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To call Eminem hip-hop's Elvis is correct to a degree, but it's largely inaccurate. Certainly, Eminem was the first white rapper since the Beastie Boys to garner both sales and critical respect, but his impact exceeded this confining distinction. On sheer verbal skills, Eminem was one of the greatest MCs of his generation -- rapid, fluid, dexterous, and unpredictable, as capable of pulling off long-form narrative as he was delivering a withering aside -- and thanks to his mentor Dr. Dre, he had music to match: thick, muscular loops that evoked the terror and paranoia Em's music conjured. And, to be certain, a great deal of the controversy Eminem courted -- and during the turn of the millennium, there was no greater pop cultural bogeyman than Marshall Mathers -- came through in how his violent fantasias, often directed at his mother or his wife, intertwined with flights of absurdity that appealed to listeners too young to absorb the psychodramas Eminem explored on his hit albums, The Slim Shady LP and The Marshall Mathers LP. With hits "My Name Is" and "The Real Slim Shady," he ruled the airwaves, but it wasnt long before some detractors acknowledged his depth, helped in part by singles like the mournful "Stan," written from the perspective of an obsessed fan. Eminem capitalized on this forward momentum by crossing over onto the big screen with 8 Mile, earning acclaim for his performance and an Oscar for the films anthem "Lose Yourself," but a number of demons led him to shut down for the second half of the decade, an absence that proved life is indeed empty without Em, before he returned in 2009 with Relapse.
Born Marshall Mathers in the Kansas City suburb St. Joseph, Eminem spent his childhood between Missouri and Michigan, settling in Detroit by his teens. At the age of 14, he began rapping with a high-school friend, the two adopting the names "Manix" and "M&M," which soon morphed into Eminem. Under this name, Mathers entered battle rapping, a struggle dramatized in the fictionalized 8 Mile. Initially, the predominantly African-American audience didnt embrace Eminem, but soon his skills gained him a reputation, and he was recruited to join several rap groups. The first of these was the New Jacks, and after they disbanded, he joined Soul Intent, who released a single in 1995. This single also featured Proof, and the two rappers broke off on their own to form D-12, a six-member crew that functioned more as a Wu-Tang-styled collective than a regularly performing group.
As he was struggling to establish his career, he and his girlfriend Kim had a daughter, Hailey, forcing him to spend less time rapping and more time providing for his family. During this time, he assembled his first album, Infinite, which received some underground attention in 1996, not all of it positive. After its release, Eminem developed his Slim Shady alter ego, a persona that freed him to dig deep into his dark id, something he needed as he faced a number of personal upheavals, beginning with a bad split with Kim, which led him to move in with his mother and increase his use of drugs and alcohol, capped off with an unsuccessful suicide attempt. All this Sturm und Drang was channeled into The Slim Shady EP, which is where he first demonstrated many of the quirks that became his trademark, including his twitchy, nasal rhyming, and disturbingly violent imagery.
The Slim Shady EP opened many doors, the most notable of them being a contract with Interscope Records. After Eminem came in second at the 1997 Rap Olympics MC Battle in Los Angeles, Interscope head Jimmy Iovine sought out the rapper, giving the EP to Dr. Dre, who proved eager to work with Eminem. They quickly cut Em's Interscope debut in the fall of 1998 -- during which time Marshall reconciled with Kim and married her -- and The Slim Shady LP appeared early in 1999, preceded by the single "My Name Is." Both were instant blockbusters and Eminem turned into a lightning rod for attention, earning praise and disdain for his violent, satirical fantasias.
Eminem quickly followed The Slim Shady LP with The Marshall Mathers LP in the summer of 2000. By this point, there was little doubt that Eminem was one of the biggest stars in pop music: the album sold by the truckload, selling almost two million copies within the first two weeks of release, but Mathers felt compelled to tweak other celebrities, provoking pop stars in his lyrics, and Insane Clown Posse's entourage in person, providing endless fodder for tabloids. This gossip blended with growing criticism about his violent and homophobic lyrics, and under this fire, he reunited his old crew, D-12, releasing an album in 2001, then touring with the group.
During this furor, he had his biggest hit in the form of the moody ballad "Stan." Performed at the Grammys as a duet with Elton John, thereby undercutting some accusations of homophobia, the song helped Eminem to cross over to a middlebrow audience, setting the stage for the ultimate crossover of 2001s 8 Mile. Directed by Curtis Hanson, best-known as the Oscar-nominated director of L.A. Confidential, the gritty drama fictionalized Eminem's pre-fame Detroit days and earned considerable praise, culminating in one of his biggest hits with the theme "Lose Yourself," which won Mathers an Oscar.
