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Eminem Biography 2Category: Biographies
Friday, 24 July 2009
10:06:19 PM (GMT)
Another Eminem biography(didn't write it) 

Although he's only been in the public eye since 1999, Marshall Mathers (aka Eminem)
has crammed at least a decade's worth of career highs and lows into those few short,
high-profile years. The Detroit-based Dr. Dre protege has invoked the wrath of women
and homosexuals with his offensive lyrics; become enemies with Moby, Everlast, Fred
Durst, and Christina Aguilera; provided tabloids with plenty of gossip fodder
regarding his personal life...and in the process become just about the biggest rock
star on the planet. This is because Eminem isn't just about controversy and shock
value: This often misunderstood major talent has actually given white rappers genuine
credibility in this post-Vanilla Ice age with his string of dynamic hits (both solo
and with his side group, D12), his plethora of Grammy nominations, his critically
acclaimed film 8 Mile, and his three multiplatinum studio albums, which--once one
gets past the hype and hullabaloo that surround them--are some of the most creative,
original, and exciting releases of the rap genre (or any musical genre) in the past

Mathers was born into a poor, working-class family on October 17, 1972 in St. Joseph,
Missouri, though he spent much of his youth in Detroit, the city he would eventually
put on the rap map. Originally taking on the stage name M&M (later changed to its
current spelling), at age 14 he became a battle rapper, competing against other
Detroit MCs in local clubs. After a short stint with a rap act called New Jacks, in
1995 he made his recording debut with a group called Soul Intent, which introduced
him to a rapper named Proof, who appeared on that single's B-side. Eminem and Proof
soon started a new group called D12 with four other MCs (Bizarre, Kon Artis, Swift,
and Kuniva), while Eminem simultaneously launched his solo career with two
independent releases, 1996's Infinite and 1997's The Slim Shady EP, which featured
his trademark dark, disturbing, angry lyrics. Eminem drew from his troubled personal
life when penning such bleak words: He had just had a daughter with his on/off
girlfriend, Kim, with whom he had a very tumultuous relationship; he was estranged
from his mother, with whom he also frequently butted heads; he was abusing alcohol
and drugs with alarming frequency; and he had attempted suicide on at least one
occasion. Though these harrowing experiences provided inspiration for some brilliant
if nasty and offensive lyrics, Mathers was at such a low point in his life that it
seemed there was nowhere to go but up. 

Enter Interscope Records honcho Jimmy Iovine, who--impressed by Eminem's fresh and
bold style--approached the struggling rapper after seeing him take second place in
the freestyle category at 1997's Rap Olympics. Iovine later played Eminem's demo tape
for super-producer and former Death Row Records chief/NWA member Dr. Dre, who
immediately liked what he heard, contacted Eminem, and started a fruitful creative
partnership with Eminem that exists to this day. (Legend has it that the two recorded
Eminem's first big hit single, "My Name Is," within an hour after first meeting each
other.) Interscope quickly signed Mathers, and Dre produced his major-label debut
album, The Slim Shady LP, which was released in February 1999 to both massive acclaim
and derision, eventually going triple-platinum. 

Eminem's follow-up, 2000's Marshall Mathers LP, was an even bigger phenomenon,
selling almost 2 million copies in its first week of release alone, thus becoming the
fastest-selling hip-hop album of all time. However, the album stirred up even more of
an uproar than its predecessor, making Mathers the target of much public hatred.
Among other conflicts and controversies, the album created a feud with pop princess
Christina Aguilera (the single "The Real Slim Shady" alleged that she had performed
oral sex on both Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst and MTV's Carson Daly); led his mother to
file a defamation lawsuit against him (a judge later dismissed the case); and
generated accusations of homophobia and sexism mostly centering around the songs
"Kill You" and "Kim" (the latter a rant about the mother of his child, whom he had
recently married but would soon divorce, and later reconcile with yet again). But
Eminem thrived on the controversy, becoming an even bigger superstar and racking up a
surprising number of Grammy nominations in 2001, much to the chagrin of his many
outspoken detractors. And he kept people guessing about how much of the Slim Shady
"character" was really the real deal, when he performed a duet version of his single
"Stan" with the openly gay Elton John at the Grammys ceremony, even warmly hugging
Elton onstage. Mathers won three Grammys that night--Best Rap Solo Performance (for
"The Real Slim Shady"), Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group (for his work on the
Dr. Dre duet "Forgot About Dre"), and Best Rap Album (for The Marshall Mathers
LP)--adding to the two statuettes he'd won the previous year for "My Name Is" (Best
Rap Solo Performance) and The Slim Shady LP (Best Rap Album). 

There seemed no stopping Eminem--not even convictions on weapons and assault charges
(stemming from separate incidents involving his estranged wife with another man and
rival Detroit rap act Insane Clown Posse). Eminem was sentenced to community service
and kept on recording, releasing Devil's Night with old group D12 in 2001 and then
The Eminem Show, one of the most critically heralded albums of 2002 and his most
personal work yet. He also revealed more of his real-life persona in 8 Mile, a
Rocky-style feelgood flick lensed by L.A. Confidential/Wonder Boys director Curtis
Hanson that presented a sort of cleaned-up version of Eminem's rags-to-riches life
story. Eminem put on such an impressive performance in the film that there was
actually speculation that he would receive a Best Actor nomination at the Oscars in

While Eminem may have seemed like a novelty act at first--with his shocking,
four-letter lyrics, cartoonish bad-boy image, and, of course, pale skin color (a real
anomaly in hip-hop)--he has since established himself as one of the most important
artists of his time and a true force to be reckoned with, continuing to cross both
color boundaries and genre boundaries with his edgy, rock-tinged raps. With his
turbulent personal life, powder-keg temper, and tendency to tangle with the law, it
is still uncertain how long his career will last before he burns out, but it's
already obvious that his music had made history and will long outlast any controversy
that dogs him. 

- Lyndsey Parker

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