Marshall Bruce Mathers III
(born October 17, 1972) is an American
rapper best known by the stage name
. He is one of today's most
popular and controversial rappers, and a Grammy and Oscar-winner. He is of
mostly Scottish-American descent, and was raised in Warren, Michigan. Discovered
by rapper/producer Dr. Dre, Eminem is known as one of the most skillful and
controversial rappers in the industry, becoming a crossover sensation with his
debut single "My Name Is" while simultaneously earning respect from the hip-hop
community for his lyrical talent. He is noted for his ability to change his own
pace and style multiple times within one song without losing the beat, and has
been praised for his skill in alliteration and assonance. He is infamous for the
controversy surrounding many of his lyrics. With the enormous success of his
sophomore album The Marshall Mathers LP
following its release in May
2000, and its subsequent nomination for four Grammy awards including Album of
the Year, critics such as GLAAD denounced his lyrics as homophobic, while others
protested that it was also extremely misogynistic and violent. He is, according
to the Guinness book of World Records 2005, the highest selling rapper of all
time, outselling the legendary Tupac Shakur, who has had several posthumous
albums released. His latest release is Curtain Call: The Hits
compilation which covers many of his past hit songs, and includes three new
tracks. Mathers has stated that he is taking a break from solo work but is in no
way retiring, as he continues to produce for and collaborate with
Shady/Aftermath and G-Unit artists as well as rappers under his Shady Records
Mathers was born in St. Joseph, Missouri (near Kansas City) to parents
Deborah "Debbie" Mathers-Briggs and Marshall Mathers Junior, and spent most of
his childhood moving back and forth between Kansas City, and Metro Detroit. His
father abandoned the family when Marshall was 15 months old, and the two have
not had contact since, (attempts by his father to contact him after his rise to
fame have been rejected.) Constantly moving from home to home, he frequently
changed schools, often finding himself to be an outcast in the new communities,
and frequently fell victim to bullying. On the song "Brain Damage," he recounted
(in greatly exaggerated form) being assaulted in grade school by a classmate
named D'Angelo Bailey. Bailey sued soon after the song was released, accusing Mathers of libel and privacy infringement; the suit was eventually dismissed in
By most accounts, the Mathers family was extremely poor, which was the
primary reason for their constant moves, during which Marshall and his mother
would often find themselves living in public housing, mobile homes, and under
the care of relatives. During this time, Debbie Mathers was legally taking the
prescription drugs Vicodin and Valium; Mathers later claimed in numerous
interviews and songs that his mother was abusing the drugs, to which she
retaliated with a lawsuit pressing defamation charges (see below). In the song
"Cleaning Out My Closet" (The Eminem Show, 2002), Mathers also accuses
his mother of having Munchausen syndrome by proxy, adding that "my whole life I
was made to believe I was sick when I wasn't." This was not the first time
someone had suggested she had the disorder; a social worker had made similar
comments following a 1996 investigation of her mistreatment of her second child,
Before dropping out of Lincoln High School in Warren at the age of 17 (after
failing ninth grade three times), Mathers made a number of significant
acquaintances at the school. This included fellow rapper Proof, who was to
become one of his closest friends, and future wife Kimberly Ann "Kim" Scott,
with whom he soon developed a long-term relationship. When she became pregnant,
Mathers started working on getting a record deal to support his new family; He
discusses this in "Never Far" (Infinite, 1996), saying "I got a baby on
the way, I don't even got a car...I still stay with my moms...we gotta make some
hit records or something [because] I'm tired of being broke..." When the
Infinite album failed to generate the revenue and acclaim he had hoped for,
she ended their relationship, preventing him from seeing his newborn child, a
daughter named Hailie Jade Scott (born December 25, 1995); distraught, he
attempted suicide with an overdose of Tylenol. After the attempt failed, he
resumed his efforts to succeed in the music industry and reconcile with his
ex-girlfriend. He ultimately succeeded in doing both, marrying her on June
14, 1999, in St. Joseph, Missouri. Mathers would go on to mention his daughter
extensively in some of his songs, including "'97 Bonnie & Clyde" (The Slim
Shady LP, 1999), which takes the form of a one-sided dialogue with Hailie,
as well as "Hailie's Song" (The Eminem Show, 2002), "Mockingbird"
(‘‘Encore’’, 2004), and "When I'm Gone" (Curtain Call: The Hits, 2005),
all of which are proclamations of his love and dedication to her. In addition,
he samples her voice in the track "My Dad's Gone Crazy" (The Eminem Show,
Interested in rap from a young age, Mathers began performing as early as 13,
later gaining some popularity with a group, Soul Intent. In 1996, he released
his first independent album, named Infinite (of which he sold about 500
copies out of the back of his car.) The album received no airplay and a mixed
critical response, with people claiming Eminem's rapping style sounded too
similar to Nas and AZ. Drawing on the negative experiences of his life, in 1997
he followed Infinite with The Slim Shady EP demo, which saw his
lyrics take a decidedly darker turn, in songs like "No One's Iller" and "Murder
Murder", the latter in which he talks about having to commit crimes to feed his
daughter. He became famous in the hip-hop underground because of his
distinctive, cartoonish style and the fact that he was white in a predominantly
black genre. Fellow rapper Snoop Dogg referred to him as rap's "great white
American hope" in the song "Bitch Please II."