After all this, he retreated from the spotlight to record his third album, The Eminem Show. Preceded by the single "Without Me," the album turned into another huge hit, albeit not quite as strong as its predecessor, and there were some criticisms suggesting that Eminem wasn't expanding his horizons much. Encore, released late in 2004, did reach into more mature territory, notably on the anti-George W. Bush "Mosh," but most of the controversy generated by the album was for behind-the-scenes events: a bus crash followed by canceled dates and a stint in rehab. Rumors of retirement flew, and the 2005 appearance of Curtain Call: The Hits did nothing to dampen them, nor did the turmoil of 2006, a year that saw Mathers re-marrying and divorcing Kim within a matter of four months, as well as the shooting death of Proof at a Detroit club.
During all this, Em did some minor studio work, but soon he dropped off the radar completely, retreating to his Detroit home. He popped up here and there, most notably debuting the hip-hop channel Shade 45 for Sirius Satellite Radio in September 2008, but it wasn't until early 2009 that he mounted a comeback with Relapse, an album whose very title alluded to some of Mathers' struggles with prescription drugs, but it also announced that after an extended absence, Slim Shady was back. While not quite a blockbuster, the album went platinum, and Eminem followed it at the end of the year with an expanded version of Relapse (dubbed Relapse: Refill) that added outtakes and new recordings. Recovery, initially titled Relapse 2, was issued in June 2010. The album debuted on top of the Billboard 200 chart, where it remained for five consecutive weeks, while its leadoff single, "Not Afraid," debuted on top of the magazine's Hot 100 singles chart.
2010 also brought Eminem back together with Royce da 5'9" under the Bad Meets Evil moniker. In turn, June 2011's Hell: The Sequel marked the release of their first EP as a duo and -- barring the previous month's release of key EP track "Fastlane" as a single -- was their first batch of new material since a 1999 double A-side. After an intense period of recording, Eminem announced in August 2013 that his next solo album would be a nostalgically themed set of new material entitled The Marshall Mathers LP 2, which was expected in early November.
Marshall Bruce Mathers III (born October 17, 1972), better known by his stage name Eminem and by his alter ego Slim Shady, is an American rapper, record producer, songwriter, and actor. In addition to his solo career, Eminem is a member of the group D12, as well as one half of the hip hop duo Bad Meets Evil, alongside Royce da 5'9". Eminem is the best-selling artist of the 2000s in the United States. Rolling Stone magazine 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. Eminem has sold more than 115 million albums and singles worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. As of June 2014, he is the second best selling male artist of the Nielsen Soundscan era, the sixth best overall selling artist in the United States, and the best-selling hip-hop artist having sold 45,160,000 albums and 31 million digital singles.
After his debut album Infinite (1996), Eminem rose to mainstream popularity in 1999 with his second album The Slim Shady LP. The Slim Shady LP was a commercial success and earned the rapper his first Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. His next two releases, The Marshall Mathers LP (2000) and The Eminem Show (2002), were worldwide successes, each earning US Diamond certification in sales. Both albums also won the Best Rap Album Grammy Award, making Eminem the first artist to win such an award for three consecutive LPs. This was followed by Encore in 2004, another critical and commercial successful album. Eminem then went on hiatus after touring in 2005. He released Relapse in 2009 and Recovery in 2010, which was named the best-selling album of 2010 worldwide, becoming the rapper's second album, after The Eminem Show, to become the internationally best-selling album of its year. Eminem won Grammy Awards for both Relapse and Recovery, giving him a total of 13 Grammys in his career. His eighth studio album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, was released in November 2013.
