Eminem Biography Research Paper
The frequent changes in his life heavily impacted his work and the style of his music. Marshall Bruce Mathers III was born on October 17, 1972 in Kansas City, Missouri. His mother, Debbie Nelson, was only 15 at the time. On the topic of his seventy-three hour-long birth, she claimed, “his medical care was so poor that she nearly died in the process” (Lane 11). Debbie had married an older man, Marshall Mathers Jr. , who ended up leaving six months after the baby was born, which explains many of the heated lyrics that Eminem has written concerning his father.
Debbie was on the verge of being completely broke, so their family of two had to relocate many times over the course of Eminem’s childhood. Because of this, he was often lonely as a child, did not have many friends, and was bullied. In addition to this, his mother, who was undoubtedly unprepared for parenthood, often beat and abused him. It is rumored Eminem’s mother was a victim of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, which is a medical term for when a mother purposely worsens the condition of her child to gain pity for herself.
Eminem’s father remained absent throughout his childhood and teenage years; the young Eminem would write letters to his father in the hopes of contacting him, but these were always returned unanswered. Because of this endless neglect as a child, Marshall carried much of his resentment into adulthood. The first time Eminem was introduced to rap was when his Uncle Ronnie, Debbie’s late brother, showed him the song “Reckless” by Ice T, which he was very fascinated by. He began rapping as early as 4 years old, but only became more serious about rap in his teenage years, when he was about 14 years old.
His stage name, Eminem, is taken from his initials. Trying to get big in the rap scene was not an easy task, especially because of his skin color. Rappers were usually black, and they did not think much of a skinny white boy trying to move in on their territory, until they heard him rap. He competed in various rap battles and went on a few radio shows to do freestyle rap battles. But this was only the beginning of his long career in the rap industry. He met one of his best friends, Proof, in high school, and the two participated in numerous cafeteria rhyme battles.
With his friend Proof, he began a group called D-12. With his focus mainly on the music, Eminem decided that school was no longer important and dropped out after failing ninth grade for the third time. He was seventeen at the time, and was dating a girl who is considered to be the love of his life, Kim Scott. Kim and Eminem had known each other since childhood and had been going steady for three years when they were greeted with the surprise birth of their daughter, Hailie Jade Scott. She was born on the 25th of December in 1995, and Eminem claimed that her birth was “the real wakeup call for him” (Lane 18).
Kim and Eminem remained unmarried for the time being, but Eminem decided he wanted to do his best to provide for his family. He recorded his first album, Infinite, in 1996. However, the album was unpopular and did not do as well as he had hoped. He became poorer, and could not provide for his family of three, the family that was already living in one of the most poverty-stricken areas in Detroit. Because they could not pay the rent, they were eventually evicted from their tiny apartment. During this time, there was also great strain on Eminem and Kim’s relationship, and it was then that Eminem overdosed on a bottle of pills.
However, he survived, and after one unsuccessful suicide attempt, facing poverty, and multiple breakups with Kim, it appeared that Eminem’s album Infinite was finally getting some attention. Although Infinite did gain some media attention, it certainly was not enough to feed Eminem’s family or pay the rent. He became angry and frustrated, and this motivated him to create his second stage name, his alter ego, the most crude and viciously honest version of himself, Slim Shady. He began to write songs that focused on expressing his dark feelings, under the name Slim Shady.
The three different parts of him were beginning to become clear: first, there was Marshall Mathers, the poor, skinny white boy who got beaten up and pushed around. Then, there was his first alter ego, Eminem, the rapper with the steady rise to fame. Finally, there was Slim Shady, who was angry and not afraid to tell anyone about it. Eminem describes his second alter ego as “the dark, evil, creatively sick” (Lane 25) part of him. This method of separating his good and bad sides proved to be efficient, because he in 1997 he attended the Rap Olympics and later recorded his second album, The Slim Shady EP.
In doing this, he took his music to a whole new level. Some of the songs on the album included “97 Bonnie & Clyde,” “Just Don’t Give A F***,” and “Mommy,” which all focused on his anger towards different people in his life: his mother, his father, and most importantly, his longtime girlfriend Kim. He was no longer holding back, and he more determined then ever to make a name for himself. Later that same year, Eminem was feeling low when he realized he still could not support his girlfriend and child and that his career was not moving forward.