It is said that rap artist and producer Dr. Dre found Mathers' demo on
Interscope Records president Jimmy Iovine's garage floor. While this did not
directly lead to a recording contract, Dr. Dre agreed to sign Mathers when he
won second place versus Otherwize at the 1997 Rap Olympics freestyle battle.
Other sources state that an executive at the offices of Interscope handed the
demo to Iovine who passed it to Dre, which resulted in a contract.
Entering the mainstream
At Interscope, Mathers released The Slim Shady LP, which 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 enormous 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 the body of his wife. Another song, "Guilty
Conscience," ends with him encouraging a man to murder his wife and her lover.
The Marshall Mathers LP was released in May 2000, quickly selling two
million copies. The first single released from the album, The Real Slim Shady,
was a huge hit, thanks in part to the catchy rhythm and chorus line, "Will the
real Slim Shady please stand up?" (adapted from the catch phrase of the TV quiz
show To Tell the Truth). It also created some buzz by insulting
celebrities and making dubious claims about them; he implies, among other
things, that Christina Aguilera performed oral sex on Fred Durst (of Limp
Bizkit) and Carson Daly (of MTV's Total Request Live). 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, and dismisses the alleged
controversial link between music such as that of Marilyn Manson and shootings
such as at Columbine High School as absurd, instead blaming the parents. In the
third single, "Stan" (which samples Dido's "Thank You"), Eminem attempts to deal
with his new-found fame, taking on the perspective of a deranged fan who kills
himself and his pregnant girlfriend, mirroring one of the songs on The Slim
Mathers has achieved six UK #1 singles, more than any other rapper, and has
also had the most #1 singles in the UK in the 21st century by an American
Mathers' rise to celebrity ushered the beginning of his numerous legal
troubles. The first of these was his mother's lawsuit against him in September
of that year. The lawsuit was motivated by comments on her drug use made in song
My Name Is, specifically the lyric "I just found out my mom does more
dope than I do," and similar accusations in numerous interviews. She refuted the
statements and demanded more than $10 million in damages for defamation in two
lawsuits. After rumors of Debbie dropping the suit, she reached a settlement
with her son in 2001 for $25,000, with over $23,000 of it going to her former
attorney, Fred Gibson, by a court order. Debbie's request for reconsideration
of the settlement was denied by a judge. Mathers' resentful reflections on
the case can be heard on the song "Marshall Mathers" (The Marshall Mathers LP,
2000) in the lyrics "my f...in' bitch mom is suing for 10 million/ she must want
a dollar for every pill I've been stealin'."
With Mathers' rise to stardom, new disputes arose between him and his wife,
centered around her dissatisfaction over the graphic fictional account of her
husband murdering her and dumping her body in a lake in the songs "'97 Bonnie &
Clyde" and "Kim" (The Marshall Mathers LP, 2000). The tension between the
couple came to a boiling point when he witnessed her kissing another man, one
John Guerrera, outside the Hot Rocks Café in Warren on June 4, 2000. Mathers
threatened Guerrera with an unloaded 9 mm semi-automatic firearm and allegedly
proceeded to pistol-whip him. Guerrera is mentioned in "Sing For The Moment"
on The Eminem Show, in the line "you're full of s... too, Guerrera, that
was a fist that hit you!" On the previous day, Mathers was allegedly
involved in a heated dispute in Royal Oak, Michigan with Douglas Dail, an
associate of the rap group Insane Clown Posse, with whom Mathers had an ongoing
rivalry. On The Marshall Mathers LP, on the track "Marshall Mathers,"
Eminem calls ICP's Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent Jay "Faggot 2 Dope," and "Silent
Gay," as well "you two little flaming faggots." Furthermore, a skit on this
album features Mathers' character "Ken Keniff" (a stereotypically mincing,
predatory homosexual) receiving oral sex from the ICP pair. During the
confrontation, Mathers was observed to be holding a gun, which he kept pointed
at the ground. Being taken into police custody during the Hot Rocks Café
incident, Mathers was charged with misdemeanor charges of brandishing a firearm
in public, assault with a dangerous weapon, and two counts of concealed weapon
possession, in two separate trials. After a plea bargain in the John Guerrera
case, which concluded on April 10, 2001, Mathers pleaded guilty to weapon
possession in exchange for the assault charges being dropped, receiving two
years of probation, and was ordered to pay $100,000 in damages at the
conclusion of the case evaluation in 2002. In the Dail case, he pleaded
nolo contendere to the charges of firearm possession and brandishing,
receiving one year of probation, enforced concurrently with the sentence from
the first case. He would later recount the former incident in the song
"Soldier" (The Eminem Show, 2002) and the preceding interlude "The Kiss".
