Marshall Bruce Mathers III (born October 17, 1972), better known by his stage name Eminem (stylized as EMINƎM) and by his alter ego Slim Shady, is an American rapper, record producer, songwriter and actor. Eminem, along with his solo career, is a member of his group D12, and also one half of the hip hop duo Bad Meets Evil, with Royce da 5'9". Eminem is one of the world's best-selling music artists and is the best-selling artist of the 2000s. He has been listed and ranked as one of the greatest artists of all time by many magazines, including Rolling Stone magazine which ranked him 82nd on its list of The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. The same magazine declared him The King of Hip Hop. Including his work with D12 and Bad Meets Evil, Eminem has achieved ten number-one albums on the Billboard 200. He has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, including 42 million tracks and 49.1 million albums in the United States.
As an underground rapper Eminem released his debut solo album, Infinite in 1996. The album was a critical and commercial failure. He gained mainstream popularity in 1999 after the release of his major-label debut album The Slim Shady LP. The LP also earned Eminem his first Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. His next two records The Marshall Mathers LP, and The Eminem Show, also won Best Rap Album Grammy Awards, making Eminem the first artist to win Best Rap Album for three consecutive LPs. This was followed by another studio release in 2004 titled Encore. Eminem then went on hiatus after touring in 2005. He released his first album in five years titled Relapse, on May 15, 2009. In 2010, Eminem released his seventh studio album Recovery. Recovery was an international success and was named the best selling album of 2010 worldwide, joining The Eminem Show, which was the best seller of 2002. Eminem won Grammy Awards for both Relapse and Recovery, giving him a total of 13 Grammys in his career.
Eminem has opened other ventures, including his own record label Shady Records with his manager Paul Rosenberg. He also has his own radio channel, Shade 45 on Sirius XM Radio. Eminem began an acting career in 2002, when he starred in the hip hop drama film 8 Mile. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, becoming the first rap artist ever to win the award. He has also made cameo appearances in The Wash (2001), Funny People (2009) and the television series Entourage.
Life and career:
1972-91: Early life and beginnings:
Eminem was born Marshall Bruce Mathers III on October 17, 1972, in St. Joseph, Missouri, the only child of Deborah R. (Nelson) Mathers-Briggs (born 1955) and Marshall Bruce Mathers, Jr (born 1947). He is of Scottish,English, German, Swiss, Polish, and Luxembourgian ancestry. His mother was 15 when she had him and nearly died during his 73-hour birth. His father abandoned the family when he was 18 months old, and he was raised solely by his mother. By the age of 12, Mathers and his mother had moved between various cities and towns in Missouri (including Saint Joseph, Savannah, and Kansas City) before they settled in Warren, Michigan, and in Mathers' teenage years, Detroit.
As a child, Mathers developed an interest in storytelling and aspired to become a comic book artist before discovering hip hop. In 1982 his mother sued his school over the bullying Mathers received from D'Angelo Bailey, the bully he discusses on the song "Brain Damage". When Mathers was nine years old, his maternal uncle Ronald "Ronnie" Polkinghorn (1971-1991) introduced him to the genre after giving him a copy of Ice-T's single "Reckless". After obtaining a copy of the Beastie Boys album Licensed to Ill as a teenager, Mathers became interested in music, performing amateur raps at age 14 under the pseudonym "M&M" and joined a local hip hop group called "Bassmint Productions". Around this time they released their second EP, Steppin' onto the Scene. They later changed their name to "Soul Intent" and around 1995 they released their first single called "Fuckin' Backstabber" under the record label Mashin' Duck Records. Although he was enrolled at Lincoln High School in Warren, he frequently participated in freestyle battles at Osborn High School on Detroit's east side. Despite a well-documented struggle succeeding in a predominantly black industry, he gained the approval of underground hip hop audiences. After repeating the ninth grade three times due to truancy and near-failing grades, he dropped out of high school at age 17.
In 1991, Mathers' uncle Ronald committed suicide. Mathers has a tattoo reading "Ronnie R.I.P." on his upper left arm. He also mentions his uncle in the songs "Stan," "Cleanin' Out My Closet," and "My Dad's Gone Crazy".
1992-99: Early career, Infinite, and The Slim Shady LP:
One of Mathers' early mentors as a rapper was local rapper Champtown, who got Mathers his first studio time; Mathers made his first music video appearance in Champtown's 1992 video "Do-Da-Dipity". Mathers and Champtown later had a falling out. Mathers was initially signed to FBT Productions in 1992, run by brothers Jeff and Mark Bass. Mathers also held a minimum-wage job of cooking and dishwashing at the restaurant Gilbert's Lodge at St. Clair Shores for some time. In 1996, his debut album Infinite, which was recorded at the Bassmint, a recording studio owned by the Bass Brothers, was released under their independent label Web Entertainment. Eminem recalled, "Obviously, I was young and influenced by other artists, and I got a lot of feedback saying that I sounded like 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 mic and present myself. It was a growing stage. I felt like 'Infinite' was like a demo that just got pressed up." Subjects covered in Infinite included his struggles with raising his newborn daughter Hailie Jade Mathers while on limited funds and his strong desire to get rich. Early in his career, Eminem collaborated with fellow Detroit MC Royce da 5'9" under the stage name Bad Meets Evil. After the release of Infinite, Eminem's personal struggles and abuse of drugs and alcohol culminated in an unsuccessful suicide attempt.
Jimmy Iovine, CEO of Interscope Records, requested a demo tape of Eminem's after he placed second at the 1997 Rap Olympics. Eminem had also won Wake Up Show's "Freestyle Performer of the Year" award, helping him acquire a record deal. Iovine played the tape for record producer Dr. Dre, founder of Aftermath Entertainment. The two began recording tracks for Eminem's upcoming major-label debut The Slim Shady LP, and Eminem made a guest performance on the album Devil Without a Cause by Kid Rock. Hip-hop magazine The Source featured Eminem in its "Unsigned Hype" column in March 1998.