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. In November 2002, Eminem starred in the hip hop drama film 8 Mile. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for the film's iconic song "Lose Yourself", 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.Ankeny, Jason; Torreano, Bradley (2006). "Eminem – Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved January 30, 2008. "Eminem Is The Best-Selling Artist Of The Decade". MTV. December 8, 2009. Retrieved August 15 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help) "The Immortals: Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 16, 2008. Retrieved October 20, 2008. Chris Molanphy (August 15, 2011). "Introducing the King of Hip-Hop". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 20, 2011. Paglia, Camille (March 1, 2014). "Why Eminem is a greater artist than Lady Gaga will ever be". The Australian. Retrieved May 10, 2014. "Dr. dre Jimmy iovine and Eminem cover". xxl.com. Grein, Paul (June 11, 2014). "Chart Watch: 50 Cent’s Sales Slide". Yahoo!. "Eminem becomes first double Diamond Digital winner". June 11, 2014. "Born in the U.S.A.: Top 50 Stars of the 50 States". Billboard. Retrieved August 25, 2013. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 137. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
ContentsLife and career1.1 1972–95: Early life and beginnings1.2 1996–99: Early career, Infinite, and The Slim Shady LP1.3 2000–02: The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show1.4 2003–07: Encore and musical hiatus1.5 2008–09: Relapse and Refill1.6 2010–11: Recovery and Bad Meets Evil reunion1.7 2012–present: The Marshall Mathers LP 2
Life and career
1972–95: Early life and beginnings
Marshall Bruce Mathers III was born on October 17, 1972, in St. Joseph, Missouri. He is the only child of Marshall Bruce Mathers, Jr. (born c. 1951) and Deborah R. "Debbie" Nelson (born 1955). Eminem is of English, German, Scottish, and Swiss descent. Debbie was 14 when she first met 18-year-old Bruce and nearly died during Eminem's 73-hour birth. His parents were in a band called Daddy Warbucks, playing in Ramada Inns along the Dakota-Montana border before their relationship went sour. Bruce left the family shortly thereafter, moving to California. Bruce later had two other children, Michael and Sarah (born c. 1982), while Debbie later had a son named Nathan Kane "Nate Kane" Samara (born February 3, 1986). During childhood, Eminem and Debbie shuttled between Missouri and Michigan, rarely staying in one house for more than a year or two and mostly living with family members. In Missouri, they lived in various cities and towns, including Saint Joseph, Savannah, and Kansas City, before finally settling in Warren, Michigan when Eminem was eleven. As a teen, Eminem wrote letters to his father Bruce. According to Debbie, all of these came back "return to sender." Friends and family contend Eminem was a happy child but also "a bit of a loner" who often was bullied; one such persecutor, De'Angelo Bailey, beat Eminem so significantly that he suffered a severe head injury. In response, Debbie Nelson filed a lawsuit against the school in 1982, but the case was dismissed the following year.
Eminem spent much of his formative years living in a largely black lower-middle-class Detroit neighborhood. He and Debbie were one of three white households on their block, and Eminem was confronted and beaten up by African-Americans on several occasions. As a child, Eminem developed an interest in storytelling and aspired to become a comic book artist before discovering hip hop. Eminem heard his first rap song, "Reckless" featuring Ice-T, at age nine on the Breakin' soundtrack, which he received as a gift from Debbie's half-brother Ronald "Ronnie" Polkinghorn. Ronnie committed suicide ten years later; the loss affected Eminem so greatly that he stopped speaking for days and was absent at the funeral. His home life was seldom stable, and Eminem frequently fought with his mother, who was once described by a social worker as having a "very suspicious, almost paranoid personality." Debbie bristled at any suggestion that she was less than an ideal mother when her son became famous, contending that she sheltered Eminem and was responsible for his success. In 1987, Debbie allowed runaway Kimberly Ann "Kim" Scott to stay at their home; several years later, Eminem would begin an on-and-off relationship with Kim. After spending three years in ninth grade due to truancy and poor grades, he dropped out of Lincoln High School at age 17. Although he was highly interested in English, he was never into literature (preferring to read comic books instead) and disliked math and social studies. He worked several jobs to help his mother with bills, later maintaining that he would often be kicked out regardless. When she would leave to play bingo, Eminem would blast the stereo and write lyrics.
At the age of 14, he began rapping with high-school friend Mike Ruby, the two adopting the names "Manix" and "M&M," which soon morphed into Eminem. Eminem grew ready to test his skills by sneaking into neighboring Osborn High School with friend and fellow rapper Proof for lunchroom freestyle battles. On Saturdays, the two friends attended open-mic contests at the Hip-Hop Shop, located on West 7 Mile. The spot was considered the "ground zero" for the Detroit rap scene. While struggling to succeed in a predominantly black industry, he gained the approval of underground hip hop audiences. To put together verses, Eminem wanted the most words to rhyme, and would write long words or phrases out on paper and, underneath, proceed to rhyme each syllable. Even though it would often make little sense, the drill helped him practice. Based on his growing profile and reputation, he was recruited to join several rap groups. The first of these was the New Jacks, and after they disbanded, he joined Soul Intent, who released a single in 1995. This single also featured Proof, and the two rappers broke off on their own to form D12, a six-member crew that functioned more as a Wu-Tang-styled collective than a regularly performing group. Eminem had his first run-in with the law at age 20, when he was arrested for involvement with a drive-by shooting with a paintball. Even though the paintballs did not break, he was still arrested. However, the case would be dismissed when the victim did not show up the court.
1996–99: Early career, Infinite, and The Slim Shady LP
Eminem was soon signed to FBT Productions, run by brothers Jeff and Mark Bass, and recorded his debut album, Infinite, under their independent label Web Entertainment. Subjects covered in Infinite included his struggles with raising his newborn daughter Hailie Jade Scott Mathers while on limited funds. During this period, Eminem's rhyme style was primarily inspired by rappers Nas and AZ and his work lacked the comedically violent slant he would later gain fame for. Infinite was largely ignored by Detroit disc jockeys, and the feedback Eminem received—"Why don't you go into rock and roll?"—led him to craft angrier, more moody tracks. During this time, he and Kim Scott lived in a high-crime neighborhood, where their house was burglarized numerous times. He held a minimum-wage job of cooking and dishwashing at the rustic, family-style restaurant Gilbert's Lodge at St. Clair Shores for some time. Eminem was described by his former boss as a model employee, once working 60 hours a week in a six-month period shortly after Hailie's birth. Shortly before Christmas, he was fired from his job at Gilbert's Lodge. "It was, like, five days before Christmas, which is Hailie's birthday. I had, like, forty dollars to get her something." After the release of Infinite, Eminem's personal struggles and abuse of drugs and alcohol culminated in an unsuccessful suicide attempt. By March 1997, he was fired from Gilbert’s Lodge for the last time, and was still living in his mother's mobile home with Kim and Hailie.