While the trials were in the beginning stages, things were only getting worse
for Mathers, when on July 7, 2000, Kim attempted suicide in the couple's
Sterling Heights, Michigan home by cutting her wrists. (Mathers talks about this
incident from Hailie's point of view in the song "When I'm Gone.") This prompted
Marshall to file for divorce a few months later, which was promptly
countered by Kim with a lawsuit that sought to deny him custody of their
daughter and $10 million in defamation damages. Within weeks, however, they
settled the lawsuit, and agreed to joint custody of their daughter, with Kim
gaining physical child custody, granting him "liberal visitation rights." By
the end of the year, the couple reconciled, agreeing to dismiss divorce claims
and live together. Mathers mentions her suicide attempt and the Hot Rocks
Café incident on the Xzibit song "Don't Approach Me" (Restless, 2000).
The reconciliation, however, would not last, as she filed for divorce in
2001, which was finalized in October of that year, granting joint physical and
legal custody of Hailie to both parties, as well as requiring Mathers to make
child support payments. There was further turbulence in their relationship
when Kim was sentenced to two years of probation for felony cocaine possession
in 2003. This was not her first such incident, as she had previously faced
similar charges in 2001, although they were eventually dropped. The incident
was not to be her last, however, as she was sentenced to 30 days in jail in
2004, after failing a drug test for cocaine while still on probation. Mathers makes numerous references to her cocaine use on the Encore album,
including "you're a f...ing cokehead slut" and "mama developed a habit" in the
songs "Puke" and "Mockingbird," respectively. Their relationship since their
divorce remained in an indecisive "on-again, off-again" state for a long time.
Mathers was no stranger to drugs and alcohol, as suggested by a large number
of his songs, including "Drug Ballad" and "Under the Influence." The song "I'm
Shady" (The Slim Shady LP, 1999) includes the explanatory line "well, I
do take pills (ecstasy or prescription drugs), don't do speed / don't do
crack, don't do coke / I do smoke weed / don't do smack / I do do shrooms, do
drink beer / I just wanna make a few things clear." Other tracks do suggest
cocaine use, although he has never been in a law enforcement incident involving
drugs. However, with the sentence of two years of probation taking effect in
2001, during which he was subject to mandatory regular drug testing, his
recreational drug use was put to an end. This fact is supported with references
to his drug use in his music, which all but disappeared after 2001, and comments
by band mate Proof, who states that Mathers "sobered up". However, with
rising pressures and workload in his professional career, he found it difficult
to get the rest he wanted, and turned to Zolpidem sleeping pills for relief. His
use of the drug eventually became so severe, that in August 2005, he cancelled
the European leg of his ongoing tour, and checked into a drug rehabilitation
clinic for treatment.
Remarriage and Second Divorce
Mathers remarried Kim on January 14, 2006 in Michigan. His best man was
longtime friend and D12 member Proof, while Kim's maid of honor was their
daughter Hailie. They walked down the aisle to Mathers' song "Mockingbird."
Guests at the wedding included the other members of D12, as well as the members
of G-Unit. Kim's mother attended the wedding, while Mathers' mother did not.
However, less than 11 weeks after remarrying Kim, he filed for divorce at the
Macomb County clerk's office., citing "a breakdown in the marriage
relationship." On April 5, 2006, the news was leaked to the Detroit Free
Press and MTV's Total Request Live.