The Slim Shady EP was a debut extended play by Eminem, published by Web Entertainment in 1997. The Slim Shady EP was released on cassette, vinyl, and CD. The vinyl and CD versions were released in 1998. Eminem first introduced his "Slim Shady" persona on this EP, and his lyrics are a marked departure from those found on Infinite, featuring constant references to drug use, sexual acts, mental instability, and over-the-top violence. Another departure was his exploration of more serious themes of dealing with poverty, his direct and self-deprecating response to criticism, and of marital and family difficulties. His flow is also noticeably different than on Infinite; whereas critics claimed he sounded too much like Nas and AZ on that album. Eminem also began utilizing story telling on this EP. The production value of the music on the tracks -- from previous collaborators DJ Head, The Bass Brothers, and Mr. Porter -- was also noticeably higher than on prior album efforts. According to Billboard, at this point in his life Eminem had "realized his musical ambitions were the only way to escape his unhappy life".
After being signed to Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records in 1998, Eminem released his first major studio album, The Slim Shady LP, heavily based on the production by Dr. Dre, one year later in 1999. Billboard praised the album as "light years ahead of the material he had been writing beforehand". It went on to be one of the most popular albums of 1999, going triple platinum by the end of the year. With the album's popularity came controversy surrounding many of the album's lyrics. In "'97 Bonnie and Clyde", he describes a trip with his infant daughter, disposing of his wife's body. Another song, "Guilty Conscience", ends with his encouraging a man to murder his wife and her lover. "Guilty Conscience" marked the beginning of the friendship and musical bond that Dr. Dre and Eminem would share. The two label-mates would later collaborate on a line of hit songs, including "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. Dr. Dre would go on to make at least one guest appearance on all of Eminem's studio albums under the label Aftermath. The album has now been certified 4× platinum by the RIAA. With the release of it, Eminem was accused of imitating the style and subject matter of underground rapper Cage.
2000-02: The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show:
The Marshall Mathers LP was released in May 2000. It went on to sell 1.76 million copies in its first week, breaking the records set by Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle as the fastest-selling hip hop album and Britney Spears' ...Baby One More Time as the fastest-selling solo album in United States history. The first single released from the album, "The Real Slim Shady", was a success and created some controversy by insulting celebrities and making dubious claims about them; he states, among other things, that Christina Aguilera performed oral sex on Fred Durst and Carson Daly. In his second single, "The Way I Am", he reveals to his fans the pressures from his record company to top "My Name Is" and sell more records. Although Eminem had parodied shock rocker Marilyn Manson in the video "My Name Is", the artists are reportedly on good terms; Manson is name-dropped in "The Way I Am" and also appeared in its music video, as well as performing a remix of the song with Eminem in concert. In the third single, "Stan" (which samples Dido's "Thank You"), Eminem attempts to deal with his new-found fame, taking on the persona of a deranged fan who kills himself and his pregnant girlfriend, mirroring "'97 Bonnie & Clyde" on The Slim Shady LP. In the music video of "Stan", Eminem was shown writing with his left hand, ending the fan debate over his dominant hand. Q magazine named "Stan" the third-greatest rap song of all time, and the song came tenth in a similar survey conducted by Top40-Charts.com. The song has since become highly acclaimed and was ranked 290th in Rolling Stone magazine's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list. In July 2000, Eminem became the first white person to be featured on the cover of The Source magazine. This album has been certified 10× Platinum by the RIAA.
Eminem performed with Elton John at the 43rd Grammy Awards ceremony in 2001; the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), an organization that perceived Eminem's lyrics to be homophobic, condemned the openly gay John's decision to perform with Eminem.Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "It was the hug heard 'round the world. Eminem, under fire for homophobic lyrics, shared the stage with a gay icon for a performance of "Stan" that would have been memorable in any context." On February 21, the day of the ceremony, GLAAD held a protest outside the Staples Center, the venue where the Grammy ceremony was held. Music tours that he participated in for 2001 included the Up in Smoke Tour with rappers Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, and Ice Cube, the Family Values Tour with the band Limp Bizkit, and headlining the Anger Management Tour with Papa Roach, Ludacris, and Xzibit.
Eminem's third major album, The Eminem Show, was released in summer 2002 and proved to be another hit for the rapper reaching number one on the charts and selling well over 1.332 million copies in its first full week sales. It featured the single "Without Me", in which he makes derogatory comments about boy bands, Limp Bizkit, Dick Cheney and Lynne Cheney, and Moby, among others. The Eminem Show has been certified 10× Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The album reflected on the impact of his rise to fame, his relationship with his wife and daughter, and his status in the hip-hop community. He also addresses the charges he faced over assaulting a bouncer he saw kissing his wife in 2000. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic felt that while there was clear anger present on several tracks, this album was considerably less inflammatory than The Marshall Mathers LP. However, L. Brent Bozell III, who previously criticized The Marshall Mathers LP for perceived misogynistic lyrics in the album, noted The Eminem Show for its extensive use of obscene language, giving Eminem the nickname "Eminef" for the bowdlerization of motherfucker, an obscenity prevalent in the album.The Eminem Show was the best-selling album of 2002.
2003-07: Encore and musical hiatus:
On December 8, 2003, the United States Secret Service admitted it was "looking into" allegations that Eminem had threatened the President of the United States. The lyrics in question: "Fuck money/I don't rap for dead presidents/I'd rather see the president dead/It's never been said, but I set precedents ..." The song in question, "We As Americans", wound up on a bonus CD accompanying the album.