Things began to pick up when Eminem developed his sadistic, ultra-violent alter ego Slim Shady. The character, "a drug-dealing, bloodthirsty thug who spits furious rhymes about murder, rape, drugs and living by the law of the urban jungle", tapped into Eminem's rage and resentment. In the spring of 1997, he recorded his debut EP, the Slim Shady EP, issued later that winter by Web Entertainment. The EP features constant references to drug use, sexual acts, mental instability, and over-the-top violence. Other departures were his exploration of more serious themes—such as dealing with poverty and marital and family difficulties—and his direct and self-deprecating response to criticism. Hip-hop magazine The Source featured Eminem in its "Unsigned Hype" column in March 1998. After being evicted from his home, he traveled to Los Angeles to participate in the 1997 Rap Olympics, an annual nationwide rap battle competition. He placed second, and the staff at Interscope Records who attended the event sent a copy of the Slim Shady EP to company CEO Jimmy Iovine. Iovine played the tape for record producer Dr. Dre, founder of Aftermath Entertainment. Dr. Dre recalled, "In my entire career in the music industry, I have never found anything from a demo tape or a CD. When Jimmy played this, I said, 'Find him. Now.'" Dr. Dre faced criticism from associates for hiring a white rapper, but maintained confidence in his decision: "I don't give a fuck if you're purple: If you can kick it, I'm working with you." Eminem, who had idolized Dr. Dre since listening to his group N.W.A as a teenager, was nervous to work with him on the album: "I didn't want to be starstruck or kiss his ass too much..... I'm just a little white boy from Detroit. I had never seen stars, let alone Dr. Dre." However, he became more comfortable working with Dr. Dre after a series of highly productive recording sessions.
Eminem released The Slim Shady LP in February 1999. It became one of the most popular albums of the year, 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 by 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 music video for "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. 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. The Marshall Mathers LP 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 released The Eminem Show in May 2002. It became another hit for the rapper, reaching number one on the charts and selling well over 1.332 million copies in its first full week of sales. It featured the single "Without Me", in which Eminem 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 its lyrical content that Bozell perceived to be misogynistic, 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 that it was "looking into" allegations that Eminem had threatened the President of the United States. The lyrics that had led to this were "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". These lyrics come from the track "We As Americans", which was later released on a bonus CD accompanying deluxe editions of Eminem's fourth major album, Encore.
Encore was released in 2004. The album was another chart-topper. Its sales were driven partly by its first single, "Just Lose It", which features slurs against Michael Jackson. On October 12, 2004, a week after the release of "Just Lose It", 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, although Eminem does state in his song "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 that it would continue airing the video. The Source, through its CEO Raymond "Benzino" Scott, wanted not only for the video to be pulled, but for the song to be removed from the album and for Eminem to publicly apologize to Jackson. 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 number 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 number one 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, during 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 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 the first official single, "We Made You", and its music video were both 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 toward 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 toward its consistency, Recovery received positive reviews from most music critics. As of November 21, 2010, 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 number one 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, performing "Not Afraid" and "Love the Way You Lie", with Rihanna singing 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". Unlike on the original "Love the Way You Lie", on the sequel Rihanna is the main vocalist. 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, and that a music video for the song would also be released and 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" by 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 they 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: The Marshall Mathers LP 2Main article: The Marshall Mathers LP 2
On May 24, 2012, Eminem announced he was working on his next studio album., set to be released in 2013. Even without a title or release date, 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 remained 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.
On August 14, 2013, a song titled "Survival" featuring Liz Rodrigues, with production by DJ Khalil was premièred in the multiplayer trailer for the video game Call of Duty: Ghosts. A following press release revealed the first single from his eighth studio album would be released soon. During the 2013 VMAs, it was revealed that Eminem's next album would be titled The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (a sequel to his previously released album The Marshall Mathers LP) and would be released on November 5, 2013.
The lead single "Berzerk" was released on August 25, 2013. It debuted at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The following singles were "Survival", which was showcased during the Call of Duty: Ghosts reveal trailer, "Rap God", and "The Monster" featuring Rihanna.