Themes and topics
Eminem's songs typically feature anger, thoughts, questions, and statements
about his life. Common topics are:
- Drugs and self-abuse
- His mother and childhood
- Being white in a black business/culture and growing up in a black
- His on-again, off-again relationship with Kim Mathers
- Disgust with groupies/dating
- Growing up in poverty-ridden Detroit
- Raising his daughter and niece
- America and the government
- Lawsuits and criminal cases
- Poking fun at celebrities and American pop culture
- Annoyance and/or amusement with people's literal interpretation of his
- His daughter Halie
With the enormous popularity of The Marshall Mathers LP, the
controversy surrounding him grew even larger, especially when it was nominated
for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Though Mathers had always claimed that
his lyrics were not meant to be taken seriously, and that he had nothing against
homosexuals or women, the gay rights group GLAAD organized a boycott of the
Grammys. Mathers responded to this by singing "Stan" on-stage with openly gay
singer Elton John, ending the performance by hugging John. This gesture failed
to appease many of his critics. In later interviews, he said he did not know
Elton John was gay, but that he respected him: "Of course I'd heard of Elton
John," Eminem said, "but I didn't know he was gay. I didn't know anything about
his personal life. I didn't really care, but being that he was gay and he had my
back, I think it made a statement in itself saying that he understood where I
was coming from." Mathers may have gotten the idea from Axl Rose of Guns n'
Roses who had performed with John on two separate instances in the early 1990s
to dispel criticism of homophobia in the song "One in a Million."
The two songs most often cited as examples in The Marshall Mathers LP
of Mathers' supposed misogyny were "Kill You" and "Kim." Critics claimed the
former portrayed extremely violent abuse against women in general and contained
a line about him raping his own mother. The latter is not so much a song as it
is a reenactment of a fictional fight between him and his wife, although his
shouted, hoarse lines do rhyme. Despite his conflicting expressions of love and
hate throughout the track, he ends up slitting Kim's throat at the end,
accompanied by cries of "Bleed, bitch, bleed!" Several people objected to the
graphic description of domestic violence. On the clean version of the CD, the
track was removed and replaced with a song almost entirely devoid of profanity
called "The Kids."
Since Mathers' rapid ascent to fame, tell-all biographies of varying quality
have been published, including Shady Bizzness by his former bodyguard
Byron Williams. Mathers himself has written a book called Angry Blonde,
released in 2000, where he reveals the emotions and intent behind the lyrics in
the Marshall Mathers LP, and describes his passion for and approach to
As one of members of the rap group D12, Mathers appeared on the album
Devil's Night, released in 2001. The album was certified multi-platinum. The
album contained the single "Purple Pills", renamed "Purple Hills" for radio
play. Another song, "Blow My Buzz", was on the soundtrack for the film The
Wash (2001), in which Mathers had a cameo appearance.
Mathers' third major album, The Eminem Show was released in summer
2002. It featured the single "Without Me," an apparent sequel to "The Real Slim
Shady," in which he makes derogatory comments about boy bands, Limp Bizkit,
Moby, and Lynne Cheney, among others. 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. While there is clear anger present on
several tracks, this album was considerably less inflammatory than the previous,
and as such did not face any protests of misogyny and homophobia that had
plagued The Marshall Mathers LP.
On November 19, 2003, new controversy surrounded Mathers when a cassette tape
was played during a press conference held by The Source magazine. The
cassette featured Mathers performing a freestyle rap in which he made
disparaging remarks about black women, calling them "dumb chicks" in comparison
to white women and claimed they are only after money. Other racial slurs and
remarks were on the tape, including the use of the word "nigger." Mathers
claimed he made the recording after breaking up with his black girlfriend in
1988; however The Source claimed the tapes were recorded in 1994, and old
friends of Eminem's claimed he never had a black girlfriend. Mathers later filed
a lawsuit against The Source for alleged copyright infringement. He also
publicly apologized for the tape.
On December 8, 2003, the United States Secret Service admitted it was
"looking into" allegations that Mathers had threatened the President of the
United States after the unreleased song "We As Americans" leaked onto the
Internet. The lyrics in question: "f... 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 was being recorded to possibly be on Encore, but
wound up on a bonus CD accompanying the album Encore. The second use of
the word "dead" was edited out of that version.
Then, in 2004, Eminem made the music video "My Band" with D12. The song was
the band's sarcastic response to the media's frequent portrayal of D12 as
Eminem's band, giving little or no credit to its other members. The video
contained various parodies, including that of the Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime
controversy, and of 50 Cent's "In Da Club" video.
On October 12, 2004, a week after the release of "Just Lose It", Eminem's
first single off 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" also refer to Jackson's legal troubles.
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
"bulls...", and Steve Harvey who declared, "Eminem has lost his ghetto pass.
We want the pass back." In the video, Eminem also parodied Pee Wee Herman,
MC Hammer, and a Blonde-Ambition-touring Madonna.
