The Story of Eminem: A Brief Biography

Eminem
Eminem performs in Chicago during Lollapalooza 2014. Theo Wargo / Getty Images

Name: Marshall Bruce Mathers III

Birthday: October 17, 1972

Hometown: Detroit, MI

Eminem Trivia

  • Eminem released a little-known underground album titled Infinite, prior to his multi-platinum debut, The Slim Shady LP. He reportedly sold 500 copies of Infinite out of the trunk.
  • Eminem is now the top-selling rapper of all time, followed by the late Tupac Shakur.​

Eminem's Childhood and Early Career

Eminem fell in love with hip-hop as a teenager, dipping in and out of various rap groups.

From the defunct New Jacks crew to Soul Intent, Em constantly utilized every available platform to showcase his microphone skills early on. Along with a friend named Manix, then 14-year-old Marshall would often perform in the basement under the moniker Manix and M&M. Marshall Mathers later changed his stage name to Eminem, playing off his own initials.

Infinite Skills

Having conquered the local rap scene in Detroit through freestyle battles, Eminem had a buzz before he had a career. The obvious setback was gaining acceptance as a Caucasian rapper in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Em would later drop the laudable, Infinite LP, in '96. Naturally, he was still struggling to discover his own style. As part of his quest for uniqueness, Eminem borrowed largely from the rhyme pattern of east coast veterans AZ, Masta Ace, Redman, and Nas, on Infinite.

Mr. Controversy

Some argue that Eminem's career is hinged on shock raps and controversial dispositions.

After being discovered by Dr. Dre, who allegedly found Em's demo tape on the garage floor, the Detroit MC said 'hi' to the world with his comedic single, "My Name Is." The song sniped at pop culture icons, but it was only a taste of several controversies that would later fill Eminem's rap sheet. An accompanying full length, The Slim Shady LP, would go on to win the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Rap Album.

The Dirty Dozen

Following Dre's advice, Em waited until after the multiple-platinum Marshall Mathers LP to bring his D-12 cronies along for the ride. D-12 was originally comprised of Bugz, Proof, Kon Artis, Kuniva, Swifty, Bizarre, and Eminem. The group witnessed a dark phase in their early days when Bugz (Karnail Pitts) was killed on May 21, 1999, following an altercation at a party on Detroit's Belle Isle Park. The dark days were relived on April 12, 2006, as Proof was gunned down at a Detroit club.

Encore and Curtain Call

Eminem probably lost some fans with the release of his fourth solo album, Encore. The album, a sequel to The Eminem Show, was criticized for its cartoonish imagery and regurgitated concepts. Even though it spawned gems like the plodding political punch, "Mosh," and the introspective "Yellow Brick Road," it was still considered a disappointing hip-hop album by Eminem standards. In late 2005, he dropped the greatest hits set, Curtain Call, hinting at a possible retirement from rap.

Relapse and Recovery

On January 14, 2006, Eminem rekindled his relationship with Kim Mathers by taking her to the altar for the second time. D-12 member and longtime friend Proof served as the rapper's best man, while daughter Hailie played Kim's bride-of-honor.

Three months after their second marriage, Eminem filed for divorce from Kim, stating that a wedding doesn't solve underlying marital problems.

In 2009, Eminem reverted to his Slim Shady persona on his comeback album Relapse. He followed it up with the therapeutic Recovery LP in June 2010.

The Return of Marshall Mathers

On November 13, 2013, Eminem rebooted his Marshall Mathers persona for the sequel to his 2000 masterpiece The Marshall Mathers LP. MMLP2 captured the mind state of a man trying to escape a troubled childhood. It tipped a hat to the original with an eye to the future.

Business Ventures

Some of Eminem's business ventures include:

  • Shady Records
  • ShadE45 Sirius Satellite Radio
  • Shady Ltd. Clothing

Eminem Discography

  • 1996 - Infinite
  • 1997 - The Slim Shady EP 
  • 1999 - The Slim Shady LP 
  • 2000 - The Marshall Mathers LP
  • 2002 - The Eminem Show 
  • 2002 - 8 Mile Soundtrack 
  • 2004 - Encore 
  • 2005 - Curtain Call: The Hits 
  • 2009 - Relapse
  • 2010 - Recovery 
  • 2013: The Marshall Mathers LP 2 

Eminem Says

"Why is it so hard for people to believe that white people are poor?! I wouldn't say I lived in a ghetto, I'd say I lived in the 'hood. The same friends I had back then are the same people on tour with me now."

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Adaso, Henry. "The Story of Eminem: A Brief Biography." ThoughtCo, Aug. 29, 2017, thoughtco.com/biography-of-eminem-2857159. Adaso, Henry. (2017, August 29). The Story of Eminem: A Brief Biography. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/biography-of-eminem-2857159 Adaso, Henry. "The Story of Eminem: A Brief Biography." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/biography-of-eminem-2857159 (accessed November 24, 2017).