The Marshall Mathers LP 2 was released as planned on November 5, 2013, by Aftermath Entertainment, Shady Records, and Interscope Records. The standard edition contains 16 tracks, while the deluxe edition also includes a second disc with another 5 tracks. It became Eminem's seventh album to debut at No 1 on the Billboard 200. The album also has the second-largest debut sales week of the year. After the album was released Eminem became first lead artist since The Beatles to have four singles score in the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
In the United Kingdom, the album debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, becoming Eminem’s seventh consecutive number one album in the UK. By achieving such a feat, Eminem became the first American act to score seven consecutive UK Number 1 albums and is now on par with The Beatles in second place for the most chart-topping U.K. albums in a row. The album also secured Eminem's position in Canada as the best-selling artist and with the best-selling album in 2013.
In January 2014, Mark Bass of the Bass Brothers confirmed that D12, had been recently recording at the F.B.T. studio and he had been mixing their recorded material. He also confirmed that Eminem was featured on at least three songs that have been completed.
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ContentsOther ventures1.1 Shady Records and D121.2 Acting career1.3 Memoirs1.4 Advertising1.5 Charity
Shady Records and D12Main articles: 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.
In January 2014, Bass Brothers announced that D12 had returned to record at F.B.T. Studio and that they were working on a new album including Eminem featured in at least three songs completed. Bizarre (rapper) also announced that he still was part of the group and that the album will be released during 2014.
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 number one 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 was offered the lead role in the 2013 sci-fi film Elysium but reportedly turned it down, leading director Neill Blomkamp to instead cast Matt Damon.
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 in November 2008, 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."Eminem". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved April 23, 2008. "Re-Up CD". Encore. Archived from the original on April 11, 2008. Retrieved April 23, 2008. Bozza 2003, p. 19 Smith, Kerry (May 2006). "D12 > Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved May 23, 2008. Jenison, David (June 27, 2001). "Music Fans Possessed by "Devil"". E!. Retrieved April 23, 2008. "Eminem, Obie Trice Speak At Packed Funeral For Proof". MTV News. Retrieved April 23, 2008. "Bizarre: Split Personality". XXL. Retrieved April 23, 2008. "Eminem And D12 Are Making Music Again". XXL MAG. Retrieved June 18, 2014. "Lefalaja.com". Lefalaja.com. Retrieved May 24, 2010. Elson, Rachel F. "Eminem Naps Through His Oscar Victory". People. Retrieved August 8, 2008. "VU Games, Eminem, and Dr. Dre debut 50 Cent: Bulletproof". Xbox Solution. Archived from the original on January 15, 2007. Retrieved April 23, 2008. "Eminem To Star In 'Have Gun, Will Travel'". ustinet news. Retrieved April 23, 2008. "Eminem Almost Had Hayden Christensen's Role In 'Jumper'". MTV News. Retrieved April 23, 2008. This post was written on (October 29, 2009). "Shady Talez". Horror Society. Retrieved February 10, 2013. Holness, Peter (November 9, 2009). "Shady Talez". inentertainment.co.uk. Retrieved August 20, 2011. "Hiphopdx.com". Hiphopdx.com. November 8, 2009. Retrieved May 24, 2010. "Eminem, Aguilera to Appear on Entourage Season Finale". TVGuide.com. June 29, 2010. Retrieved June 30, 2010. Sean Michaels (July 18, 2013). "Eminem and Die Antwoord's Ninja both turned down lead in sci-fi film | Music". theguardian.com. Retrieved August 25, 2013. Eminem, All Grown Up? Rapper to Release Tell-All" TV Guide. October 21, 2008. Retrieved October 22, 2008. Monica Herrera (January 31, 2011). "Eminem to Star in Super Bowl Claymation Ad: Report". Billboard. Kaufmann, Gil (February 7, 2011). "Eminem Praised For Chrysler Super Bowl Commercial". MTV. Retrieved February 7, 2011. "Eminem's Chrysler Commercial Hailed as One of Top Super Bowl Ads of 2011". TheCelebrityCafe.com. February 7, 2011. Retrieved February 7, 2011. "Marshall Mathers Foundation: Celebrity Supporters".
ContentsArtistry1.1 Influences and rapping technique1.2 Alter egos1.3 Featurings and productions1.4 Comparisons to other artists
Influences and rapping technique
Eminem has named several MCs who influenced his rapping style, including 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 toward 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 onward (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, Obie Trice and also, Yelawolf, Eminem has collaborated with many other artists, including Redman, Kid Rock, DMX, Lil Wayne, Missy Elliott, Jay-Z, Drake, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Xzibit, Method Man, Jadakiss, Fat Joe, Sticky Fingaz, T.I., and 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 number one 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". Eminem also produced four songs on Cashis's 2013 album The County Hound 2.