There was a rap competition that offered $500 as a prize, and he was determined to win it. However, he only made second place. This was around the time that Eminem met Dr. Dre, an important figure in the rap industry who would later become one of his greatest mentors and friends. Upon hearing one of the songs on The Slim Shady EP, Dr. Dre claimed he was fascinated, and knew he had to find the man behind the music. For Eminem, Dr. Dre was the light in the darkness. In 1998, he offered him a contract with Aftermath Records.
Eminem did not think twice before signing, overjoyed that his album was getting so much positive feedback and that he would finally be able to buy food and diapers for his daughter. This was also the beginning of a lifelong friendship between Eminem and Dr. Dre. After The Slim Shady EP came The Slim Shady LP in 1999, which was largely successful, selling over 500,000 copies in the first two weeks. The songs on this album were still as hateful as ever, dealing with a wide range of targets including but not limited to celebrities, women, and homosexuals.
His lyrics raised controversy over whether he was racist, sexist, a homophobe, or all of the above. One of his most notorious songs on the album is titled “97 Bonnie & Clyde,” in which Eminem takes his daughter to the beach and you soon discover that he has murdered Kim and put her body in the trunk of his car. He had written the song while he and Kim were on break, only to get back together a few weeks later. Kim, upon hearing the song, was shocked, especially since there was a real recording of their daughter Hailie’s voice in a song about killing her.
Many of Eminem’s other songs and lyrics have had people questioning whether or not he really loathes women as much as he seems to at times. Most of his anger towards women is aimed at his mother, for obvious reasons. He has claimed, however, “all of his rages at women are temporary impulses” (Lane 41). Meanwhile, in June of 1999, Eminem and Kim were officially married, despite the constant conflict in their relationship. During the same year, Eminem began to use drugs and alcohol more and more frequently as he recorded his next album, The Marshall Mathers LP.
Apparently, he produced more new songs when he was high on marijuana or other drugs. He was at the point in his career where things were progressing quickly and he was already winning Grammies for the best rap album of the year. After the release of The Marshall Mathers LP, which was wildly popular among his growing fan base, people no longer wondered if he was still angry. It was apparent that he was always full of rage, and people admired him for it. In “Stan,” he tells the story from a young fan’s point of view, a fan who can’t seem to get enough of Eminem or stop writing him letters.
It is thought to be one of Eminem’s greatest songs because he bases it off several real life fans that have tried to imitate him and relate themselves to him. In “The Way I Am,” Eminem sends a message to his record label and all the people telling him to change, that he is the way he is and he is not going to change for anyone. In “Kim,” undoubtedly one of his most controversial songs to date, he lets out all his anger at his wife and ends up strangling her to death while screaming insults at her until she stops breathing.
While the song was most likely an extreme exaggeration, it does provide insight into their relationship. In June of 2000, Eminem supposedly witnessed Kim kissing a man called John Guerra in the parking lot of a club, and he proceeded to threaten him with a gun until the police were called and he was arrested. This was only part one of Kim and Eminem’s long, problematic relationship. Before one of his concerts in the Up in Smoke tour, Kim decided to come and asked if he was going to perform the song named after her.
He said no, but he proceeded to perform it, bringing a blow-up doll onstage that he strangled and beat to the amusement of the crowd. Kim was horrified and embarrassed, however, and after she went home, she attempted suicide by slashing her wrists. She was immediately taken to the hospital and was released hours later. Clearly, Eminem and Kim had problems in their relationship, but they were far from over. Eminem filed for divorce from Kim in August of 2000, and Kim sued him on the grounds of emotional distress, but she later dropped the charge.
Eminem wanted custody of their daughter, but Kim was granted it while Eminem was left with “generous access” (Lane 65). With his family life in tatters, Eminem decided to focus on his career, which was still skyrocketing as everyone anticipated the new film he would be starring in. Works Cited “About Eminem. ” MTV. Web. 26 Mar 2013. . Lane, Stephanie. Eminem. Farmington Hills: Lucent Books, 2004. 9-87, 96-97. Print. M. L. Elrick. “Eminem’s Dirty Secrets. ” Salon. com. Web. 26 March 2013. . Reece, Rod. “Eminem – Biography. ” IMDb. Web. 26 Mar 2013. .