From his tough start in Detroit’s dangerous neighborhoods to destroying other rappers with his diss tracks, this is the truth about Eminem:
Eminem was born Marshall Bruce Mathers III in St. Joseph, Missouri in October 1972. His dad’s name is Marshall Bruce Mathers Jr., and his mother’s name is Deborah Rae Nelson. His parents were part of a musical group called Daddy Warbucks. They eventually separated, and his father left them and moved to California. Throughout Eminem’s childhood, he and his mother moved between Missouri and Michigan, during which time they’d live mostly with family members; they usually wouldn’t live in one spot for more than two years. When he was in his teens, Eminem wrote to his dad, but his letters would always come back with “return to sender” on the envelope.
In Detroit, Michigan, Eminem spent the majority of his time living in a chiefly black neighborhood where he was physically offended on several occasions. He originally aspired to be an artist for comic books before he discovered his passion for hip-hop. His childhood wasn’t stable, and he notedly fought with Debbie on a regular basis. When he was 14 years old, he would participate in freestyle rap battles in another school’s lunchroom. He also attended open mic nights at a West 7 Mile hip-hop shop. Eminem dropped out of high school at 17 years old and worked odd jobs to help his mom pay the bills.
Rise To Fame
Eminem gained recognition in the underground rap world because he was singled out in a primarily black industry. He was eventually recruited by various rap groups, including the New Jacks. After they broke up, he became a member of Soul Intent, who released an EP in 1995 that featured Proof. Eminem and Proof later joined four more rappers to form the group The Dirty Dozen or D12. Then, he signed with the Bass Brothers’ FBT Productions. Eminem recorded the album Infinite with them, but after it released in 1996, it was considered a failure. The adverse feedback he received from this record inspired him to write tracks that were more impassioned.
He was working for minimum wage as a dishwasher during this time to make ends meet. But, in 1997, he had to move back in with his mom after being fired. That same year, he recorded the Slim Shady EP, his debut EP, which was released that winter. It encompassed songs mentioning substance use and other grievous themes. Eminem went to compete in the Rap Olympics that year as well, and he made second place. Jimmy Iovine of Interscope Records heard him and sent his EP to Dr. Dre, who, after hearing it, decided to hire him immediately. In 1999, he came out with The Slim Shady LP, which was triple-platinum certified by the year’s end. Presently, the album is quadruple platinum.
One of the projects Eminem is most well-known for is the movie 8 Mile. The 2002 feature is roughly based on his life. It was filmed mostly in Detroit and the surrounding suburbs, where he spent most of his childhood. It follows B-Rabbit, played by Eminem, and his struggle for success in the hip-hop field. The title of the movie is after Detroit’s 8 Mile Road, which runs between the city and suburbs. 8 Mile stars Eminem, Michael Shannon, Kim Basinger, Mekhi Phifer, Brittany Murphy, and several others.
It opened at the number one spot at the box office and made $51,240,555 in its first weekend. And was in second place for highest R-rated openings in the United States at the time. It eventually grossed over $116,000,000 in the US and over $126,000,000 in the rest of the world. 8 Mile also became the most significant DVD debut for an R-rated film. It is number two on the Billboard list of Top 10 Best Hip-Hop Movies Ever, and it made several other lists as well. The movie won a total of eleven awards and was nominated for a total of 32.
You probably know that he was in and out of a relationship with Kimberly Anne Scott for years. However, you might not know much about her personal life outside of Eminem’s. She and her sister, Dawn, ran away from their home in 1988 to escape their destructive household. So, they ended up in a shelter near Detroit. Eminem has stated that he met Kimberly at a house party when he was 15 years old.
He was shirtless on a coffee table mimicking an LL Cool J song when he saw her standing at the door smoking. Soon after their initial meeting, he brought Kim home to his mom’s house, and she gave her and her sister a place to stay. As they continued living together, Kim and Eminem sparked a romantic relationship in 1989, and Debbie ended up kicking them out of the house. They moved to a less-than-ideal neighborhood, where they dealt with numerous robberies. In 1995, Kim gave birth to their daughter Hailie.