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. After not significantly contributing production for his own records on Relapse and Recovery, on 2013's The Marshall Mathers LP 2 Eminem produced a significant amount of the album. He spoke on producing his own songs saying, "Sometimes, I may get something in my head, like an idea or the mood of something that I would want, and I'm not always gonna get that by going through different tracks that other people have made. They don't know what's in my head. I think maybe it helps, a little bit, with diversity, the sound of it, but also, I would get something in my head and want to be able to lay down that idea from scratch."
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 number 26 on their "Top 40 Worst Moments in Hip Hop".Hess, Mickey (2009). "Esham". Hip Hop in America: A Regional Guide: Volume 1: East Coast and West Coast. ABC-CLIO. pp. 411–413. ISBN 0-313-34323-3. Edwards, 2009, p. 88. Eminem, with Sacha Jenkins, 2008, The Way I Am, Dutton Adult, p. 20. Edwards, 2009, p. x. Edwards, 2009, pp. 5, 38. Edwards, 2009, p. 7. Edwards, 2009, p. 34. Edwards, 2009, pp. 66, 107. Edwards, 2009, p. 85. Edwards, 2009, p. 106. Edwards, 2009, pp. 120, 129. Edwards, 2009, p. 244. Edwards, 2009, p. 253. Edwards, 2009, p. 257. Edwards, 2009, p. 160. Edwards, 2009, p. 212. Edwards, 2009, p. 282. Tyrangiel, Josh (June 3, 2002). "The Three Faces of Eminem". TIME. Retrieved March 7, 2011. "Eminem Says 'Slim Shady' Wasn't Right for Recovery". MTV News. Retrieved March 7, 2011. "Who is Ken Kaniff? Is he a real person? And why eminem is so upset with him?". Answerbag. Retrieved August 20, 2011. Daly, Sean (March 3, 2005). "Guns & Lovers: Two Sides of 50 Cent". Washington Post. Retrieved April 23, 2008. "For The Record: Quick News On Eminem And Jadakiss, William Hung, Blink-182, Beastie Boys, The Darkness & More". MTV News. Retrieved April 23, 2008. "White American". The Village Voice. Retrieved April 23, 2008. Godfrey, Sarah (December 22, 2004). "Posthumous 2Pac and the Living Em". Washington Post. Retrieved April 23, 2008. "Elton John goes hip-hop!". NME. UK. Retrieved April 23, 2008. "Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 9, 2007. Retrieved April 23, 2008. "Obie Trice Back For 'Seconds' On New CD". Billboard. Archived from the original on August 8, 2007. Retrieved April 23, 2008. Reid, Shaheem (January 28, 2008). "Eminem Brings Weight To Trick Trick LP; Newcomer Says Slim Shady Hasn't Gotten Fat, Though". MTV News. Retrieved February 1, 2008. "Interview With Marc Labelle". HitQuarters. November 28, 2005. Retrieved June 21, 2010. "Eminem Describes Returning To Producing On "The Marshall Mathers LP 2"". November 20, 2013. "Asher Roth Is on His Way to Stardom". Philadelphia Weekly. Retrieved August 20, 2011. "The Christian Slim Shady? | Teens". Christianitytoday.com. January 3, 2001. Retrieved October 11, 2011. "ChristianMusicToday.com: KJ-52 Interview – Getting It Right". Christianitytoday.com. Retrieved October 6, 2011. "KJ-52 – 2006 GMA Music Awards". Google. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
ContentsPersonal life1.1 Family1.2 Legal troubles1.3 Drug issues1.4 Proof's death1.5 Homophobia controversy
Eminem has been the subject of much scrutiny, both as a rapper and in his personal life. He was married twice to Kimberly Anne "Kim" Scott, whom he met in high school. He first met Kim 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." Kim had run away from her home as a teenager, along with her twin sister Dawn. The sisters moved in with Eminem and his mother Debbie Mathers when he was 15. He began his on-and-off relationship with Kim in 1989. Their daughter Hailie was born on December 25, 1995. The couple married in 1999 and divorced in 2001. Even though he told Rolling Stone in 2002 "I would rather have a baby through my penis than get married again", he remarried Kim in January 2006. However, he soon ended their second marriage by filing for divorce in early April 2006. The two agreed to share custody of Hailie.
In early 2010, Eminem publicly denied tabloid reports of him reuniting with Kim. Eminem had legal custody of his younger half-brother, Nate Kane, during Nate's adolescence. Nate is mentioned in "Headlights".
Regarding his religious views, Eminem said in 2009 "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."
On November 5, 2013, Eminem released the track "Headlights" on his eighth studio album The Marshall Mathers LP 2 as an apology to his mother, Debbie Mathers.
In 1999, Eminem's mother Debbie sued him for around US $10 million over his alleged slander of her in lyrics on The Slim Shady LP; she won about US $1,600 in damages in 2001.