Black Entertainment Television was the first channel to stop airing the
video. MTV, however, announced it would continue airing the video, and "Just
Lose It" became the #1 requested video on Total Request Live for the week
ending October 22. 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 Mathers.
Others dismissed "Just Lose It" as a tame "Weird Al" Yankovic-style
knockoff. Regarding Jackson's protest, Yankovic, who parodied the Eminem
song "Lose Yourself" on a track titled "Couch Potato" on his 2003 album
Poodle Hat, himself 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."
On October 26, 2004, a week before the U.S. presidential election, 2004,
Eminem released the video for his song titled "Mosh" on the Internet. The song
features a very strong anti-Bush message, with lyrics such as "f... Bush" and
"this weapon of mass destruction that we call our president." The video features Mathers gathering up an army of people 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 won the election, the video's ending was changed to Eminem and the
protesters invading while Bush was giving a speech. None of the publicity helped
the album however, which saw its sales stall at 4.7 million copies, a number
dramatically lower than his past two albums. Critics panned the album's
production and lyricism as subpar in comparison to his previous efforts.
In summer 2005, Mathers embarked on his first US concert run in three years,
the Anger Management 3 Tour, featuring Lil' Jon, 50 Cent and G-Unit, D12, Obie
Trice, The Alchemist, and others. In August 2005, Mathers canceled the European
leg of the tour and subsequently announced that he had entered drug
rehabilitation for treatment for a "dependency on sleep medication."
At the same time as he was entering rehab, his aunt and uncle, Jack and Betty
Schmitt, sued him, charging that he had reneged on a promise to build a $350,000
house for them and supply them with money for the house's upkeep. The couple
claimed that Mathers had kept the house in his name, and then issued them
Mathers has made many enemies in the music industry, including Ja Rule,
Benzino, Everlast, Canibus, Vanilla Ice, Fred Durst, and others.
Other works and ventures
Mathers made his Hollywood acting debut with the semi-autobiographical 8
Mile, released in November 2002. He recorded several new songs for the
soundtrack, including "Lose Yourself," which won an Academy Award for Best Song;
it was not performed at the ceremony, reportedly because ABC wanted him to
perform an edited version.
Mathers has also done some voice acting, both on Crank Yankers and a
web cartoon called The Slim Shady Show, which has since been pulled
offline and is instead sold on DVD.
Mathers has also been linked to "Songs of Hope" by U2 and supported the Boys
and Girls Club of America and the Leary Fire Fighters Foundation with various
proceeds donated to these causes. In "Mosh", he expressed support for American
troops, but speaks against the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the Bush
administration. The Raelians Religious Movement, a religious group whose beliefs
are centered around communication with extraterrestrial life, tried to appoint
him as an honorary priest. In addition, he has raised STD awareness in a number
of songs portraying infected people having promiscuous sex with numerous
Dr. Dre's leading protégé, Mathers succeeded in multi-platinum record sales.
He was granted his own record label, a sub-label of Aftermath Entertainment. He
and his manager Paul Rosenberg created Shady Records in late 2000. Mathers and
Dr. Dre had signed 50 Cent on a joint venture between Aftermath & Shady Records.
His own Detroit collective D12 and rapper Obie Trice were signed to the Shady
Records label. In 2003, Mathers and Dr. Dre signed on Atlanta rapper Stat Quo to
the roster. DJ Green Lantern, the former deejay for Mathers, was signed to Shady
Records until a dispute with 50 Cent forced him to depart from the label; he is
no longer associated with Mathers. The Alchemist is now officially Mathers' tour
deejay. In 2005, Mathers officially signed another Atlanta rapper known as Bobby
Creekwater to his label.
Mathers signed a deal with Sirius Satellite Radio to program a rap-oriented
station called Shade 45, which debuted on October 28, 2004. He also owns
a clothing line called "Shady Ltd."
Eminem as a producer
Mathers is also active as a producer of rap records. Besides being the
executive producer of D12's two albums, Devil's Night and D12 World,
he has also produced numerous tracks on Obie Trice's Cheers as well as 50
Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' and The Massacre. In addition,
Mathers has produced and appeared on several songs by other famous rappers, such
as The Game's "We Ain't," Jadakiss' "Welcome To D-Block," Jay-Z's "Renegade,"
Lloyd Banks' "Warrior Part 2," 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 Mathers himself, with co-production from
longtime collaborator Jeff Bass. He split the production with Dr. Dre on
Encore. He also executive-produced 2Pac's posthumous album Loyal to the
Game with 2Pac's mother Afeni Shakur. On certain tracks, 2Pac's voice was
slowed down or sped up, and digitally altered to say things like "2005" and
"G-Unit," angering some fans.