In 2004, Eminem released his fourth major album, Encore. The album was another chart-topper, as it was driven by the single "Just Lose It", notable for being disrespectful towards Michael Jackson. On October 12, 2004, a week after the release of "Just Lose It", Eminem's first single from Encore, Michael Jackson called into the Los Angeles-based Steve Harvey radio show to report his displeasure with the video, which parodies Jackson's child molestation trial, plastic surgery, and an incident in which Jackson's hair caught on fire while filming a Pepsi commercial in 1984. The lyrics to "Just Lose It" refer to Jackson's legal troubles, however he does state in his song "... and that's not a stab at Michael/That's just a metaphor/I'm just psycho...." Many of Jackson's supporters and friends spoke out about the video, including Stevie Wonder, who called the video "kicking a man while he's down" and "bullshit", and Steve Harvey, who declared, "Eminem has lost his ghetto pass. We want the pass back." In the video, Eminem parodied Pee-wee Herman, MC Hammer, and "Blond Ambition"-era Madonna. Regarding Jackson's protest, "Weird Al" Yankovic, who parodied the Eminem song "Lose Yourself" on a track titled "Couch Potato" on his 2003 album Poodle Hat, told the Chicago Sun-Times, "Last year, Eminem forced me to halt production on the video for my "Lose Yourself" parody because he somehow thought that it would be harmful to his image or career. So the irony of this situation with Michael is not lost on me."Black Entertainment Television was the first channel to stop airing the video. MTV, however, announced it would continue airing the video. The Source, through its CEO Raymond "Benzino" Scott, wanted not only the video to be pulled, but the song off the album, and a public apology to Jackson from Eminem. In 2007 Jackson and Sony bought Famous Music LLC from Viacom. This deal gave him the rights to songs by Eminem, Shakira and Beck, among others.
Despite the comedic theme of the lead single, Encore had its fair share of serious subject matter, including the anti-war track "Mosh". On October 25, 2004, a week before the 2004 US Presidential election, Eminem released the video for "Mosh" on the Internet. The song was strongly critical of President George W. Bush, with lyrics such as "fuck Bush" and "this weapon of mass destruction that we call our president". The video features Eminem gathering up an army of people, including rapper Lloyd Banks, presented as victims of the Bush administration, and leading them to the White House. However, once the army breaks in, it is revealed that they are there to simply register to vote, and the video ends with the words "VOTE Tuesday November 2" on the screen. After Bush was re-elected, the video's ending was changed to Eminem and the protesters invading while Bush was giving a speech.
In 2005, some industry insiders speculated that Eminem was considering ending his rapping career after six years and several multi-platinum albums. Speculation began in early 2005 about a double-disc album to be released late that year, rumored to be titled The Funeral. The album later manifested itself as a greatest hits album under the name Curtain Call: The Hits in December. In July 2005, the Detroit Free Press broke news of a potential final bow for Eminem as a solo performer, quoting members of his inside circle who said that he would begin to fully embrace the role of producer and label executive. On the same day of the release of the compilation album, Eminem denied that he was retiring on Detroit-based WKQI's "Mojo in the Morning" radio show, but implied that he would at least be taking a break as an artist, saying "I'm at a point in my life right now where I feel like I don't know where my career is going ... This is the reason that we called it 'Curtain Call', because this could be the final thing. We don't know." He released The Re-Up with the members of his record label, Shady Records. It was released in 2006.
In 2005, Eminem was a subject of Bernard Goldberg's book, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America; he ranked No. 58. Goldberg cited a 2001 column by Bob Herbert of The New York Times claiming, "In Eminem's world, all women are whores and he is eager to rape and murder them." Goldberg cited Eminem's song "No One's Iller" from The Slim Shady EP as an example of misogyny in his music. In summer 2005, Eminem embarked on his first US concert run in three years, the Anger Management 3 Tour, featuring 50 Cent, G-Unit, Lil Jon, D12, Obie Trice, The Alchemist, and others. In August 2005, Eminem canceled the European leg of the tour and subsequently announced that he had entered drug rehabilitation for treatment for a "dependency on sleep medication".Curtain Call: The Hits was released on December 6, 2005, under Aftermath Entertainment. In its first week it sold nearly 441,000 copies in the US and was Eminem's fourth straight No. 1 album on the Billboard Hot 200. The album has been certified 2× Platinum by the RIAA.
In September 2007, Eminem called into New York radio station Hot 97 during an interview with 50 Cent and said he was "in limbo" and "debating" about when and if he would release another album. He said, "I'm always working - I'm always in the studio. It feels good right now, the energy of the label. For a while, I didn't want to go back to the studio ... I went through some personal things. I'm coming out of those personal things and it feels good."
2008-09: Relapse and Refill:
Eminem made an appearance on his Sirius channel Shade 45 in September 2008 in which he said, "Right now I'm kinda just concentrating on my own stuff, for right now and just banging out tracks and producing a lot of stuff. You know, the more I keep producing the better it seems like I get 'cause I just start knowing stuff." It was around this time that Interscope finally confirmed the existence of a new Eminem album, with Spring 2009 later being stated as the period span in which the album is due. In December 2008, he gave more details on the album, which he recently reported was being titled Relapse. He said, "Me and Dre are back in the lab like the old days, man. Dre will end up producing the majority of the tracks on 'Relapse'. We are up to our old mischievous ways ... let's just leave it at that."
