominantly African-American industry, Eminem was appreciated by underground hip hop audiences. When he wrote verses, he wanted most of the words to rhyme; he wrote long words or phrases on paper and, underneath, worked on rhymes for each syllable. Although the lines often made little sense, the drill helped Eminem practice sounds and rhymes.
1992-1999: Early career, Infinite and The Slim Shady LPEdit
As Eminem's reputation grew, he was recruited by several hip hop groups; the first of these was a group called New Jacks. After they disbanded, he joined Soul Intent, who released a single in 1995 featuring Proof. Eminem and Proof formed D12, a six-member ensemble resembling a Wu-Tang-style collective more than a regularly performing group. Eminem had his first run-in with the law at age 20, when he was arrested for involvement in a drive-by shooting with a paintball gun. The case was dismissed when the victim did not appear in court.
Eminem was signed to Jeff and Mark Bass' F.B.T. Productions, recording his debut album Infinite for their independent Web Entertainment label. One lyrical subject of Infinite was his struggle to raise his newborn daughter, Hailie Jade Scott Mathers (born 25 December 1995), on little money. During this period, Eminem's rhyming style, primarily inspired by Nas and AZ, lacked the comically violent slant for which he would later be known. Infinite was largely ignored by Detroit disc jockeys, and the mediocre feedback he did receive led him to craft angrier, moodier tracks. At this time, Eminem and Kim Scott lived in a crime-ridden neighborhood, and their house was robbed several times. He cooked and washed dishes for the minimum wage at Gilbert's Lodge, a family-style restaurant at St. Clair Shores. Described by his former boss as a model employee, he worked 60 hours a week for six months after Hailie's birth. After the release of Infinite, his personal problems and substance abuse culminated in a suicide attempt. By March 1997, he was fired from Gilbert's Lodge for the last time, and lived in his mother's mobile home with Kim and Hailie.
Eminem attracted more attention when he developed Slim Shady, a sadistic, violent alter ego that allowed him to express his anger. In the spring of 1997, he recorded the Slim Shady EP, which was released that winter by Web Entertainment. The EP, with frequent references to drug use, sexual acts, mental instability and violence, also explored the more-serious themes of dealing with poverty and marital and family difficulties and revealed his direct, self-deprecating response to criticism. Hip hop magazine The Source featured Eminem in its Unsigned Hype in March 1998.
After he was evicted from his home, Eminem went to Los Angeles to compete in the 1997 Rap Olympics, an annual, nationwide battle rap competition. He placed second, and Interscope Records staff in attendance sent a copy of the Slim Shady EP to company CEO Jimmy Iovine. Iovine played the tape for record producer Dr. Dre, founder of Aftermath Enteratinment. Dr. Dre recalled, "In my entire career in the music industry, I have never found anything from a demo tape or a CD. When Jimmy played this, I said 'Find him. Now.'" Eminem, who had idolised Dre since listening to N.W.A as a teenager, was nervous about working with him on an album: "I didn't want to be starstruck or kiss his ass too much ... I'm just a little white boy from Detroit. I had never seen stars, let alone Dr. Dre." He became more comfortable working with Dre after a series of productive recording sessions.
Eminem released The Slim Shady LP in February 1999. Although it was one of the year's most popular albums, he was accused of imitating the style and subject matter of underground rapper Cage. Its popularity was accompanied by controversy over its lyrics; in "'97 Bonnie and Clyde", Eminem describes a trip with his infant daughter when he disposes of his wife's body. Although "Guilty Conscience" encourages a man to murder his wife and her lover, the song marked the beginning of a friendship and musical bond between Dr. Dre and Eminem. The label-mates later collaborated on a number of hit songs ("Forgot About Dre" and "What's the Difference" from Dr. Dre's album 2001, "Bitch Please II" from The Marshall Mathers LP, "Say What You Say" from The Eminem Show, "Encore/Curtains Down" from Encore, and "Old Time's Sake" and "Crack a Bottle" from Relapse), and Dre made at least one guest appearance on each of Eminem's Aftermath albums. The Slim Shady LP has been certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA.
2000-2002: The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem ShowEdit
Eminem's third studio album, The Marshall Mathers LP, was released in May 2000. It sold 1,760,000 copies in its first week, breaking United States records held by Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle for fastest-selling hip hop album and Britney Spears' ...Baby One More Time for fastest-selling solo album. The first single from the album, "The Real Slim Shady", was a success despite controversies about Eminem's insults and questionable claims about celebrities (such as that Christina Aguilera had performed oral sex on Fred Durst and Carson Daly). In his second single, "The Way I Am", he revels the pressure from his record company to beat "My Name Is". In the third single, "Stan", Eminem assumes the persona of a deranged fan who kills himself and his pregnant girlfriend in a mirror of the song "'97 Bonnie & Clyde" from The Slim Shady LP. The Marshall Mathers LP has been certified 11x Platinum (Diamond) by the RIAA.
Eminem performed alongside Elton John at the 43rd Grammy Awards ceremony in 2001, although the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation condemned John's decision to perform with him. That same year, Eminem appeared in the Up in Smoke, Family Values and Anger Management tours.
The Eminem Show was released in May 2002. It was another success for Eminem, reaching number one on the charts and selling over 1.3 million copies in its first week. The album examines the effects of the rapper's rise to fame, his relationship with his wife and daughter, and his status in the hip hop community. The Eminem Show was the best selling album of 2002 in the United States, and was eventually certified 10x Platinum (Diamond) by the RIAA.