Retiring Slim Shady
In 2005, some industry insiders speculated that Mathers is considering ending
his rapping career after six years and numerous 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 manifested itself
under the name Curtain Call, and was released on December 6, 2005.
In July 2005, the Detroit Free Press broke news of a potential final
bow for Mathers as a solo performer, quoting members of his inside circle who
said that he will begin to fully embrace the role of producer and label
executive. The Free Press, Mathers' hometown paper, wrote that the aptly
titled Encore album would now stand as his final solo album.
Mathers recently announced via MTV News that he does not plan on
retiring soon, though he is planning on taking a break to produce music. He is
still uncertain whether another album will be released, but his career has not
come to a full stop. He is continuing to work out of the spotlight, including
producing the Redman album Red Gone Wild.
At "Anger Management" in Madison Square Garden and Atlanta's HiFi Buys
Amphitheater, he openly announced that he is not retiring and indicates this is
all just gossip by saying the moon exploding is a more credible rumor. However,
many still speculate that he will be retiring and the announcement at Madison
Square Garden was only a ploy to distract the fans.
Adding to the already feverish rumors from fans, Mathers released a track on
Curtain Call entitled "When I'm Gone." The lyrics feature the topic of
Slim Shady's destructive power over Marshall Mathers' life, and talks of laying
his alter ego to rest, one line featuring the lyrics "Find a gun on the ground /
cock it, put it to my brain / scream 'Die Shady!' and pop it."
On December 6, 2005, the day of Curtain Call's release, Mathers denied
that he was retiring on Detroit-based WKQI's "Mojo in the Mornin'" 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." However, DJ Whoo Kid announced on
his website that he was to be releasing a new Eminem mixtape, entitled, "The
Eminem in D12
In 2001, Mathers brought his rap group, D12, to the popular music scene. In
2001, D12 released their hit debut album Devil's Night. The first single
released off of the album was "Purple Pills," an ode to recreational drug use
(although this was preceded in the UK by a song called "s... On You", which was
included on the Special Edition version of the album). The version of the song
released on the radio and music television was heavily rewritten to remove many
of the song's obscenity-laden lyrics, and renamed "Purple Hills." While the
first single was a massive hit, the album's second single, "Fight Music," was
not as successful. Some have attributed this to the emotional change caused in
American society due to the September 11, 2001 attacks. After their debut, D12
took three years in hiatus from the studio, later regrouping to releasing their
sophomore album, D12 World, in 2004, which featured the popular hit
single release "My Band." The other members of D12 have also appeared as guests
on all of Mathers' albums since The Marshall Mathers LP. D12's third
album was tentatively scheduled for a 2006 release, D12 member Bizarre had said
that the crew had spent time in the studio. However, it can be expected that the
album will be postponed due to the untimely death of one of D12's biggest stars
(and Mathers' closest friend) Proof, on April 11, 2006.
Grammy Award History
- Career Wins: 9
- Career Nominations: 21
Album of the Year
- The Eminem Show Nominated 2003
- The Marshall Mathers LP Nominated 2001
Song of the Year
- "Lose Yourself" w/ L. Restro & J. Bass Nominated 2004
Record of the Year
- "Lose Yourself" Nominated 2004
- "Without Me" Nominated 2003
Best Rap Solo Performance
- "Mockingbird" Nominated 2006
- "Just Lose It" Nominated 2005
- "The Real Slim Shady" WON 2001
- "My Name Is" WON 2000
Best Male Rap Solo Performance
- "Lose Yourself" WON 2004
- "Without Me" Nominated 2003
Best Rap Performance By a Duo or Group
- "Encore" w/ 50 Cent & Dr. Dre Nominated 2006
- "Forgot About Dre" w/ Dr. Dre WON 2001
- "Guilty Conscience" w/ Dr. Dre Nominated 2000
Best Rap Song
- "Lose Yourself" w/ L. Restro & J. Bass WON 2004
Best Rap Album
- Encore Nominated 2006
- The Eminem Show WON 2003
- The Marshall Mathers LP WON 2001
- Slim Shady LP WON 2000
Best Short-Form Music Video
Best Song Written For a Motion Picture, Television Special or Other Media
- "Lose Yourself" w/ L. Restro & J. Bass Nominated 2004
Albums and EPs
- Infinite (1996) (Sold roughly 500 copies out of the trunk of his car)
- The Slim Shady EP (1997) (Precursor to The Slim Shady LP, sharing
many of its songs)
- The Slim Shady LP (1999) #2 US (4x Platinum); #12 UK
(Platinum) (9 million worldwide)
- The Marshall Mathers LP (2000) #1 US (8 weeks) (9x Platinum);
#1 UK(5x Platinum) (21 million worldwide)
- The Eminem Show (2002) #1 US (6 weeks) (8x Platinum);
#1 UK (19 million worldwide)
- 8 Mile Soundtrack (album production, and rapping on five of the
tracks - 2002) #1 US (4 weeks) (4x Platinum); #1 UK
(compilation chart) (Gold) (9 million worldwide)
- Encore (2004) #1 US (4 weeks) (4x Platinum); #1
UK (3x Platinum) (11 million worldwide)
- Curtain Call: The Hits (2005) #1 US (2 weeks) (2x Platinum)
#1 UK (5 weeks) (6 million worldwide)
For a more detailed list of works, see Eminem discography.
