Eminem

  • Born Marshall Mathers in St. Joseph, MO, in 1972.
  • He moved often with his mother, and he was often bullied in school and in his neighborhoods. He spent much of his youth in the neighborhoods of Detroit, and was beaten up by black youths several times. He fought with his mother often. He spent three years in ninth grade, and eventually dropped out of high school.
  • He started rapping at 14, using the nickname M&M (which ultimately evolved to Eminem), first with a high school friend, and then with fellow rapper Proof (Proof was shot and killed in 2006). Although he was a rare white person in the rap/hip-hop world, he was appreciated by everyone in that space.
  • As his reputation grew, he was recruited by several rap groups. His first solo work was an album in 1996 called Infinite. The album was not successful, and the negative feedback he received led him to angrier songs.
  • In 1997, he developed the alter ego Slim Shady, and expressed his emotions through this character in music. He recorded the Slim Shady EP, which covered a wide range of topics like drug use, sex, violence, mental instability and poverty. He competed in the annual Rap Olympics in Los Angeles, and finished second. A record producer listened to the Slim Shady EP, and played it for rap producer Dr. Dre – Dre loved it, and immediately contacted Eminem to begin working with him.
  • This led to the album Slim Shady. The album was a huge success, selling over 4 million copies, and winning a Grammy award. The album is ranked #275 by Rolling Stone on its all time greatest albums list. The record took Eminem from underground rapper to global celebrity status. It also was controversial, given its blatant depiction of violence and heavy use of profanity.
  • His second album, The Marshall Mathers LP, released in 2000, sold 1.76 million copies in its first week, and ended up the second largest selling album of the decade. Worldwide sales have been 33 million copies.
  • The follow-up album, The Eminem Show, has had over 29 million copies sold.
  • In total, he has released 8 studio albums, and 45 singles. Add it all up – he has sold over 172 million records. This makes him the best selling hip-hop artist of all time, and he was the best selling artist of the 2000s.
  • Eminem has had singles hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart 5 times, for Lose Yourself  (from the semi-autobiographical movie 8 Mile), Crack a Bottle (featuring Dr. Dre and 50 Cent), Not Afraid, Love the Way You Lie (featuring Rihanna) and The Monster (featuring Rihanna).
  • Rolling Stone ranks him #83 on their Greatest Artists of All Time list. He has won 15 Grammy awards, and has been nominated for record and album of the year.
  • Eminem has tremendous talent and is controversial – two attributes for musical artists that often lead to success. Many hate him, many marvel at his brilliance. Put me in the marvel category. Here’s the video for Love the Way You Lie – his most watched video on YouTube, with over 1.3 BILLION views.

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