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Eminem (born Marshall Bruce Mathers III on October 17, 1972 in Saint Joseph, Missouri, USA), is one of today's most controversial and popular rappers. He currently lives in Clinton Charter Township, Michigan in the outskirts of Detroit.

Brought to fame by rapper and producer Dr. Dre, Eminem is perhaps best known for being one of the most skillful rappers in the industry. He is noted for his ability to change his own verbal pace ("flow") and style multiple times within one song without losing the beat. Eminem is also praised for his skill in assonance. He is also infamous for the controversy surrounding many of his lyrics. Critics such as GLAAD have denounced his lyrics as excessively homophobic, misogynistic, and violent. The height of such controversy came in 2000, when The Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem's most commercially successful album, was released. However, he has received a great deal of praise within the hip-hop community for his lyrical ability.

While generally avoiding overtly political tones previously, Eminem released the song "Mosh," which harshly criticizes President George W. Bush, in late 2004 before the presidential election. Encore was released later that year, but was considered by many critics to be a disappointment in comparison to his previous three albums. Although Eminem does not consider himself a militant or political artist, he did have his own Hip Hop Political Convention in response to the national political conventions held in 2004. 50 Cent, a protégé of Dr. Dre and Eminem, reached superstardom in 2003.

Themes and Topics

A large part of Eminem's popularity is his separation from the over-abundance of "pop-rap", in which rhymes rarely stray from bragging about money and jewelry ("bling"), fast cars ("whips") with massive rims ("24's"), huge parties and constant casual sex. Instead, Eminem's songs typically explore deeper anger, thoughts, questions, and statements about his life and how he is treated. Common topics are:

  • His mother and childhood
  • Being white in a black business
  • His ex-wife Kim or disgust with groupies/dating
  • Raising his daughter and niece
  • America and the government
  • Poking fun at celebrities and Pop America


With the enormous popularity of Eminem's second album, the controversy surrounding Eminem grew even larger, especially when The Marshall Mathers LP 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 against Eminem. Mathers responded to this by singing "Stan" on-stage with openly gay singer Elton John, ending the performance by hugging John to show that he didn't have anything against homosexuals. Though it shocked a lot of people, this gesture failed to appease all of his critics.

Since Eminem's rapid ascent to fame, tell-all biographies of varying quality have been published, including Shady Bizzness by his former bodyguard Byron Williams. Eminem 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 rapping.

As one of six members of the rap group D12, Eminem 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 Eminem had a cameo appearance.

Album cover of The Eminem Show (2002).

Eminem's 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, *NSYNC's Chris Kirkpatrick, Limp Bizkit, Moby, and Lynne Cheney, among others.

On November 19, 2003, new controversy surrounded Eminem 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. The ordeal would later end up with Eminem filing a lawsuit against The Source for alleged copyright infringement. The magazine's CEO Raymond "Benzino" Scott]] is currently feuding with Eminem.

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" (since included on Encore) leaked onto the Internet. The lyrics in question: "Fuck money/ I don't rap for dead presidents/ I'd rather see the president dead/ It's never been said, but I set precedents".

Then, in 2004, Eminem made the music video "My Band" with D12. The controversial 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 Janet Jackson "incident", 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 video and 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 accusations, Jackson's plastic surgeries, and an incident in which Jackson's hair caught on fire while he was filming a Pepsi commercial in 1984. The lyrics to "Just Lose It" also refer to Jackson's troubles. In the video, Eminem also parodied Pee Wee Herman, MC Hammer, and a Blonde-Ambition-touring Madonna. Harvey himself declared, "Eminem has lost his ghetto pass. We want the pass back." [1]

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 magazine, through its CEO Raymond "Benzino" Scott, wanted not only the video pulled, but the song off the album, and a public apology to Jackson from Eminem [2].

Others dismissed "Just Lose It" as a tame "Weird Al" Yankovic-style knockoff [3]. 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 "fuck Bush" and "this weapon of mass destruction that we call our president". The video features Eminem 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. On October 31, Eminem performed the song on Saturday Night Live, but some thought that he appeared to be lip-syncing it, only a week after Ashlee Simpson was caught lip-syncing her performance on the program. None of the publicity helped the album however, which saw its sales stall at 4.7 million copies. Such a figure would be considered acceptable for most other artists, but it is dramatically lower than his past two hits.

