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Eminem Lyrics

Eminem - Biography

A protg of Dr. Dre, rapper Eminem emerged in 1999 as one of the
most controversial rappers to ever grace the genre. Using his biting
wit and incredible skills to vent on everything from his unhappy
childhood to his contempt for the mainstream media, his success
became the biggest crossover success the genre had seen since Dre's
solo debut seven years earlier. The controversy over his lyrics was
the best publicity any musician could afford, and being the first
Caucasian rapper to make a significant impact in years may have
given him a platform not afforded to equally talented
African-American rappers. A gifted producer as well, his talents
always seemed overshadowed by his media presence, which was a mix
between misunderstood genius and misogynistic homophobe. Both may be
true, but his message spoke to legions of disaffected youth who had
few role models in the rap world who could relate to the white
lower-class experience.

He was born Marshall Mathers in St. Joseph, MO (near Kansas City),
spending the better part of his impoverished childhood shuttling
back and forth between his hometown and the city of Detroit.
Initially attracted to rap as a teen, Eminem began performing at age
14, performing raps in the basement of his high school friend's
home. The two went under the names Manix and M&M (soon changed
to Eminem), which Mathers took from his own initials. Due to the
unavoidable racial boundaries that came with being a white rapper,
he decided the easiest way to win over underground hip-hop audiences
was to become a battle rapper and improv against other MCs in clubs.
Although he wasn't immediately accepted, through time he became such
a popular attraction that people would challenge him just to make a
name for themselves.

His uncle's suicide prompted a brief exodus from the world of rap,
but he returned and found himself courted by several other rappers
to start groups. He first joined the New Jacks, and then moved on to
Soul Intent, who released Eminem's first recorded single in 1995. A
rapper named Proof performed the B-side on the single and enjoyed
working with Eminem so much that he asked him to start yet another
group. Drafting in a few other friends, the group became known as
D-12, a six-member crew that supported one another as solo artists
more than they collaborated. The birth of Eminem's first child put
his career on hold again as he started working in order to care for
his family. This also instilled a bitterness that started to creep
into his lyrics as he began to drag personal experiences into the
open and make them the topic of his raps.

A debut record, 1996's Infinite, broke his artistic rut but received
few good reviews, as comparisons to Nas and AZ came unfavorably.
Undaunted, he downplayed many of the positive messages he had been
including in his raps and created Slim Shady, an alter ego who was
unafraid to say whatever he felt. Tapping into his innermost
feelings, he had a bounty of material to work with when his mother
was accused of mentally and physically abusing his younger brother
the same year. The next year his girlfriend left him and barred him
from visiting their child, so he was forced to move back in with his
mother, an experience that fueled his hatred toward her and made him
even more sympathetic toward his brother. The material he was
writing was uncharacteristically dark as he began to abuse drugs and
alcohol at a more frequent rate. An unsuccessful suicide attempt was
the last straw, as he realized his musical ambitions were the only
way to escape his unhappy life. He released the brutal Slim Shady
EP, a mean-spirited, funny, and thought-provoking record that was
light years ahead of the material he had been writing beforehand.
Making quite the impression in the underground not only for his
exaggerated, nasal-voiced rapping style but also for his skin color,
many quarters dubbed him the music's next "great white

According to legend, Dr. Dre discovered his demo tape on the floor
of Interscope label chief Jimmy Iovine's garage, but the reality was
that Eminem took second place in the freestyle category at 1997's
Rap Olympics MC Battle in Los Angeles and Iovine approached the
rapper for a tape afterward. It wasn't until a month or two later
that he played the tape for an enthusiastic Dre, who eagerly
contacted Eminem. Upon meeting, Dre was taken back by his skin color
more than his skill, but within the first hour they had already
started recording "My Name Is." Dre agreed to produce his
first album and the two released "Just Don't Give a Fuck"
as a single to preview the new album. A reconciliation with his
girlfriend led to the two getting married in the fall of 1998, and
Interscope signed the rapper and prepared to give him a massive push
on Dre's advice. An appearance on Kid Rock's Devil Without a Cause
only helped the buzz that was slowly surrounding him.

The best-selling Slim Shady LP followed in early 1999, scoring a
massive hit with the single and video "My Name Is," plus a
popular follow-up in "Guilty Conscience"; over the next
year, the album went triple platinum. With such wide exposure,
controversy ensued over the album's content, with some harshly
criticizing its cartoon-ish, graphic violence; others praised its
edginess and surreal humor, as well as Eminem's own undeniable
lyrical skills and Dre's inventive production. In between albums,
Eminem appeared on Dre's 2001, with his contributions providing some
of the record's liveliest moments.

The Marshall Mathers LP appeared in the summer of 2000, moving close
to two million copies in its first week of release on its way to
becoming the fastest-selling rap album of all time. Unfortunately,
this success also bred more controversy, and no other musician was
better suited for it than Eminem. Among the incidents that occurred
included a scuffle with Insane Clown Posse's employees in a car
stereo shop, a bitter battle with pop star Christina Aguilera over a
lyric about her fictional sexual exploits, a lawsuit from his mother
over defamation of character, and an attack on a Detroit club goer
after Eminem allegedly witnessed the man kissing his wife. Fans ate
it up as his album stood strong at the top of the charts. But the
mainstream media was not so enamored, as accusations of homophobia
and sexism sprung from the inflammatory lyrics in the songs
"Kill You" and "Kim." It was this last song that
ended his marriage, as the song's chosen topic (violently murdering
his real life wife Kim Mathers) drove his spouse to a suicide
attempt before they divorced. Eminem toured throughout most of this,
settling several of his court cases and engaging a mini-feud with
rapper Everlast.

The annual Grammy Awards nominated the album for several awards, and
to silence his critics the rapper called on Elton John to duet with
him at the ceremony. In 2001, he teamed with several of his old
Detroit running buddies and re-formed D-12. Releasing an album with
the group, Eminem hit the road with them that summer and tried to
ignore the efforts of his mother, who released an album in
retaliation to his comments. After getting off of the road, he
stepped in front of the camera and filmed 8 Mile, a film loosely
based on his life directed by an unlikely fan, Curtis Hanson (Wonder
Boys). His constant media exposure died out as well, leaving him
time to work on new music.

When he re-emerged in 2002, he splashed onto the scene with
"Without Me," a single that attacked Moby and Limp Bizkit
and celebrated his return to music. Surprisingly, the following
album, The Eminem Show, inspired little controversy. Instead, the
popular second single, "Cleanin' Out My Closet," told of
his dysfunctional childhood and explained his hatred toward his
mother in a mannered, poignant fashion. And being Eminem, he
followed this up with an appearance at MTV's Video Music Awards that
inspired boos when he verbally assaulted Moby. Targets on his third
straight chart-topper, 2004's Encore, ranged from Michael Jackson
("Just Lose It") to war-hungry politicians
("Mosh"). The album was another smash hit for Eminem, but
the resulting touring was fraught with setbacks and controversy.
First there was a bus crash in Missouri that injured protg Stat
Quo. Then there were reports of the tour being under-attended. There
were also rumors of Eminem retiring, which he quickly quelled.
However, the tour's European leg was eventually canceled due to
"exhaustion," and Em entered rehab for a dependency on
sleeping pills. However, by the end of 2005 he was back with a new
video. In typical Eminem fashion, the clip for "When I'm
Gone" riffed on his recent rehab stay. He also issued a
chart-topping greatest-hits set Curtain Call: The Hits that
December. ~ Jason Ankeny & Bradley Torreano, All Music Guide
All lyrics are property and copyright of their owners. All lyrics provided for educational purposes only.

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