On March 5, 2009, Eminem reported in a press release that he would be releasing two new albums that year. Relapse, the first album, was released on May 19, while "We Made You", the first official single and its music video, were released on April 7. While Relapse did not manage to sell as well as Eminem's previous efforts, it was still a commercial success that received some critical acclaim, while also re-establishing his presence in the hip hop world. Relapse was named one of the top albums of 2009. Relapse has sold more than five million copies worldwide. During the 2009 MTV Movie Awards, Sacha Baron Cohen descended upon the audience wearing an angel's costume and landed on top of Eminem with his buttocks facing towards Eminem's face, resulting in Eminem storming out of the awards ceremony in disgust. Three days later, Eminem stated it was a staged act that they had planned together. On October 30, Eminem performed at the Voodoo Music Experience in New Orleans as a headliner in his first full performance in 2009. The performance included several songs from Relapse, as well as many of Eminem's older hits and an appearance by D12. On November 19, Eminem announced on his website that Relapse: Refill would be released on December 21. The album was a re-release of the Relapse album with seven bonus tracks, including "Forever" and "Taking My Ball". In a statement he described the forthcoming CD:
"I want to deliver more material for the fans this year like I originally planned ... Hopefully these tracks on The Refill will tide the fans over until we put out Relapse 2 next year ... I got back in with Dre and then a few more producers, including Just Blaze, and went in a completely different direction which made me start from scratch. The new tracks started to sound very different than the tracks I originally intended to be on Relapse 2, but I still want the other stuff to be heard. "
2010-11: Recovery and Bad Meets Evil reunion:
On April 14, 2010, Eminem tweeted, "There is no Relapse 2", to his followers. This caused people to believe that he was not releasing an album at all, but it simply meant that the album title would be changed to Recovery. He confirmed this by tweeting, "RECOVERY", with a link to his website. Eminem said, "I had originally planned for Relapse 2 to come out last year. But as I kept recording and working with new producers, the idea of a sequel to Relapse started to make less and less sense to me, and I wanted to make a completely new album. The music on Recovery came out very different from Relapse, and I think it deserves its own title." His seventh studio album, Recovery, was released on June 18. In the US, Recovery sold 741,000 in its first week to land atop the Billboard 200. It became Eminem's sixth consecutive number-one album in the US and achieved international commercial success, charting at number one in several other countries. It stayed at number-one on the US Billboard 200 chart for five consecutive weeks and a total of seven weeks.Recovery was reported by Billboard to be the best-selling album of 2010, making Eminem the first artist in Nielsen SoundScan history to have two year-end best-selling albums.Recovery is the best selling digital album in history. The first single, "Not Afraid", was released on April 29, and debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The music video was released on June 4. "Not Afraid" was followed by a second single, "Love the Way You Lie," which debuted at number 2 and then rose to the top. "Love the Way You Lie" was the best-selling single of 2010 in the United Kingdom even though it did not reach number 1 there, this is the first time this has happened in the UK since 1969. Despite some criticism towards its consistency, Recovery received positive reviews from most music critics. As of November 21, 2010 (2010-11-21), the album had sold three million copies in the US.Recovery was also named the best selling album worldwide of 2010 joining The Eminem Show, which was the best seller of 2002 giving him two worldwide year end number one albums. With Recovery, Eminem achieved the record for most successive US No.1 albums by a solo artist.
Eminem appeared at the 2010 BET Awards, performing "Not Afraid" and "Airplanes, Part II", with B.o.B. He also performed at the Activison E3 concert. In June 2010, Eminem and Jay-Z announced they would perform together in a pair of concerts in Detroit and New York. The event was dubbed The Home & Home Tour. The first two concerts rapidly sold out, prompting the scheduling of an additional show at each venue.BET also named Eminem the number one rapper of the 21st century. Eminem opened the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards on September 12, 2010, by performing "Not Afraid" and "Love the Way You Lie", with Rihanna performing the chorus. Due to the success of Recovery and the Home & Home Tour, he was named the 2010 Hottest MC in the Game by MTV and "Emcee of the Year" by hip hop news website HipHopDX. Eminem and Rihanna collaborated once again to make "Love the Way You Lie (Part II)", the sequel to their hit single "Love the Way You Lie". Rihanna is the lead singer, as opposed to Eminem being the main vocals in the original "Love the Way You Lie". The song is said to be from the female perspective. In December 2010, in Billboard's "The Top 25 Music Moments of 2010", The "Great Eminem Recovery" was named the number one music moment of 2010. Eminem appeared at the 2011 Grammy Awards on February 13, 2011, performing "Love the Way You Lie (Part II)" with Rihanna and Adam Levine, and "I Need a Doctor" with Dr. Dre and Skylar Grey. In February 2011, it was announced that "Space Bound" would be released as the fourth single from Recovery along with a music video for the song which was shot with former porn star Sasha Grey. The long-awaited video was released on June 24 on the iTunes Store.
In 2010, Eminem started collaborating with Royce da 5'9" on their first EP as Bad Meets Evil. The duo was formed in 1999 and has reunited. The EP, entitled Hell: The Sequel, was released on June 14, 2011. Eminem was featured on 'Writer's Block' with Royce da 5'9", which was officially released on April 8, 2011. On May 3, 2011, they released the lead single "Fast Lane" for the upcoming sequel, for which a music video was shot. In March 2011, within days of each other, both The Eminem Show and The Marshall Mathers LP were certified diamond by the RIAA. This makes Eminem the only rapper to have two diamond-certified albums. Also, Eminem climbed to the top of the Facebook charts by being the most followed person with more than 60 million "likes", outscoring Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Michael Jackson. Eminem is also the first artist in five years to have two number one albums in a 12-month period: Recovery and the collaborative Hell: The Sequel. Early in 2011, Eminem leaked "2.0 Boys", for which Yelawolf and Slaughterhouse collaborated upon signing to Shady Records in January 2011 and performing it in April 2011. Bad Meets Evil released their next single, "Lighters", on July 6, 2011 and premiered a music video in late August. On August 6, 2011, Eminem took several of his songs throughout his music career to a live performance at the Lollapalooza 2011, performing with various artists featured in their respective songs.
