The Life and Career of Eminem

Born Marshall Bruce Mathers III on October 17, 1972, Eminem is an American rapper, record producer and actor. He has not only won multiple Grammy Awards for his solo work, but is also known for his controversial lyrics, his rhyming abilities and his work as a producer with other artists. In this video, WatchMojo.com takes a look at the life and career of Eminem, who, despite many personal troubles, has become one of hip hop's most successful rappers.
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An Interest in Hip Hop

Born Marshall Bruce Mathers III on October 17, 1972 in Saint Joseph, Missouri, Eminem was an only child raised by a single mother. His interest in hip-hop was sparked at the age of 14 when he first heard the Beastie Boys’ album, Licensed to Ill.

Freestyle Battles


After moving to Detroit, he started participating in freestyle battles under the name “M&M.” Though he dropped out of school by age 17, Eminem’s rapping skills had already managed to gain him approval in the underground hip-hop scene.

Early Success and Personal Problems


Eminem released his debut record, Infinite, in 1996. Despite this advance in his career, the artist fought a number of personal problems, including drug and alcohol addictions. These obstacles led to a suicide attempt shortly after the album’s release, and his development of an alter ego, Slim Shady, as a way to cope.

Dr. Dre and The Slim Shady EP


By 1998, Eminem began working with rap heavyweight Dr. Dre and even earned himself a record deal with Dre’s label, Aftermath Entertainment. His first album on the label, The Slim Shady EP, was released in 1999 and eventually became one of the year’s most popular CDs. With Eminem and Dr. Dre pairing up for a number of tracks, the album’s recording sessions marked the beginning of a fruitful friendship between the two, as they would team up on many hit singles in years to come.

The Slim Shady LP, The Marshall Mathers LP and Encore


Eminem’s lyrical content is often a source of scrutiny, and both The Slim Shady LP and the next year’s The Marshall Mathers LP were no exceptions. While both albums were successful, they each included songs about murder and violence. For example, the song “Stan” off Marshall Mathers was his biggest hit, and recounted the story of a crazed fan who kills himself and his pregnant girlfriend. Eminem also had a habit of ridiculing celebrities in his music. His 2004 record, Encore, was supported by the single, “Just Lose It,” and the song’s music video openly mocked Michael Jackson.

Shady Records and D12


Eminem has been involved with a number of other projects outside his rap career. In 1999, he created his own label called Shady Records. He then signed Obie Trice and D12, which was a collective formed in 1996 that included him and five other Detroit rappers. The success of D12’s 2001 debut, Devil’s Night, has been attributed to Eminem’s international fame at that time. The group followed up that record with the 2004 album, D12 World.

Acting and 8 Mile


November 2002 saw Eminem play the lead in the semi-autobiographical movie, 8 Mile. After appearing in the movie, his track “Lose Yourself” won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. The rapper has since done several voice-acting roles and performed cameos on television and in films.

Hiatus and Drug Rehab


Eminem’s first break from music and touring came in August 2005, when he cancelled the European leg of his tour. The singer subsequently announced he was undergoing treatment at a drug rehab centre for dependency on sleep medication. December of that year had Aftermath releasing a greatest hits compilation called, Curtain Call: The Hits. However, after that release, Eminem confirmed he was uncertain about the future of his musical career.

Return to Music with Relapse and Recovery


To the satisfaction of fans, by September 2008, Interscope Records announced a new Eminem album was in the works. Relapse, his first album of original material in five years, was out by May 2009. Just over a year later, in June 2010 his seventh record, Recovery, was released.

Personal Life


Eminem’s story is not complete without mentioning the many personal troubles he has had. Issues with substance abuse, arrests and lawsuits, as well as twice marrying and divorcing his high school sweetheart, Kim Scott, are among some of his most notable problems. However, having overcome many of these obstacles, Eminem continues to be praised by MCs for his rapping techniques and is one of the most successful men in hip-hop today.
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