Eminem was arrested on June 3, 2000 during an altercation with Douglas Dail at a car audio store in Royal Oak, Michigan, 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, resulting in Eminem assaulting the bouncer and then being arrested. Eminem recreated the Guerrera assault in a skit on his fourth album The Eminem Show on a track called "The Kiss (Skit)". Eminem was charged with possession of a concealed weapon and assault. He pled guilty to the charges and was given two years probation for both episodes.
On July 7, 2000, Kim attempted suicide by slashing her wrists. Kim 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 such as "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 Eminem 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 jazz instrumental "Pulsion". 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 Eminem "sobered up" in 2002 from drug and alcohol use. During production of 8 Mile, Eminem worked on the set 16 hours a day and began to have trouble sleeping. An associate provided Eminem with an Ambien that effectively "knocked [him] out," which led him to get a prescription. This would be Eminem's first experience with drug addiction that would follow him for several years afterward. Near the end of production on Encore, Eminem would "just go into the studio and goof off [with] a pocketful of pills." Eminem began taking the drugs to "feel normal," which involved taking a "ridiculous amount [.....] I could consume anywhere from 40 to 60 Valium [in a day]. Vicodin maybe 30." Essentially, the drugs never allowed Eminem to sleep for more than two hours a night, after which he'd only take more. He grew to 230 pounds and was eating fast food regularly: "The kids behind the counter knew me – it wouldn't even faze them. Or I'd sit up at Denny's or Big Boy and just eat by myself. It was sad." Publicly, he became rather unrecognizable due to the added weight; once, he overheard two teens arguing whether it was him or not, maintaining that "Eminem ain't fat."
Eminem's struggle with prescription drugs peaked in a December 2007 overdose on methadone. He had first bought methadone from a dealer asserting it was "just like Vicodin, and easier on [your] liver." Eminem continued to buy more until collapsing in his bathroom one night, after which he was rushed to the hospital. Doctors informed him that he had taken the equivalent of four bags of heroin, and was "about two hours from dying." After missing Christmas with his children, Eminem checked himself out of the facilities and, not yet fully detoxed, was completely drained of strength. When he tore his meniscus "after falling asleep for literally 10 minutes," he underwent surgery; following this, he went home and had a seizure. He relapsed within three weeks, and after a month his addiction was in full swing again. He began to attend church meetings to get clean, but after being asked for autographs, he instead called a rehab counselor who helped him for the first time. Eminem began exercising and running excessively, and effectively went sober on April 20, 2008. Friend Elton John was a mentor during this time; John would call Eminem once a week to check on him.
On April 11, 2006, Eminem's best friend and fellow D12 member, Proof, was killed by club bouncer Mario Etheridge by gunshot wounds to the head and chest at the CCC Club on 8 Mile Road in Detroit, Michigan, after Proof fatally shot 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 Proof in other songs such as "Deja Vu", "Beautiful", and "Cinderella Man". In 2010, the Eminem song "Difficult" was leaked online; the song is a tribute to Proof.
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 aimed toward homosexuals. During an interview with CBS 60 Minutes, 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 singer Elton John, who is gay. 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."Cite error: The named reference criminal was invoked but never defined (see the help page). He met Kim when he was 15 and she was 13. He was standing on a table with his shirt off rapping LL Cool J's "I'm Bad." — 50 Things You Didn't Know About Eminem | Complex Robertson, Jessica (April 5, 2006). "Eminem to Divorce Kim, Again". Rolling Stone. Wenner. Retrieved April 7, 2014. Eames, Tom (October 8, 2013). "Eminem's daughter Hailie is named Homecoming Queen". Digital Spy. Hearst. Retrieved April 7, 2014. "Eminem & Wife Reunion Denied". National Ledger. February 8, 2010. Retrieved February 10, 2010. Vultaggio, Maria (October 30, 2013). "Eminem Apologizes To Mother Debbie Mathers In 'Headlights'". International Business Times. IBT Media. Retrieved April 7, 2014. "Eminem's Religion and Political Views". The Hollowverse. May 10, 2012. Retrieved February 10, 2013. http://www.eminem.com/new-album/mmlp2_tracklisting "Eminem Finally Apologizes to Mom on 'Headlights'". Rolling Stones. October 13, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013. Bozza 2003, p. 69 "Tour tickets available for a price". The 411 Online. Retrieved April 23, 2008. "Entertainment | Eminem and Kim to divorce again". BBC