Eminem BioThe rise of Eminem from humble origins to the top of the rap world was far from easy. It took grit, it took determination, and, most of all, it took talent.
Eminem, born Marshal Mathers on October 17, 1972, became interested in rapping while attending high school in Detroit, Michigan. Though there was initial resistance to the idea of a "white rapper," through perseverance he gradually gained acceptance, performed with local groups, and eventually cut independently his first solo album Infinite in 1996.
"A lot of my rhymes are just to get chuckles out of people. Anybody with half a brain is going to be able to tell when I'm joking and when I'm serious." ~ Eminem
He came to the attention of Interscope's Jimmy Iovine in 1997 in L.A. while competing in the Rap Olympics. He finished second in the freestyle category. Iovine later played Eminem's tape for Dr. Dre who loved it and wasted no time contacting Eminem and arranging a meeting. It has been reported that Dre was taken aback when he found out he had been dealing with a white boy, but, regardless, he didn't let it interfere with their mutual purpose. Within minutes, they had begun recording "My Name Is."
The collaboration with Dr. Dre was fruitful to say the least. Dre produced The Slim Shady EP in 1998. Behind it, Eminem quickly rose to national prominence. The Slim Shady LP followed in 1999 and brought Eminem two grammys, one for Best Rap Solo Performance for the single "My Name Is," and one for Best Rap Album of 1999. In 2001, he teamed up with Dre again contributing a track, "Forgot About Dre," to a Dre album. For that contribution, he won another grammy, this one for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
"It was an honor to hear the words out of Dre's mouth that he liked my shit. Growing up, I was one of the biggest fans of N.W.A, from putting on the sunglasses and looking in the mirror and lip sinking, to wanting to be Dr. Dre, to be Ice Cube. This is the biggest hip-hop producer ever." ~ Eminem
In the summer of 2000 The Marshall Mathers LP was released. Topping the charts for more than two months, it was both a commercial and artistic success and earned Eminem another Best Rap Album grammy.
Eminem broadened his horizons when he appeared in the film 8 Mile. His strong performance surprised critics and his work on the soundtrack (Lose Yourself) garnered more awards, an Oscar for Best Original Song and Grammys for Best Male Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Song .
"I do say things that I think will shock people. But I don't do things to shock people. I'm not trying to be the next Tupac, but I don't know how long I'm going to be on this planet. So while I'm here, I might as well make the most of it." ~ Eminem
2002's The Eminem Show, containing hit singles like "Without Me" and "Cleaning Out My Closet," produced two more grammys, another Best Rap album award, and an award for Best Short Form Music Video. He released his fourth album, Encore, in 2004. Mockingbird, a cut from the album, was featured in a video that premiered online on February 21st.
Regarding his ever turbulent personal life, for a long time the only stable element seemed to be his affection for his daughter Hailie Jade. Then, on January 14, 2006, he and his former wife Kim remarried, five years after the ugly divorce that ended their turbulent relationship.
D12 rapper Proof, whose real name was Deshaun Holton, 32, was shot and killed early Tuesday morning April 11, 2006. Regarding his longtime friend, Eminem said, "Right now, there's a lot of people focusing on the way he died. I want to remember the way he lived. Proof was funny, he was smart, he was charming. He inspired everyone around him. He can never, ever be replaced. He was, and always will be, my best friend."
Eminem is working on his next album, "Relapse," with longtime collaborator Dr. Dre, who put his own album, "Detox," on the backburner to help bring the project to completion. Hopes are that Relapse (Interscope/ Aftermath/Shady) will be released on May 19, 2009. The first single from the album and its accompanying video will see a simultaneous release on April 7th.
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