- Da Hip-Hop Witch (2000) (Appearance)
- The Wash (2001) (Cameo)
- 8 Mile (2002) (Starring)
- The name "Eminem" comes from Marshall Mathers' initials: M & M, which he
likely would have chosen, had it not been for fear of a lawsuit from Mars
- Eminem is a friend of fellow Detroit rap/rock star Kid Rock, and guested on
Rock's "Devil Without a Cause" on the track "f... Off". Rock has made
appearances scratching on some of Eminem's tracks, but is only credited on "Just
Don't Give a f..." from The Slim Shady LP.
- Eminem parodied shock rocker Marilyn Manson in the video for "My Name Is,"
but the artists have met since then and are on good terms. Eminem referenced
Manson as being unfairly blamed for the Columbine High School massacre in "The
Way I Am," a song which Manson remixed and recorded a version of the chorus for.
They have also performed the song together in concert.
- The second "E" in his stage name has been reversed on his records since his
second album The Marshall Mathers LP. The backwards “E” has become a logo
for him, appearing prominently in his videos and stage set.
- Several songs were released in response to the track "Stan" off of The
Marshall Mathers LP. Enemy rapper Canibus released the track "U Didn't
Care," rapping as the Stan character and implying that Eminem doesn't care about
his fans. The Pet Shop Boys released "The Night I Fell in Love," in which a male
fan goes backstage at an Eminem concert and has a one-night stand with him.
Christian rapper KJ-52 released "Dear Slim" and "Dear Slim pt. 2," open letters
to Eminem in a similar style to "Stan."
- When Dr. Dre first heard his tape, he thought Eminem was black.
- Several of his songs have been parodied. The most famous incident was "Weird
Al" Yankovic's parody of "Lose Yourself," entitled "Couch Potato" and featuring
new lyrics about television programming. He has also been parodied twice by the
Christian parody band ApologetiX, with "Lose Yourself" ("Look Yourself") and
"The Real Slim Shady" ("The Real Sin Savior"). Also Insane Clown Posse has
parodied Eminem's song Slim Shady and renamed it "Slim Anus".
- Eminem is left-handed. This can be seen in a scene in 8 Mile where he
is sitting on a bus with a pencil in his left hand, as well as in several of the
promotional posters for the film, which depict him writing lyrics with his left
- Eminem's height: 5'8" (1.73m).
- His real hair color is in fact a dark brown, he bleaches his hair with
peroxide (as stated in "White America"); he did not bleach his hair in 8 Mile,
and so his natural hair color can be seen in the movie.
- Eminem made a guest appearance in 50 Cent's video game "50 Cent:
Bulletproof" as a corrupt cop.
- Eminem wears glasses, which can be seen in some of his interviews, as well
as on the music videos for "Mockingbird" and "Stan".
- In March 2003, Spin Magazine named him The Most Important Artist Making
Music Right Now.
- Eminem's rap group D12, short for "Dirty Dozen," has only five members. Many
people were often confused by the number. It is "12" because, before the death
of Proof, each of the six members of the group had two pseudonyms or "personas."
(For example, "Eminem" and "Slim Shady").
- Some of Eminem's freestyle lyrics in 8 Mile are ones he found in his
old house from when he was in his teens; he altered them before the movie. A lot
of those lyrics got turned down by director Curtis Hanson, however.
- Eminem was number 6 on VH1's 50 greatest hip hop artists of all time.
- Eminem is a famous fan for the NBA's Detroit Pistons.
- Eminem has been awarded nine Grammy awards. He also received nominations for
Album of the Year for both The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show.
- The Marshall Mathers LP was the first rap album to be nominated for
Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards and "Lose Yourself" was the first rap
song to be nominated for Song of the Year.