2012-present: Eighth studio album:
On May 24, 2012, Eminem announced he is working on his next studio album. It is set to be released in 2013. Even without a title or release the album was included in multiple "Most Anticipated Albums of 2013" lists; including MTV, Complex Magazine where it was listed in sixth position; and XXL Magazine, where it was listed in fifth.
On June 30, 2012, Eminem talked about the album with DJ Whoo Kid, on his own radio station, Shade 45. He stated that the material is taking shape, and that Dr. Dre will be involved in some way. On August 30, 2012, Slaughterhouse member Royce da 5'9" gave his thoughts on the album, stating "I'm not so sure how the world is going to respond from some of the things that I've heard from him." Close friend and fellow rapper 50 Cent is also confirmed to feature on the album. Eminem also was featured on Pink's album The Truth About Love on the track "Here Comes The Weekend".
On February 11, 2013, Shady Records President and Eminem manager Paul Rosenberg announced that Eminem's eighth studio album would be released after Memorial Day, 2013. "We fully expect to be releasing a new Eminem album in 2013. He's been working on it for some time," said Rosenberg. "It's safe to say that it will be post-Memorial Day at some point, but we're not exactly sure when. We've got some dates locked in for him to perform live in Europe in August, so we're trying to see what else lines up." The album remains untitled. On March 22, 2013 Dr. Dre said that Eminem was close to finishing the album and that he worked together with Eminem on it. Producer No I.D. has been confirmed to produce on the album.
Shady Records and D12:
As Eminem succeeded in multi-platinum record sales, Interscope granted him his own record label. He and his manager Paul Rosenberg created Shady Records in late 1999. He followed this by signing his own Detroit collective D12 and rapper Obie Trice to the label. In 2002, Eminem signed 50 Cent through a joint venture between Shady and Dr. Dre's Aftermath label. In 2003, Eminem and Dr. Dre signed Atlanta rapper Stat Quo to the Shady/Aftermath roster. DJ Green Lantern, the former DJ for Eminem, was signed to Shady Records until a dispute related to the 50 Cent and Jadakiss feud forced him to depart from the label; he is no longer associated with Eminem. The Alchemist is now officially Eminem's tour DJ. In 2005, Eminem signed another Atlanta rapper, Bobby Creekwater, to his label along with West Coast rapper Cashis.
On December 5, 2006, Shady Records released compilation album, Eminem Presents: The Re-Up. It started out as a mixtape but Eminem found that the material was better than expected and released it as a full album. It was meant to help launch the new artists under the roster, like Stat Quo, Cashis and Bobby Creekwater. Around the time of recording Infinite, Eminem and rappers Proof and Kon Artis gathered the group of rappers now collectively in the group D12, short for "Detroit Twelve" or "Dirty Dozen", performing in the manner of the multi-man group Wu-Tang Clan. In 2001, Eminem brought his rap group, D12, to the popular music scene, and the group's debut album Devil's Night came out that year. The first single released off of the album was "Shit on You", followed by "Purple Pills", an ode to recreational drug use. For radio and television, the censored version was heavily rewritten to remove many of the song's references to drugs and sex and was renamed "Purple Hills". While that single was a hit, the album's second single, "Fight Music", was not as successful.
After their debut, D12 took a three-year break from the studio, later regrouping to release their second album, D12 World, in 2004, which featured the popular hit single release "My Band". In April 2006, D12 member (and Eminem's childhood friend) Deshaun "Proof" Holton was killed in a club brawl on 8 Mile Road in Detroit, Michigan, with US military veteran Keith Bender, Jr., who also died in the fray. The eruption is suspected to have been due to an argument over a game of pool. Proof was then allegedly shot by the bouncer Mario Etheridge, Bender's cousin. He was taken by private vehicle to St. John Health's Conner Creek Campus, an outpatient emergency treatment site, but pronounced dead on arrival. Eminem and former Detroit Shady Records artist Obie Trice spoke at the funeral. D12 member Bizarre said that Eminem is not featured on his new album Blue Cheese & Coney Island because "he's busy doing his thing". D12 released a mixtape in 2011 titled Return of the Dozen Volume 2 only featuring Eminem on one song, "Fame" unlike the group's previous mixtape Return of the Dozen where Eminem is not on any tracks.
Although he had a small part in the 2001 film, The Wash, Eminem made his official Hollywood acting debut with the semi-autobiographical film 8 Mile, released in November 2002. He has said the movie is not an account of his life, but a representation of growing up in Detroit. He recorded several new songs for the soundtrack, including "Lose Yourself," which won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2003. "Lose Yourself" would go on to become the longest running No. 1 hip hop single. However, the song was not performed at the ceremony, due to Eminem's absence at the ceremony. His collaborator, Luis Resto, who co-wrote the song, accepted the award.
Eminem has participated in various voice acting roles. Some of these include the video game 50 Cent: Bulletproof, where he voices an aging corrupt police officer who speaks in Ebonics and guest spots on the Comedy Central television show Crank Yankers, and a web cartoon called The Slim Shady Show, which has since been pulled off-line and is instead sold on DVD. He will be involved in either the soundtrack or scoring. He was also in the running for the part of David Rice in 2008's film Jumper after Tom Sturridge was dropped just two weeks before filming. Concerns over not having a more prominent actor prompted the director, Doug Liman, to consider other actors for the role. He eventually selected Hayden Christensen over Eminem. He also had a cameo appearance in the 2009 movie Funny People, in which he is involved in an argument with Ray Romano.
It was reported on November 8, 2009, that Eminem will star in the upcoming 3D horror anthology, Shady Talez, to be produced by John Davis. A four-issue comic book series based on the film was expected to be published sometime in 2010.
Eminem appeared alongside Christina Aguilera on the Entourage Season 7 finale titled 'Lose Yourself' as himself.
