“Don’t do drugs, don’t have unprotected sex, don’t be violent. Leave that to
One of the most controversial rappers, Eminem, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed
white boy from Kansas City first came to the spotlight with the release of his
Grammy-winning debut album The Slim Shady LP (1999), in which he introduced his
‘Slim Shady’ persona. Sometimes credited as D12 / M. Mathers / Marshall Mathers,
Eminem, a protégé of Dr. Dre, garnered more acclaim with his albums The Marshall
Mathers LP (2001) and The Eminem Show (2003), and his singles "My Name Is"
(2000), "The Real Slim Shady" (2001), "Forgot About Dre" (with Dr. Dre, 2001),
"Lose Yourself" (2004) and "Without Me" (2004). Eminem also became the first
rapper to win an Oscar for the song "Lose Yourself." He recorded the song for
the movie 8 Mile (2002), in which he also starred.
Eminem gained controversy when the unreleased song, "We As Americans," which
allegedly had threatened the President of the United States and was leaked onto
the internet. His song "Just Lose It" also raised public eyebrows. The music
video reportedly pokes fun at former king of pop Michael Jackson, and parodies
Pee Wee Herman, MC Hammer, and a Blonde-Ambition-touring Madonna.
His marriage with high school sweetheart Kimberly Ann Scott also became
headlines. They married in 1999, but separated and reunited again in 2000. In
2001, they filed for divorce, and remarried in January 2006. Surprisingly, less
then three months later, Eminem filed for divorce again from Kim, who gave him a
daughter named Hailie. Meanwhile, Eminem was also linked to such beauties as
Brittany Murphy, Kim Basinger and Mariah Carey.
Childhood and Family
"I don't like to give the sob story: growing up in a single-parent home, never
knew my father, my mother never worked, and when friends came over I'd hide the
welfare cheese. Yo, I failed ninth grade three times, but I don't think it was
necessarily 'cause I'm stupid. I didn't go to school. I couldn't deal." Eminem
On October 17, 1973, Marshall Bruce Mathers III, who would later be famous as
Eminem, was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to a fifteen-year-old mother, Deborah
Mathers – Briggs (once sued Eminem for $12 million for defamation and settled
for $25,000), and a father who dumped the family months after his birth,
Marshall Mathers Jr.
Raised by a single mother, Eminem relocated to countless trailer homes, making
it difficult for him to make friends, graduate and stay out of trouble. At age
17, he dropped out of Lincoln High School as a 9th grader, after failing ninth
grade three times.
When he reached 12 years old, Eminem and his mother finally settled on the east
side of Detroit where he spent most of his time reading comics and watching TV.
He also helped support his mother by working as a short-order cook at a Michigan
family restaurant called Gilbert's Lodge.
On June 14, 1999, Eminem married his high school sweetheart Kimberly Ann Scott.
They separated on August 29, 2000, but reunited again on December 15, 2000.
Later that year, on March 1, 2001, they filed for divorce and the divorce was
finalized on October 11, 2001. Five years later, on January 15, 2006, Kim and
Eminem remarried in Michigan, but their marriage only lasted for 82 days. Eminem
filed for divorce on April 5, 2006.
From his marriage with Kim, Eminem has a daughter named Hailie Jade Scott (born
December 25, 1995). He also adopted Alaina, his niece, and Whitney, Kim’s other
daughter with another man.
"When I was 9 years old, my uncle put me on to the Breakin' soundtrack. The
first rap song I ever heard was Ice-T, 'Reckless.' From L.L. to the Fat Boys,
and all that shit, I was fascinated. When L.L. first came out with 'I'm Bad,' I
wanted to do it, to rhyme. Standing in front of the mirror, I wanted to be like
A huge rap fan, Marshall Mathers began rapping at 14 years old as a member of
the Motor City Duo Soul Intent, which he was with until he was 17. He then made
a name for himself, M& M, which he would later respell as "Eminem." Because of
his race, Eminem found difficulties in entering the rap music genre.