They tied the knot in 1999, but they divorced just a couple of years later. They got married again in 2006; however, their second union didn’t last either. Eminem filed for divorce shortly after. Many of their struggles had to do with infidelity and his mention of her in many of his songs. She even tried to take her own life in 2000 after he performed the song “Kim” at a concert in Detroit. However, they have apparently remained close friends despite all of their hardships.
Eminem is renowned for his alter egos that make appearances throughout many of his tracks. His most well-known is Slim Shady; this persona is known as Eminem’s “dark side.” Shady is the outlet Eminem uses to express more graphic lyrics. His subject matter is controversial, and many people didn’t appreciate this alternative. However, Slim Shady isn’t the only other character of this famous rapper.
Eminem himself is the musical alter ego of Marshall Mathers, and Mathers is the star’s given persona. Another character Eminem has portrayed is Ken Kaniff, who was created by the rapper Aristotle. Kaniff is a gay man that made appearances in several of Eminem’s songs as well, mostly to poke at Aristotle after their working relationship ended.
Ever since he permanently ended his romantic relationship with Kim, dating rumors concerning Eminem have been few and far between. However, recent rumors are circulating that he’s dating fellow rap star, Nicki Minaj. The two celebs have been flirting back and forth via social media, and Nicki even responded to a fan’s comment asking if they were dating with a simple “yes.” Eminem also mentioned her during his May 2018 Boston concert when he asked the crowd, “how many people in here want me to date, Nicki Minaj?” She even called him “her husband,” and a source reported to HollywoodLife that, “He thinks she’s mad talented and super hot, and he gets a kick out of flirting with her.” But, it seems the two aren’t dating in reality; they love working together and flirting, and it seems to stop at that.
Eminem has also dealt with various legal issues throughout his life. His mom sued him for $10 million in 1999 because he adversely used her name on The Slim Shady LP. In 2001, Debbie received about $1,600. He was arrested in 2000 for physically hurting John Guerrera when he reportedly saw Kim Scott kissing him. A year later, he was sentenced to a year of probation and community service and had to pay $2,000 for weapons charges.
Then, in 2002, Jacques Loussier, a jazz pianist, filed a lawsuit for $10 million against Dr. Dre and Eminem for using a beat from one of his songs; but, they settled the case out of court. In 2013, the rap group Hotstylz allegedly sued him for $8 million for sampling a song without permission.
It probably won’t come as a surprise to the Eminem fans out there that he has won numerous awards for his work. He has been nominated for 43 and has won 15 Grammys, including two in 2003 for “Lose Yourself,” two in 2009 for Best Rap Performance by a Duo and Best Rap Album, and two in 2014 for Best Rap Collaboration and Best Rap Album.
In 2003, he also won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Lose Yourself” in 8 Mile. Eminem’s other awards include well over five AMAs, a BET Hip-Hop Award, and over 15 Billboard Music Awards. He has notedly won over 150 awards total and has been nominated for almost 340.
Recently, Eminem dropped his tenth studio album, Kamikaze. The lyrics in most of his tracks criticize other artists, one of which is Joe Budden. But, the conflict between these two had been stirring for quite some time before this album was released. Budden stated, “It’s trash. One of the worst songs I’ve ever heard,” about Eminem’s song “Untouchable” from his 2017 album Revival. He struck back at the former rapper with his song “Fall.” He states in the song, “Somebody tell Budden before I snap, he better fasten it,” and followed this remark with a physical threat.
However, Budden has refused to strike back at Eminem thus far; he stated, “I think that would contradict my retirement and all the work that I’ve done up to this point… And not for two bars is what I’m saying. I’m an MC at heart still. If somebody decides to, they really want to get out in the street, I’ll meet them in the street.” Despite Budden’s reason for ignoring Eminem’s diss, he has been called out by other artists, including 50 Cent and Remy Ma.