Eminem is set to play a boxer in the upcoming film Southpaw. Peter Schiff will produce the film, and Antoine Fuqua is reportedly the leading candidate to direct. In January 2011, a report surfaced that Eminem will star in the upcoming thriller, Random Acts of Violence.
On October 21, 2008, Eminem released a tell-all autobiography entitled The Way I Am, which details his struggles with poverty, drugs, fame, heartbreak and depression, along with stories about his rise to fame and commentary on past controversies. This book also contains some of the original lyric sheets from songs such as "Stan" and "The Real Slim Shady."
Eminem's mother, Debbie Nelson, also released an autobiography entitled My Son Marshall, My Son Eminem, which explains Nelson's life growing up, meeting Marshall Bruce Mathers, Jr. (Eminem's father) and Eminem's rise to, and struggle with, fame.
Eminem was featured in two commercials that aired during Super Bowl XLV. The first, for Lipton's Brisk Iced Tea, was a one-minute spot that featured him as a claymation figure. The other was a two-minute ad, at that time the longest in Super Bowl history, for the Chrysler 200. It featured Eminem driving through Detroit and ended with him taking the stage at the Fox Theatre with "Lose Yourself" playing as the soundtrack.
Eminem has also founded his own charity named The Marshall Mathers Foundation, assisting disadvantaged youth. The foundation frequently works in conjunction with a charity founded by Norman Yatooma, a high profile Detroit attorney.
Influences and rapping technique:
Eminem has named several MCs who influenced his rapping style. First and foremost is his mentor, Dr. Dre, whose thick, muscular, terror- and paranoia-evoking loops have seen reincarnations in the work of Eminem. Other influences have included Esham,Kool G Rap,Masta Ace,Big Daddy Kane,Newcleus,Ice-T,Mantronix,Melle Mel (specifically the track "The Message"),LL Cool J,Beastie Boys,Run-D.M.C.,Rakim, and Boogie Down Productions.
In the book How to Rap, Guerilla Black notes that Eminem studied other MCs to create his rapping technique: "Eminem listened to everything and that's what made him one of the greats". In the same book, Eminem is praised for various aspects of his rapping technique by numerous other MCs; these techniques include his varied and humorous subject matter, connecting with his audience, carrying a concept over a series of albums, complex rhyme schemes, his ability to bend words so that they rhyme, his use of multisyllabic rhymes, fitting many rhymes in each bar, complex rhythms, clear enunciation, use of melody, and syncopation. He is also known to write the majority of his lyrics down on paper, as documented in his book The Way I Am, as well as taking a few days or a week to craft lyrics, being a "workaholic", and "stacking" vocals.
Eminem uses alter egos in his songs to use different styles of rapping and subject matters. His most famous and popular alter ego, "Slim Shady", originated from The Slim Shady EP. While under this personality, Eminem makes violent and dark songs with a comical twist. Though his Slim Shady persona has remained, Eminem did not include it in Recovery as much because he did not feel it fit the theme.
Another character Eminem has portrayed is Ken Kaniff. Ken was originally played by fellow Detroit rapper Aristotle in the Slim Shady LP, who appeared in a prank call skit towards Eminem. After the Slim Shady LP, an argument led to Eminem taking the character of Ken Kaniff and playing him in several skits starting in the Marshall Mathers LP and onwards (except for Encore and Recovery). In his Ken Kaniff personality, Ken is a homosexual who pokes fun at Eminem's songs. Aristotle, the original creator of Ken Kaniff, became angry over Eminem taking his character and created a mixtape in which he raps in his Ken persona denigrating Eminem.
Featurings and productions:
See also: Eminem production discography and Eminem guest appearances
Although he typically collaborates with various rappers under Aftermath Entertainment and Shady Records, such as Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, D12, and Obie Trice, Eminem has collaborated with many other artists, including Redman, Kid Rock, DMX, Lil Wayne, Missy Elliott, Jay-Z, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Xzibit, Method Man, Jadakiss, Fat Joe, Sticky Fingaz, T.I., Young Jeezy among others. Eminem rapped a verse in a live performance of Busta Rhymes' "Touch It" remix at the 2006 BET Music Awards on June 27, 2006. Eminem was featured on Akon's single "Smack That" which appeared on his album Konvicted. He was featured on Lil Wayne's hit song "Drop the World". He is featured on the lead single off 50 Cent's fifth studio album Street King Immortal titled "My Life".
Eminem is also an active rap producer. Besides being the executive producer of D12's first two albums, Devil's Night and D12 World, he has executive produced Obie Trice's Cheers and Second Round's on Me as well as 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' and The Massacre. In addition, Eminem has produced songs by other famous rappers, such as Jadakiss' "Welcome To D-Block", Jay-Z's "Renegade" and "Moment of Clarity" Lloyd Banks' "On Fire", "Warrior Part 2", and "Hands Up", Tony Yayo's "Drama Setter", Trick-Trick's "Welcome 2 Detroit", and Xzibit's "My Name" and "Don't Approach Me". Most of The Eminem Show was produced by Eminem himself, with co-production from longtime collaborator Jeff Bass. He split the production with Dr. Dre on Encore. In 2004, Eminem was the Executive Producer of 2Pac's posthumous album Loyal to the Game with 2Pac's mother Afeni Shakur. He produced the UK No. 1 single "Ghetto Gospel" which featured Elton John. He has produced "The Cross" off Nas's album God's Son. On August 15, 2006, Obie Trice released Second Round's on Me. Eminem produced 8 tracks on the album. He was featured in the song "There They Go". Eminem produced some tracks on Trick-Trick's album, The Villain. He is also featured in "Who Want It".
With regard to the productions on his own records, Eminem is seen as having an unusual style in that rather than write to beats he typically starts with an idea of how he wants his song to be structured based on the lyrics and then creates music according to that. A notable exception to this was the song "Stan", which came from an idea and scratch track produced by Mark the 45 King.