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, D-12, 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". [4].

At the same time as he was entering rehab, his aunt and uncle, Jack and Betty Schmitt, sued Mathers, 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 eviction orders.

On November 8th, 2005 it was revealed that Eminem was asked to perform at Live 8, But he never responded to calls from Live 8 organizers Sir Bob Geldof and Bono. “Bono called me while I was in Africa and said ‘he’s not calling me back. I’ve got these pictures of kids wearing Eminem and D-12 t-shirts and we got them sent off to Eminem’s office but did we hear anything? It’s sad.'”

Eminem has made many enemies in the music industry, e.g. Ja Rule, Benzino, Everlast, Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong.

Other works and ventures

Promotional poster for 8 Mile.

Eminem 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 Eminem an Academy Award for Best Song; it was not performed at the ceremony, reportedly because ABC wanted him to perform an edited version. He has also lent his voice to the Crank Yankers show and a web cartoon called "The Slim Shady Show", which has since been pulled offline and is instead sold on DVD.

Eminem 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 2004, he held a political convention of his own in New York City, in response to the National Republican Convention. In the song Mosh, Eminem expresses his support for American troops, but speaks against the Iraq war and the Bush administration. Eminem was also made an honorary priest by the Raelians Religious Movement, a cult whose beliefs are centered around aliens. In addition, he has raised AIDS and other STD awareness in a number of songs describing infected people having promiscuous sex with numerous partners.

Shady Records

Dr. Dre's leading protégé succeeded in multi-platinum record sales. Eminem was granted his own record label. He and his manager Paul Rosenberg created Shady Records in 2000. Eminem had signed his best-selling artist, 50 Cent, to the roster. His own Detroit collective D12 and rapper Obie Trice were also signed to the label. In 2003, Eminem and Dr. Dre signed on Atlanta rapper Stat Quo to the roster. DJ Green Lantern, the former deejay for Eminem, was signed to Shady Records until a dispute with 50 Cent forced him to depart from the label, and he is no longer associated with Eminem. The Alchemist is now officially Eminem's tour deejay. In 2005, Eminem officially signed another Atlanta rapper known as Bobby Creekwater to his label.

Eminem 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

Eminem 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. Furthermore, his own records increasingly contain tracks produced by himself. He recently produced some tracks on 2Pac's fifth posthumous album, Loyal To The Game, with 2Pac's mother, Afeni Shakur.

Retiring Slim Shady

In 2005, some industry insiders are speculating that Eminem is considering concluding his rapping career after five years and numerous multi-platinum albums. Speculation began in early 2005 about a double disc album to be released late that year, titled Curtain Call. Eminem has varified the greatest hits album and placed a December 6th release date on it.

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 will begin to fully embrace the role of producer and label executive. The Free Press, Eminem's hometown paper, wrote that the aptly titled Encore album would now stand as his final solo album.

Deep within Eminem's inner circle there is talk that the rapper is planning on retiring after he concludes his Anger Management Tour in Detroit. The reason for his retirement is to focus on acting, spending time with his daughter and niece, and more on his increasing popularity in production. Eminem and his manager Paul Rosenburg as well as their representatives will not comment on the situation. This may not mean his retirement from rapping completely, as he may well still contribute to many of his Shady Record artists projects as well as Dr. Dre's possible Detox album.

Eminem 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. The star is continuing to work out of the spotlight, including producing Redman album 'Red Gone Wild'. The track 'I C Dead People' features raps from the late artists, Big Pun, Big L and Notorious BIG.

However, as he entered rehab in 2005 for dependency on sleep medication, many are speculating that he will use this event to lay down his microphone.

At "Anger Management" in Madison Square Garden and Atlanta's HiFi Buys Amphitheater he openly announced that he is not retiring and indicates this all just gossip by saying the moon is going to crash into the Earth as 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.