News. April 6, 2006. Retrieved April 17, 2014. "Eminem Gets Two Years' Probation In Weapon Case". MTV. Retrieved April 23, 2008. "Eminem wife's suicide bid". BBC News. July 10, 2000. Retrieved June 14, 2011. Mackie, Richard; Marissa Nelson (October 26, 2000). "Ontario wants rap star banned". Globe and Mail (Toronto). pp. A1, A4. |accessdate= requires |url= (help) Everett-Green, Robert (October 26, 2000). "Bad rap for a rapper". Globe and Mail (newspaper) (Toronto). p. A25. |accessdate= requires |url= (help) Zahlaway, Jon (October 26, 2000). "Eminem to play despite Canadian officials concerns". LiveDaily. Retrieved May 27, 2009. Cite error: The named reference Fox_News was invoked but never defined (see the help page). van Horn, Teri (June 28, 2001). "Eminem Gets Probation". MTV News. Retrieved January 30, 2008. "Eminem sued by jazz star". BBC News. March 31, 2002. Retrieved December 24, 2008. Finn, Robin (May 25, 2007). "A Defender of the Controversial, and Now of Imus". New York Times. |accessdate= requires |url= (help) "Secret Service checks Eminem's 'dead president' lyric". CNN. December 5, 2003. Retrieved May 2, 2010. "Crainsdetroit.com". Crainsdetroit.com. September 23, 2009. Retrieved May 24, 2010. "Apple, Eminem headed for trial as talks break down," Stempel, Jonathan, 2009 September 23, reuters.com "Eminem's Music Publisher, Apple Settle Dispute". Cbsnews.com. October 6, 2009. Retrieved September 12, 2010. Petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied., March 21, 2011 McGee, Tiffany (May 4, 2009). "Eminem Bounces Back from 20-Pill-a-Day Addiction". Retrieved November 28, 2010. "Has Eminem Gone The Way Of Mase And MC Hammer?". MTV News. March 4, 2002. Retrieved April 23, 2008. Eells, Josh (November 25, 2010). "Eminem on the Road Back From Hell". Rolling Stone (New York City: Wenner Media LLC) (1118). ISSN 0035-791X. Retrieved March 9, 2013. Van Gelder, Lawrence (April 14, 2006). "Arts Briefly: Rapper Who Was Killed Fired First Shot, Police Say". The New York Times. Retrieved December 15, 2012. Bozza, Anthony (April 20, 2006). "Proof positive". The Observer (The Guardian UK). Retrieved December 15, 2012. Ziegbe, Mawuse (December 30, 2010). "Eminem's Proof Tribute 'Difficult' Leaks Online". MTV.com. Retrieved April 17, 2014. "Australia wants to ban Eminem". Hollywood.com. July 2, 2001. Retrieved March 30, 2012. "EMINEM DISCUSSES HOMOPHOBIC LYRICS WITH ANDERSON COOPER". Towelroad.com. November 10, 2010. Retrieved October 2, 2012. "Elton John – John Slams Eminem's Homophobic Label – Contactmusic News". Contactmusic.com. April 8, 2005. Retrieved March 30, 2012. "New 'tolerant' Eminem supports gay marriage". Today.msnbc.msn.com. June 17, 2010. Retrieved March 30, 2012. Solomon, Deborah (June 16, 2010). "Questions for Eminem – The Real Marshall Mathers". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved March 11, 2012.
Legacy and influence
Eminem has frequently been referred to as one of the greatest hip-hop artists of all time. He was ranked 83rd on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and was ranked 79th on the VH1 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.
Eminem is the best-selling artist of the 2000s (decade) on the US Nielsen SoundScan, and the estimated sale of over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. He has totaled over 3 billion views on his music videos on his official Vevo page on YouTube. During 2010, Eminem's music generated 94 million streams, more than any other music artist and in May 2014 Spotify announced him as the most streamed artist of all time. Also according to Billboard, Eminem has two of his albums among the top five highest selling albums of the 2000s (decade).Love the way you lie(11× Platinum) and Not Afraid(10× Platinum) are Diamond certified by RIAA, this makes him the first artist ever with two digital Diamond certified songs in the US. In the UK, Eminem has sold over 12.5 million records. Eminem has also sold more than 33 million track downloads and 45,160,000 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 analyzing 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".
Several hip-hop artists have cited Eminem as an influence, including 50 Cent, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, B.o.B., Bubba Sparxxx, Asher Roth, Machine Gun Kelly, Yelawolf, Hopsin, Tyler the Creator, Hollywood Undead, Chris Webby, and Chance the Rapper. In addition, many contemporary rap pioneers have stated that he is one of the greatest rappers of all time, such as David Banner, Talib Kweli, Kool G. Rap, Redman, and Jay-Z."Rolling Stone, 100 Greatest Artists of All Time". Retrieved March 31, 2012. "The Immortals: The First Fifty". Rolling Stone Issue 946. Retrieved July 8, 2008. "Michael Jackson, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones Top..... – NEW YORK, August 25 /PRNewswire/". New York: Prnewswire.com. August 25, 2010. Retrieved October 26, 2010. Reid, Shaheem (October 7, 2008). "Eminem Is The Best Rapper Alive, According To Vibe Poll". Mtv. 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