Comparisons to other artists:
As Asher Roth gained prominence being a white performer in a predominantly black musical genre, Roth has earned many comparisons to Eminem, so much so that he devoted a track on his album to the famed rapper, entitled "As I Em."
Eminem and Christian hip hop artist KJ-52 were often compared to each other, as many called KJ-52 the "Christian counterpart" of Eminem. KJ-52's single, "Dear Slim," became famous and controversial among Eminem fans when it was featured on the hit show Total Request Live. KJ-52 began to receive hate mail (including death threats) from Eminem's fans, though KJ-52 claimed that the song was not intended to be disrespectful. This also led to the single being disparaged by VH1 as No. 26 on their "Top 40 Worst Moments in Hip Hop".
In 2011, rapper Mac Miller was praised by Donald Trump, who called Miller "the next Eminem" in reaction to Miller's music video "Donald Trump" reaching 20 million views on YouTube. Criticism of this remark led MTV News to talk to Miller about the comment, with Miller responding "...all he meant was I'm a white rapper and I'm blowing up."
Eminem has been the subject of much scrutiny, both as a rapper and in his personal life. He was married twice to Kimberly Anne Scott, whom he met in high school. He first met Kimberly when he was 15 and she was 13 while he was standing on a table with his shirt off rapping LL Cool J's "I'm Bad." Kimberly had run away from her home as a teenager, along with her sister Dawn. They moved in with Marshall and his mother when he was 15. Kim and Marshall began their on-and-off relationship in 1989, and were married in 1999. In 2000, they filed for divorce shortly after Kim's second drunk driving conviction. The couple first divorced in 2001 but remarried in January 2006. Their second divorce was finalized in December of the same year, with the couple agreeing to share custody of their daughter, Hailie Jade Scott (born December 25, 1995).
In early 2010, Mathers responded publicly to tabloid reports of his pending reunion with Kim with a firm denial. Eminem has adopted two other daughters: Alaina "Lainie" Mathers, the child of Kimberley Scott's sister, who has been referenced by name in some songs including "Mockingbird", "Airplanes Part II" and "Going Through Changes"; and Whitney, Scott's child from a previous relationship. Whitney is mentioned in the song "Deja Vu" as well as "Going Through Changes". Mathers is also the legal guardian of his younger half-brother, Nathan who has been mentioned in "Cleanin' Out My Closet" and "My Mom".
Regarding his religious views, Eminem said in 2009 that "I definitely pray a lot more than I used to. I don't feel like I'm crazy wacky religious. But I do believe in God, and I do pray."
In 1999, Eminem's mother sued him for around US$10 million over alleged slander about her in his lyrics regarding The Slim Shady LP; she won about US$1,600 in damages in 2001.
Eminem was arrested on June 3, 2000 during an altercation at a car audio store in Royal Oak, Michigan, with Douglas Dail, where he pulled out an unloaded gun and kept it pointed at the ground. The following day, in Warren, Michigan, he allegedly saw his then wife, Kim, kiss bouncer John Guerrera in the parking lot of the Hot Rock Café, and he assaulted him and was then arrested. Eminem recreated the Guerrera assault in a skit on his junior album The Eminem Show on a track called "The Kiss (Skit)." Mathers was charged with possession of a concealed weapon and assault. Mathers plead guilty to the charges and was given two years probation for both episodes.
On July 7, 2000, Eminem's then-wife, Kimberly Scott, attempted suicide by slashing her wrists. Scott sued Eminem for defamation after he depicted her violent death in his song "Kim".
On October 26, 2000, Eminem was to perform at a concert in Toronto's Skydome. However, Ontario Attorney General Jim Flaherty argued that Canada should stop Eminem at the border. "I personally don't want anyone coming to Canada who will come here and advocate violence against women," he said. Flaherty claims to have been "disgusted" when reading transcriptions of Eminem's song "Kill You", which includes lines like "Slut, you think I won't choke no whore/till the vocal cords don't work in her throat no more?" The opinion of the general public to the requests made by the province were negative. Others said the issue was one of free speech. Liberal MPP Michael Bryant suggested that the government lay hate crime charges against Eminem for the advocacy of violence against women found in his lyrics. In a The Globe and Mail editorial, author Robert Everett-Green wrote, "Being offensive is Eminem's job description." Eminem's Toronto concert went on as planned that night.
D'Angelo Bailey, a sanitation worker, sued Eminem in 2001 and accused him of invading his privacy by publicizing (in the song "Brain Damage") unreasonable information that put him in a false light. Bailey admitted that he picked on Mathers but said he merely "bumped" him at school and threw a "little shove." On October 20, 2003, the charges were dismissed in court.
On June 28, 2001, Eminem was sentenced to one year probation on weapons charges that stemmed from an argument with an employee of Psychopathic Records, assessing him a fine around $2,000 as well as several hours of community service.
On March 31, 2002, French jazz pianist Jacques Loussier filed a $10 million lawsuit against Eminem and Dr. Dre, claiming the beat for "Kill You" was stolen from his song. Loussier demanded that all sales of the album be halted and any remaining copies destroyed. A trial date was set to begin in June 2004. The case was later settled.
On December 8, 2003, the United States Secret Service admitted it was "looking into" allegations that Eminem had threatened the President of the United States, George W. Bush, after the song "We as Americans", as an unreleased bootleg, circulated with the lyrics "Fuck money, I don't rap for dead presidents. I'd rather see the president dead, it's never been said but I set precedents." The incident was later referenced in the video for his song "Mosh" as one of several news clips on a wall, along with other newspaper articles about other unfortunate incidents in Bush's career. The song eventually appeared on the album's bonus disc, where the lyrics were extensively censored.
