By Brandon Haynes

Early Life

Marshall Bruce Mathers III was born on October 17, 1972, in st. Joseph, Missouri. His father(Marshall Bruce Mathers, Jr.) and his mother (Deborah Rae "Debbie" Nelson) were in a band called Daddy Warbucks before his father left them to move to California. He moved between Missouri and Michigan, rarely staying in one house for more than a year or two, and mostly living with family members. Then they finally settled in Warren, Michigan when Eminem was eleven. As a teen, Eminem wrote letters to his father Bruce. According to his mom, all of these came back "return to sender." Friends and family said Eminem was a happy child but also "a bit of a loner" who often was bullied. Eminem then lived in a lower-middle-class Detroit neighborhood that was filled with mainly African Americans. He was beat up several times by the African Americans. Eminem heard his first rap song, "Reckless," featuring Ice-T when he was nine. After spending three years in ninth grade due to poor grades, he dropped out of Lincoln High School at age 17.

Early Career

Eminem joined several rap groups as he became more popular, the first rap group he joined was the New Jacks. After the New Jacks broke up he then joined Soul Intent and then two rappers broke off to form D12. When Eminem was 20, he was arrested for involvement with a drive-by shooting with a paintball-gun, although the paintballs used in the event did not break. The case was dismissed when the victim did not appear in court. Eminem was then signed to FBT Productions. During this period, Eminem's rhyme style was primarily inspired by rappers Nas and AZ. His career began to take off when he created his alter-ego "Slim Shady". Slim Shady was "a drug-dealing, bloodthirsty thug who spits furious rhymes about murder, rape, drugs and living by the law of the urban jungle". After being evicted from his home, Eminem traveled to Los Angeles to compete in the 1997 Rap Olympics, an annual nationwide rap battle competition. He placed second, and the staff at Interscope Records who attended the event sent a copy of the Slim Shady EP to company CEO Jimmy Iovine. Iovine played the tape for record producer Dr. Dre, founder of Aftermath Entertainment. Dr. Dre recalled, "In my entire career in the music industry, I have never found anything from a demo tape or a CD. When Jimmy played this, I said, 'Find him. Now.'" Dr. Dre faced criticism from associates for hiring a white rapper, but maintained confidence in his decision.


He and his manager Paul Rosenberg created Shady Records in late 1999. He followed this by signing his own Detroit collective D12 and rapper Obie Trice to the label. In 2002, Eminem signed 50 Cent through a joint venture between Shady and Dr. Dre's Aftermath label. In 2003, Eminem and Dr. Dre signed Atlanta rapper Stat Quo to the Shady/Aftermath roster. DJ Green Lantern, the former DJ for Eminem, was signed to Shady Records until a dispute related to the 50 Cent and Jadakiss feud forced him to depart from the label; he is no longer associated with Eminem. The Alchemist is now officially Eminem's tour DJ.

Drug addiction

Eminem has spoken about his addiction to prescription drugs, including Vicodin, Ambien, and Valium. His group-mate Proof from D12 stated that Eminem "sobered up" in 2002 from drug and alcohol use. During production of 8 Mile, Eminem worked on the set 16 hours a day and began to have trouble sleeping. An associate provided Eminem with an Ambien that effectively "knocked him out," which led him to get a prescription. This would be Eminem's first experience with drug addiction that would follow him for several years afterward. Near the end of production on Encore, Eminem would "just go into the studio and goof off with a pocketful of pills." Eminem began taking the drugs to "feel normal," which involved taking a "ridiculous amounts, I could consume anywhere from 40 to 60 Valium in a day."


Eminem has frequently been referred to as one of the greatest hip-hop artists of all time or the rap god. He was ranked 83rd on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and was ranked 79th on the VH1 100 Greatest Artists of All-Time. He was also named the Best Rapper Alive by Vibe magazine in 2008. In 2010, MTV Portugal ranked Eminem as the seventh biggest icon in pop music history. Eminem is the best-selling artist of the 2000s on the US Nielsen SoundScan, and the estimated sales of over 155 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. He has totaled over 3 billion views on his music videos on his official Vevo page on YouTube. During 2010, Eminem's music generated 94 million streams, more than any other music artist and in May 2014 Spotify announced him as the most streamed artist of all time.