- Eminem won a Best Song Oscar for his song "Lose Yourself" from the movie
- In November 2002, Eminem had the #1 album (8 Mile Soundtrack), movie
(8 Mile), and song ("Lose Yourself") all at the same time, becoming the
first artist/entertainer ever to do so.
- Eminem listed his favorite rappers as Redman, Jay-Z, Tupac Shakur, The
Notorious B.I.G., André 3000 from OutKast, Jadakiss, Kurupt, and Nas in the song
"'Till I Collapse" from his 2002 release, The Eminem Show.
- In acceptance of his Grammy for Best Rap Album (for The Eminem Show)
in 2003, he credited his rap influences, saying, "I made me a little list of MCs
that I wanted to name off that inspired me to, to bring me where I am today -
cause honestly, I wouldn't be here without them. So the list goes like this, and
it's not in this order, but the list is this: Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys, LL Cool
J, Kool G. Rap, Master Ace, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Dr. Dre, all of N.W.A.,
KRS-One, Treach from Naughty by Nature, Nas, Tupac, Biggie, Jay-Z. Thank you,
'cause I learned from all of you. Thank you."
- Eminem's manager, Paul Rosenberg (who is featured prominently in several
skits on Eminem's solo releases), was once a rapper himself, known as "Paul
- Marshall and his wife first met at one of his friends' houses, when Eminem
was fifteen and Kim was thirteen. She came over while he was lip synching to LL
Cool J songs and jumping on the furniture.
- He is a fan of the TV show "Crank Yankers"; puppets from the show were
included in the video for "Ass Like That". He has also lent his voice to the
show numerous times, and had one of the puppets, Special Ed, host "Eminem's
- He loves South Park, and referred to himself as a
"twenty-six-year-old skinny Cartman" in the song "Marshall Mathers".
Awards and nominations
- 2003 - Best song, for "Lose Yourself" from 8 Mile
Golden Globe Awards
- 2003 - Best Original Song in a Motion Picture (Nominee), for "Lose Yourself"
from 8 Mile
- 2000 - Best rap solo performance for "My Name Is" from The Slim Shady LP
- 2000 - Best rap album for The Slim Shady LP
- 2001 - Best rap solo performance for "The Real Slim Shady" from The
Marshall Mathers LP
- 2001 - Best rap performance by a duo or group (with Dr. Dre) for "Forgot
About Dre" from Dr Dre 2001
- 2001 - Best rap album for The Marshall Mathers LP
- 2003 - Best short form music video, for "Without Me" from The Eminem Show
(directed by Joseph Kahn)
- 2003 - Best rap album for The Eminem Show
- 2004 - Best male rap solo performance for "Lose Yourself" from the 8 Mile
- 2004 - Best rap song for "Lose Yourself" from the 8 Mile O.S.T.
Grammy Award nominations
- 2006 - Best rap song for "Mockingbird" from Encore (Nominee)
- 2006 - Best rap performance by a duo or group for "Encore/Curtains Down"
(featuring Dr. Dre & 50 Cent) from Encore (Nominee)
- 2006 - Best rap album for Encore (Nominee)
MTV Movie Awards
- 2002 - Best male performance, for 8 Mile
- 2002 - Best breakthrough male performance, for 8 Mile
MTV Video Music Awards
- 1999 - Best new artist for "My Name Is" from The Slim Shady LP
- 2000 - Best video for "The Real Slim Shady" from The Marshall Mathers LP
- 2000 - Best male video for "The Real Slim Shady" from The Marshall
- 2000 - Best rap video (with Dr. Dre) for "Forgot About Dre" from Dr Dre
- 2002 - Best video for "Without Me", from The Eminem Show
- 2002 - Best male video, for "Without Me", from The Eminem Show
- 2002 - Best rap video for "Without Me", from The Eminem Show
- 2002 - Best direction, for "Without Me", from The Eminem Show
- 2003 - Best video from a film, for "Lose Yourself" from the 8 Mile O.S.T.
MTV Europe Music Awards
- 1999 - Best hip-hop act
- 2000 - Best hip-hop act
- 2000 - Best album, for The Marshall Mathers LP
- 2001 - Best hip-hop act
- 2002 - Best male act
- 2002 - Best hip-hop act
- 2002 - Best album, for The Eminem Show
- 2003 - Best hip-hop act
- 2004 - Best hip-hop act (with D12)
American Music Awards
- 2003 - Favorite pop/rock male artist
- 2003 - Favorite pop/rock album, for The Eminem Show
- 2003 - Favorite hip-hop/R&B male artist
- 2003 - Favorite hip-hop/R&B album, for The Eminem Show
- 2005 - Favorite hip-hop/R&B male artist
The best rapper in this world and a necessity to the world of