In 2005, Eminem's aunt and uncle, Jack and Betty Schmitt, sued him, alleging that he has promised them a $350,000 house and the money to keep it up, and instead has kept it in his name and tried to evict them.
In 2007, his music publishing company, Eight Mile Style LLC, together with Martin Affiliated LLC, filed suit against Apple Inc. and Aftermath Entertainment claiming Aftermath did not have the appropriate authority to negotiate a deal with Apple for digital downloads of 93 Eminem songs on Apple's iTunes service. The case against Apple was settled shortly after trial began in late September 2009.
In July 2010 the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in F.B.T. Productions, LLC v. Aftermath Records that F.B.T. Productions and Eminem were owed a royalty of 50% of the net revenue Aftermath obtained by licensing Eminem's recordings to companies like Apple Inc., Sprint, Nextel, Cingular, and T-Mobile. In March 2011 the Supreme Court of the United States upheld this ruling.
Eminem has spoken about his addiction to prescription drugs, including Vicodin, Ambien, and Valium. His group-mate Proof from D12 stated that Mathers "sobered up" in 2002 from drug and alcohol dependence. However, he did turn to zolpidem (Ambien) sleeping pills for relief from sleeping troubles. This caused Mathers to cancel the European leg of the Anger Management Tour in August 2005 and eventually go into rehab for treatment for a "dependency on sleep medication". In a 2009 interview with British talk-show host Jonathan Ross, Mathers admitted that at the height of his addiction, he considered suicide, saying that, "I just wasn't taking care of myself, at times I wanted to just give it up." He also confirmed that he is now sober, commenting that, "Rap was my drug ... Then I had to resort to other things to make me feel that. Now rap's getting me high again."
On April 11, 2006, Eminem's best friend and fellow D12 member, Proof, was killed by gunshot wounds to the head and chest at the CCC Club by club bouncer Mario Etheridge on 8 Mile Road in Detroit, Michigan after fatally shooting Keith Bender, Jr. On April 19, 2006, Eminem, D12, 50 Cent, and thousands of others attended Proof's funeral at The Fellowship Chapel, Detroit. Eminem made two songs about Proof's death on his album Recovery titled "Going Through Changes" and "You're Never Over", and mentions him in songs on Relapse and Recovery ("Deja Vu", "Beautiful", and "Cinderella Man").
Eminem has expressed his disdain for the policies of George W. Bush in songs such as "Square Dance", "We as Americans" and "Mosh".
See also: List of Eminem feuds
Eminem was involved in many controversies over lyrics which have been perceived as being homophobic; an Australian politician attempted to ban entry for Eminem because of these lyrics. Eminem, however, denies that he is homophobic and says that during his upbringing such obscene words as faggot and queer were commonly spoken as being derogatory in general and not implicitly singled towards homosexuals. During an interview with CBS 60 Minutes, gay journalist Anderson Cooper had a conversation about the issue with Eminem:
Cooper: Some of the lyrics, like, you know, in the song "Criminal" you say "My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge, That'll stab you in the head, whether you're a fag or lez, Or the homosex, hermaph or a trans-a-vest, Pants or dress - hate fags? The answer's "yes""
Eminem: Yeah, this scene I came up in. That word was thrown around so much, you know, faggot was like thrown around constantly to each other, like in battling.
Cooper: Do you not like gay people?
Eminem: No, I don't have any problem with nobody. You know what I mean? I'm just like whatever.
Eminem is a friend of gay singer Elton John. When asked in an interview with the New York Times about same-sex marriage being legalized in his home state of Michigan, Eminem responded, "I think if two people love each other, then what the hell? I think that everyone should have the chance to be equally miserable, if they want". He said that his "overall look on things is a lot more mature than it used to be."
Eminem is the best-selling artist of the 2000s (decade) on the US Nielsen SoundScan, and has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide to date, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. He has totaled over 2 billion views on his music videos on his official Vevo page on YouTube. Eminem was ranked 83rd on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. He was also named the Best Rapper Alive by Vibe magazine in 2008. In December 2009, Eminem was named the Artist of the Decade by Billboard magazine. In 2010, MTV Portugal ranked Eminem as the seventh biggest icon in pop music history. During 2010, Eminem's music generated 94 million streams, more than any other music artist. Also according to Billboard, Eminem has two of his albums among the top five highest selling albums of the 2000s (decade). In the UK, Eminem has sold over 12.5 million records. Eminem has also sold more than 33 million track downloads and 40.9 million albums in the United States alone. Including his work as a part of groups, Eminem has achieved ten No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200, seven solo (five studio albums, two compilations), two with D12 and one with Bad Meets Evil. Eminem has had 13 number one singles worldwide. His albums The Eminem Show, The Marshall Mathers LP, and Encore ranked as the 3rd, 7th, and 40th best-selling albums of the 2000-2009 decade respectively by Billboard magazine. In August 2011 Eminem was named "The King of Hip-Hop" by Rolling Stone. The magazine looked at solo rappers who released music between 2009 and the first half of 2011 by analizing their album sales, rankings on the R&B/hip-hop and rap charts, YouTube views, social media, concert grosses, industry awards and critics' ratings, and the data accumulated named Eminem the king of the time period.
Eminem's second major label studio album, The Marshall Mathers LP, became the fastest-selling solo album in United States history. The album has been ranked as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time by such magazines as Rolling Stone, Time, and XXL.Rolling Stone placed the album at number seven on its list of the best albums of the 2000s (decade). The album's third single, "Stan", is one of Eminem's most critically acclaimed songs, having been ranked by About.com as Eminem's best song and referred to by Pitchfork Media as "a cultural milestone". In 2005, Eminem was ranked 79th on the VH1 100 Greatest Artists of All-Time.