Marshall Bruce Mathers III was born on October 17, 1972. Today, he is better known as Emimen: the US rapper, producer, songwriter and actor who has sold more than 115 million records worldwide.
Eminem had a troubled childhood: his father abandoned him shortly after his birth and he spent his childhood between Missouri and Michigan before settling in Detroit. He soon cultivated an interest in storytelling and originally wanted to be a comic book artist before turning his attention to rapping at the age of 14. He drew upon his resentment for his absent father and his troubled relationship with his mother for his lyrics and soon developed the violent, foul-mouthed alter-ego Slim Shady.
His first album, ‘Infinite’, was released in 1996 and he soon came to the attention of NWA rapper and producer Dr Dre, who signed him to his label Aftermath and worked with him as a producer. His second album, 1999’s ‘The Slim Shady LP’, saw him become a mainstream star: the album earned him a Best Rap Album Grammy in 2000 but also attracted controversy to its violent lyrics, including the track ’97 Bonnie & Clyde’, in which he seemingly fantasised about murdering his wife Kim.
Eminem’s success continued with 2001’s ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’, which sold 1.76 million copies in its first week, and 2002’s ‘The Eminem Show’. He also increased his fame with a lead role in the critically acclaimed ‘8 Mile’, a semi-biopic in which he played a struggling hip-hop artist and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for his single ‘Lose Yourself’.
His next album, 2004’s ‘Encore’, was his last before he took an extended hiatus: during this period, rumours spread that he was eager to quit his career as a rapper and focus on working as a producer and executive of his own record label Shady Records. Eminem suffered with drug problems during this period and also fell into depression following the death of his close friend Proof, a member of his rap group D12, who was shot at a nightclub in Detroit. He later revealed that, at its height in 2007, his drug abuse led to him being hooked on Vidocin, Valium and Xanax and that he also suffered a Methadone overdose.
Eminem returned with the album’s ‘Relapse’ and ‘Recovery’ in 2009 and 2010, and then released his most recent album, ‘The Marshall Mathers LP2’, in November 2013. The album became his seventh consecutive UK Number One and he also headlined Reading And Leeds the same year.
Eminem made history when he became the first rapper to headline Wembley Arena (July 2014).
In November of 2014, Shady Records released a compilation album titled ‘Shady XV’ featuring new and old songs performed by artists on the label including Eminem, Bad Meets Evil, Sia, D12, Skylar Grey, Big Sean, Danny Brown and Dej Loaf amongst others.
2015 proved to be a fruitful and busy year for Eminem. A 10 disc vinyl box set was released entitled ‘The Eminem Collection’ which contains the soundtrack to 8 Mile, the compilation ‘Eminem Presents: The Re-Up’ and the ‘Curtain Call: The Hits’ greatest hits collection in addition to seven out of eight of Eminem’s studio albums excluding ‘Infinite’. 2015 also saw the release of not one but two collaborations featuring Eminem including ‘Speedom (Worldwide Choppers 2)’ with Tech N9ne and ‘Best Friend’ by Yelawolf which served as a single to the latter’s ‘Love Story’ album.
In addition to the boxset and the two collaborations, the soundtrack to the movie ‘Southpaw’ was released on Eminem’s label Shady Records the same year with contributions and performances from Eminem, Gwen Stefani, Tech N9ne, Busta Rhymes, Rico Love, The Weeknd and 50 Cent amongst others.