"I think my first album opened a lot of doors for me to push the freedom of
speech to the limit." Eminem
However, Eminem proved his rapping talent with the release of his first
independent album ‘Infinite’ in 1996. The album, made and produced with the help
of The Bass Brothers and fellow D12 member Kon Artis, was only made on cassette
and vinyl and sold about 500 copies out of the back of Eminem’s car. It received
no airplay and mixed critical reviews, and many people claimed that he was
copying other rappers' styles, particularly Nas and AZ.
"Infinite was me trying to figure out how I wanted my rap style to be, how I
wanted to sound on the mike and present myself. It was a growing stage. I felt
like Infinite was like a demo that just got pressed up." Eminem
The next year, Eminem released “The Slim Shady EP,” in which he first introduced
his "Slim Shady" persona. He also began featuring constant references to drug
use, perverted sexual acts and over-the-top violence.
"I had nothing to lose, but something to gain. If I made an album for me and it
was to my satisfaction, then I succeeded. If I didn't, then my producers were
going to give up on the whole rap thing we were doing. I made some shit that I
wanted to hear. The Slim Shady EP, I lashed out on everybody who talked shit
about me." Eminem
‘Slim Shady EP’ gained notable popularity and eventually attracted the attention
of Dr. Dre. He subsequently signed Eminem to his Aftermath label and
executive-produced “The Slim Shady LP,” which was released on February 23, 1999.
Dr. Dre produced the singles "My Name Is," "Guilty Conscience" and "Role Model"
while Bass Brothers produced the rest.
"It was an honor to hear the words out of Dre's mouth that he liked my shit.
Growing up, I was one of the biggest fans of N.W.A, from putting on the
sunglasses and looking in the mirror and lip-sinking, to wanting to be Dr. Dre,
to be Ice Cube. This is the biggest hip-hop producer ever." Eminem
“The Slim Shady LP,” which topped at No. 2 on the US charts, would eventually be
certified 4 times platinum. It also won two Grammy Awards (for Best Rap Solo
Performance for "My Name Is" and Best Rap Album) and an MTV Video Music Awards
(for Best New Artist for "My Name Is").
Following his first breakthrough, Eminem released his sophomore major-label
album, “The Marshall Mathers LP,” on May 23, 2000. The first single, "The Real
Slim Shady," was a huge hit, in which Eminem makes fun of Will Smith for his
speech at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards. The album sold 1.7 million copies in
the first week of its release, becoming the fastest-selling rap album in
history. It peaked at No.1 on both the U.S and U.K music charts, as well as
received a great deal of critical praise, including four Grammy nominations in
2001. Additionally, it is considered Eminem’s most successful (commercially) and
went 9 times platinum in the U.S. and 5 times in the U.K.
As a member of the rap group D12, Eminem appeared on the album “Devil's Night”
(2001), which went multi-platinum. The album spawned the singles "Purple Pills"
(renamed "Purple Hills" for radio play) and "Blow My Buzz," which was on the
soundtrack for writer-director D.J. Pooh's comedy film The Wash (2001), in which
Eminem had a cameo appearance.
2002 saw Eminem releasing his third major album, “The Eminem Show.” The
reflective album contained the singles "Business," "Cleanin' Out My Closet,"
"Without Me" (an apparent sequel to "The Real Slim Shady," in which Eminem
criticizes boy bands), "Sing for the Moment" and "Superman." It was a critical
and commercial success, becoming the best-selling album of 2002 with 7.6 million
copies sold by the year’s end.
That same year, Eminem was seen on the big screen starring in director Curtis
Hanson's rap drama film 8 Mile. In the semi-autobiographical film, Eminem
portrayed a young Detroit rapper who struggles with his anger and social status
through music, alongside Kim Basinger, Mekhi Phifer and Brittany Murphy. Eminem
also recorded several new songs for the soundtrack, including "Lose Yourself,"
which won him an Academy Award for Best Song. It became the first rap song to
win an Academy Award and received 6 Grammy nominations, including Record of the
Year. However, Eminem did not attend the coveted ceremony and one of the song's
co-writers, Luis Resto, accepted the Oscar on his behalf.