Eminem has fuelled speculation that he plans to retire by announcing the release of a career retrospective. The greatest hits collection 'Curtain Call' is set to be released on December 6th (According to a newsletter sent out by Eminem's official mailing list), and will feature "at least two" new songs in addition to hits such as 'Stan', 'The Way I Am', 'My Name Is' and 'Lose Yourself', according to the his Aftermath/Interscope label.

Adding to the already feverish rumours from fans, Eminem recently released a new track entitled, "When I'm Gone." The song talks of laying Slim Shady to rest, one line featuring the lyrics "I see a gun on the ground/put it to my brain/scream die Shady and pop it." Whether or not this is an unsubtle hint at retirement is currently up for speculation.

Eminem in D12

In 2001, Eminem brought D12 on to the rap scene and also became a member of D12. In 2001, D12 released their hit debut album titled Devil's Night. The first single released off of the album was "Purple Pills," an ode to recreational drug use. The version of the song released on the radio and music television was heavily rewritten to remove much of the song's offensive nature, and retitled "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 3 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 Eminem's albums since The Marshall Mathers LP.

Music videos

  • 2001 (with Dr Dre):
    • Forgot About Dre
  • Devil's Night (with D12):
    • Shit On You
    • Purple Hills (or Purple Pills, the album version)
    • Fight Music
  • D12 World (with D12):
    • My Band
    • 40 Oz.
    • How Come
    • Git Up
    • U R The One

(other appearances: "Rock City" by Royce da 5'9, "Gatman and Robbin" by 50 Cent, "Don't Approach Me" by Xzibit, "Dead Wrong" by The Notorious B.I.G. & "The Anthem" by Sway & Tech)


Albums and EPs

  • Infinite (1996)
  • The Slim Shady EP (1997)
  • 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 (6x Platinum)(18 million worldwide)
  • Devil's Night (2001)( as member of D12 4 million worldwide )
  • The Eminem Show (2002) #1 US (6 weeks) (8x Platinum); #1 UK (4x Platinum)(over 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)
  • D12 World (2004)( as member of D12 4 million worldwide )
  • Encore (2004) #1 US (4x Platinum); #1 UK (3x Platinum)(over 10 million worldwide)
  • Curtain Call (2005)

Popular Bootleg Releases

  • Off the Wall
  • Don't Call Me Marshall
  • Straight From The Lab


From The Slim Shady LP:

From The Marshall Mathers LP:

From The Eminem Show:

From 8 Mile Soundtrack:

  • 2002 "Lose Yourself" #1 (12 weeks) US; #1 UK - Silver certification

From The Eminem Show:

From Encore:

From Curtain Call:

Guest appearances

From Shyhalude / 3hree6ix5ive (by OldWorlDisorder feat. Eminem)

From Attack of the Weirdos (by Bizarre):

  • 1998 "Trife Thieves" (Bizarre featuring Eminem & Fuzz)

From Dr. Dre 2001 (by Dr. Dre):

  • 1999 "Forgot about Dre" (Dr. Dre featuring Eminem) #25 US; #7 UK
  • 1999 "Whats The Difference" (Dr. Dre featuring Eminem and Xzibit)

From Born Again (by Notorious B.I.G.):

  • 1999 "Dead Wrong" (Notorious B.I.G. featuring Eminem)

Non-album single:

From Black trash autobiography (by Sticky Fingaz):

  • 2001 "What if I was White" (Sticky Fingaz featuring Eminem)

From The Blueprint (by Jay-Z):

  • 2001 "Renegade" (Jay-Z featuring Eminem)

From Rock City 2.0 (by Royce Da 5'9"):

  • 2002 "Rock City" (Royce Da 5'9" featuring Eminem)

From Get Rich or Die Tryin' (by 50 Cent):

  • 2003 Patiently Waiting (50 Cent featuring Eminem)
  • 2003 "Don't Push Me" (50 Cent featuring Eminem and Lloyd Banks)

From Cheers (by Obie Trice):

  • 2003 "We All Die One Day" (Obie Trice featuring 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks and Eminem)
  • 2003 "Shit Hits The Fan" (Obie Trice featuring Dr. Dre and Eminem)
  • 2003 "Hey Lady" (Obie Trice featuring Eminem)
  • 2003 "Hands On You" (Obie Trice featuring Eminem)
  • 2003 "Outro" (Obie Trice featuring Eminem & D12)

