7 Things You Never Knew About Eminem

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7 Eminem Facts You (Probably) Never Knew

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 Eminem is one of the greatest rappers of all time. We know all about his struggles with drug addiction and his beefs with boy bands. But did you know that a gay man was instrumental in green-lighting his career? Or that he wasn't kidding about "Brain Damage"? Or that Slim Shady came to him while he was using the loo? You know, the important stuff. Here are some random life facts about Eminem.

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The Story Behind His Moniker

Everyone knows that Eminem's stage moniker stems from the combination of the first two letters in his government handle: Marshall Mathers. The origin of Slim Shady is a bit more interesting. Eminem coined the nickname "Slim Shady" while he was on the toilet, which is actually a very Eminem thing to do. 

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The Story Behind His Hair Color

Eminem's beach blond hairdo wasn't the result of a tedious brainstorming session at some fancy marketing agency. It was a mistake. Slim and his buddy Royce had been walking the streets late night. They wandered into a grocery store and for some reason, Eminem left the store with a bottle of peroxide. He woke up the next morning with blond hair. And a new look was born. When Interscope Records head honcho Jimmy Iovine saw Em's new look, he exclaimed: "This is your identity. This is the identity we've been looking for the whole time."

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How a Gay Man Helped Launch His Career

Eminem often draws ire for the homophobic slurs in his lyrics. Strangely enough, a gay poet played a role in launching Eminem's career. The original version of "My Name Is included the line: "My English teacher wanted to f--k me in junior high/The only problem was my English teacher was a guy." This angered Labi Siffre who owns the rights to the sample of "I Got The..." on "My Name Is." Eminem reluctantly changed the line to get the sample cleared. Eminem credits this song for jumpstarting his career.

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How Much He Makes from His First Single

Eminem - The Slim Shady LP
Eminem - The Slim Shady LP. © Aftermath/Interscope

Speaking of "My Name Is," Eminem claims he makes zero dollars from his first major single. Supposedly, Siffre  owns the publishing rights to "My Name Is." But Eminem went on to earn millions from subsequent releases, so things evened out. I mean, where would he be without this song?

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How Dr. Dre Helped Him Discover His Range

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Eminem experiments with his vocals in myriad ways. He sings, raps in a high-pitched voice and sometimes screams his lyrics. He wasn't always a screamer. Em credits Dr. Dre for pushing him to play with his voice and discover new ways to channel his emotion. 

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He's Been Sober for Years

© Interscope

Eminem has been sober for years. But rewind the calendar a decade or so and you might remember a time when he always rapped about drugs. One little known fact is that he didn't start indulging until after he blew up. In his autobiography, Eminem writes that people would offer him the drugs he rapped about: mushrooms, Ecstasy, Vicodin, etc. He'd join the party, probably not to seem like an a-hole. Eminem is nice like that.

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The True Story That Inspired "Brain Damage"

When Eminem rapped about being beaten to a pulp on "Brain Damage," most of us applauded him for having such an imaginative mind. Turns out the story really happened. A bully almost killed Eminem in the bathroom of an elementary school. "My brain really was bleeding out my ear," Eminem recalls. Eminem blacked out after the beating. When he finally regained consciousness, his first words were "I can spell elephant." In true Slim Shady fashion.

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Adaso, Henry. "7 Things You Never Knew About Eminem." ThoughtCo, Apr. 3, 2016, thoughtco.com/things-you-never-knew-about-eminem-2857980. Adaso, Henry. (2016, April 3). 7 Things You Never Knew About Eminem. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/things-you-never-knew-about-eminem-2857980 Adaso, Henry. "7 Things You Never Knew About Eminem." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/things-you-never-knew-about-eminem-2857980 (accessed November 19, 2017).