"I'm thankful for it, I'm not ungrateful. I'm very grateful. I just don't choose
to rub elbows with the whole Hollywood scene. It's not me. If there is just one
award show you don't go to you gonna look ungrateful, period. But me, I just
don't like to go to places where I feel outta my element. And me sitting there
with a bunch of movie stars and actors, I don't belong. I rap and do hip-hop,
the music that I love. I'm about the music. The Grammys are about as far as I'm
goin' go outside my element. It's still cool that I got it." Eminem (on his
Oscar and why he didn't go to the show)
Eminem’s next album, “Encore,” was released on November 12, 2004. The album's
lead single, "Just Lose It," which makes fun of the king of pop Michael Jackson
and parodies Pee Wee Herman, MC Hammer and a Blonde-Ambition-touring Madonna,
premiered on radio stations across the U.S. on September 23, 2004. The video was
also available around the world in October 2004. The second single was "Like Toy
Soldiers" (portraying the rap feud between Shady Records, Murder Inc. Records,
and Benzino), followed by a third single titled "Mockingbird" (describing the
feelings he has for his daughter Hailie Jade) and fourth single "Ass Like That"
(released in 2005). Other songs including "Mosh," an anti-Bush song which also
became the second song to be leaked to internet, and "Encore" (featured Dr. Dre
& 50 Cent), which was released as airplay only. Compared to Eminem's previous
two albums, Encore was a disappointment, receiving only 4 times platinum
On December 6, 2005, Eminem's fifth major label release, the greatest hits album
“Curtain Call: The Hits” was released. It contains three new songs: "Fack,"
"Shake That" and "When I'm Gone." The album debuted at #1 in the UK and gave
Eminem his fourth straight #1 album in the U.S. The title of the album fueled
speculations that Eminem was planning to end his rapping career.
Although Eminem owns his own label, Shady Records, he is strictly signed to Dr.
Dre's Aftermath Entertainment as a solo artist. He also signed a contract with
Sirius Satellite Radio to program a rap-oriented station called Shade 45, which
debuted on October 28, 2004, and owns a clothing line called "Shady Ltd."
Additionally, Eminem is an active producer of rap records. He has executive
produced D12's two albums, “Devil's Night” and “D12 World,” as well as produced
numerous tracks on Obie Trice's “Cheers” and 50 Cent's “Get Rich or Die Tryin'”
and “The Massacre.”
"When you get fame and fortune and you make something of your life and become
successful ... But (there is a) whole new slew of problems that I never expected
that come along with it." Eminem
World Music Awards: Pop/Rock Artist (2005)
World Music Awards: Rap/Hip-Hop Artist (2005)
Grammy: Best Male Rap Solo Performance & Best Rap Song, ''Lose
ASCAP: Most Performed Song from a Motion Picture, “Lose Yourself” (2004)
Academy Awards: Best Movie Theme Song, Lose Yourself from 8 MILE (2003)
American Music Awards: Favorite Artist and Album in Pop/Rock and
BMI Film & TV: Most Performed Song from a Film, 8 MILE (2003) - for Lose
BMI Film Music Award for 8 MILE (2003)
Brit Awards: Best International Album for The Eminem Show and Best
International Male Solo Artist. (2003)
Broadcast Film Critics Association: Best Song, 8 Mile (2003) - for Lose
Critics' Choice: Best Song, Lose Yourself (2003)
Grammy: Best Short Form Music Video for “Without Me” (2003)
Grammy: Best Rap Album, The Eminem Show (2003)
MTV Awards: Best Video, Lose Yourself. (2003)
MTV Movie Awards: Best Male Performance, 8 MILE (2003)
MTV Movie Awards: Breakthrough Male Performance, 8 MILE (2003)
Teen Choice Award: Choice Movie Actor-Dramatic/Action Adventure, 8 Mile
Teen Choice Award: Choice Movie Breakout Star, 8 Mile (2003)
MTV Europe Music Awards: Best Male, Best Hip Hop and Best Album (2002)
MTV Video Music Award: Best New Artist, "My Name Is" (1999)
Grammy: Rap Solo Performance, "My Name Is" (1999)
Grammy: Best Rap Album, The Slim Shady LP (1999)