From Tupac: Resurrection (OST) (by 2Pac):

  • 2004 "One Day at a Time" (Tupac featuring Eminem and Tha Outlawz) #80 US

From Kiss of Death (by Jadakiss):

  • 2004 "Welcome To D-Block" (Jadakiss featuring Eminem, Styles P, and Sheek Louch)

From The Hunger For More (by Lloyd Banks):

  • 2004 "Warrior, Part 2" (Lloyd Banks featuring Eminem, 50 Cent, and Nate Dogg)

From Loyal To The Game (by 2Pac):

  • 2004 "Soldier Like Me" (2Pac featuring Eminem)
  • 2004 "Black Cotton" (2Pac featuring Eminem and Kastro and Noble of the Outlawz)

From The Documentary (by The Game):

  • 2005 "We Ain't" (The Game featuring Eminem)

From The Massacre (by 50 Cent):

  • 2005 "Gatman And Robbin" (50 Cent featuring Eminem)

From Hannicap Circus (by Bizarre):

  • 2005 "Hip Hop" (Bizarre featuring Eminem)

From Bulletproof (by MC Hush):

  • 2005 "Off To Tijuana" (MC Hush featuring Eminem, Swift, and Kuniva)

From Thoughts of a Predicate Felon (by Tony Yayo):

  • 2005 "Drama Setter" (Tony Yayo featuring Eminem and Obie Trice)


  • 2005 "Welcome to Detroit City" (Trick Trick featuring Eminem)

He also had a few major hit singles and albums as part of D12.



Hailie Jade Scott is the daughter of Eminem and his ex-wife Kimberly Ann Scott. She was born on December 25, 1995. The songs "Mockingbird" on Eminem's album Encore and "Hailie's Song" on The Eminem Show are dedicated to her. Hailie joins her father in the hook for "My Dad's Gone Crazy." She also features prominently in a number of his other songs, most notably in "'97 Bonnie & Clyde" on The Slim Shady LP, which is a fictional account of Eminem dumping the dead body of his wife into a lake, accompanied by Hailie.

Alaina Mathers is Eminem's adopted daughter. She is eleven years old. The daughter of his ex-wife Kim's twin sister, Eminem has custody of his niece and is raising her as Hailie's sister (in reality they are cousins). She is also referenced in the song "Mockingbird" on Encore, as "Lainie".

Nathan Mathers is Eminem's younger brother. Eminem is the legal guardian of Nathan.


  • The second E in his stage name is always shown 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.
  • He has been recognized as a huge influence on the music industry, and two songs have been written about him by Christian rapper KJ-52, fittingly titled "Dear Slim" and "Dear Slim Pt. 2". He is also one of the few artists who have been parodied twice by "That Christian Parody Band," ApologetiX, who parodied "Lose Yourself" ("Look Yourself") and "The Real Slim Shady" ("The Real Sin Savior").
  • 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 hand.
  • Eminem's rap group "D12" which arguably means "Detroit 12" or "The Dirty Dozen" has only 6 members. Many people are often confused by the number. It is "12" because each of the 6 members of the group has two rap names or "personas." (For example, "Eminem" and "Slim Shady").
  • When Dr. Dre first heard a recording of Eminem rapping, he thought that Eminem was black.
  • Eminem has been awarded a grand total of 9 Grammy awards.
  • Eminem was number 6 on VH1's 50 greatest hip hop artists of all time.
  • Eminem wears glasses. This can be seen in some of his interviews, as well as on the music video for "Mockingbird".
  • Eminem's manager, Paul Rosenberg (who is featured prominently in several skits on Eminem's solo releases), was once a rapper known as "Paul Bunyan".
  • Eminem's height: 5'8" (1.73 m)
  • Eminem seems to be a fan of Crank Yankers; they were included in his video "Ass Like That". He has lent his voice to the show numerous times, and had one of the puppets, Special ED, host "Eminem's Special Hits".

See also

External links




Critical analysis:


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