An only child of English, German, Swiss, and Polish ancestory, Marshall Bruce Mathers III was born on October 17th, 1972 in St. Joseph Missouri, where his father abandoned the family after a year--leaving he and his mother to live in poverty.
At the age of 12, they moved to Warren, Michigan near Detroit, where Mathers became interested in hip hop after buying the Beastie Boys album Licenced to lll.
Two years later, Mathers was performing amateur raps under the pseudonym "M&M", while also competing in free style rap battles at East Detroit's Osborn Highschool, where he would eventually drop out at age 17.
Upon joining the group "Soul Intent" and recording an extended play track called 'Steppin Onto The Scene', Mathers broke off to compete in more freestyle rap sessions, where he won numerous awards and gained approval of underground hip hop audiences.
It was also during these early, lean years that Mathers worked minimum wage jobs as a cook and dishwasher to support both his mother and young daughter Hailie,while honing his rap style and chasing his dream of wealth.
Before finally signing with FBT Productions in 1992, he lost his maternal uncle Ronnie Nelson to a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, which devistated Mathers...who was close to his uncle.
While Mathers did manage to realease his debut album Infinite a few years later, its content often described his own life struggles raising a daughter, being broke, and abusing drugs, often to fight off depression and insomnia.
Shortly after the album's release, Mathers survived his own un-successful suicide attemt, which may have been the sling shot that launched him into better times...better yet--super stardom!
In 1998,record producer Dr. Dre signed Mathers to his 'Aftermath Entertainment' label, and they both began recording tracks for Eminem's first, major label album called "The Slim Shady LP".
In 1999, 'The Slim Shady LP' won a Grammy Award for 'Best Rap Album', as Billboard Magazine called it "light years ahead of any material Eminem has written so far"!
His next album, "The Marshall Matthews LP" became the fastest selling solo album in United States history, allowing Mathers his own label Shady Records, and his own group project "D12".
The Marshall Mathers LP and his third album, "The Eminem Show" also won Grammy's , making Eminem the first rap artist ever to win best album three strait years.
He also won another 'Best Album' Grammy in 2010 for "Relapse", giving Eminem a total of 11 career Grammy Awards!
In early 2003, I was working at the Mercado shopping center in Santa Clara, California not far from the AMC theater complex, where a huge crowd of teenage movie-goers packed the entire parking lot in long lines...all to see one of the first showings of a movie called 8-Mile!
It was nothing short of a mob scene! I later found out it starred the latest rap superstar Eminem...who, I admit I knew very little about...except that his popularity was capturing the imaginations of millions!
A week later, I saw "8-Mile" and truly enjoyed Eminem's only major film role.(He's appeared in a few more...and various TV shows including 'Entourage')
Wouldn't you know it, Mathers won an Academly Award for 'Best Original Song' for "Lose Yourself", who's lyrics portrayed him as the lead man, also growing up poor in urban Detroit with a single mom, troubled romances, depression, and a desire to prove himself as a star rapper--which he achieved in the film, and, of course....in real life!
"Lose Yourself'" went on to become the longest running #1 hip hop single ever recorded, and it led Mathers to take a breather from making records for a few years.
Then, in 2009 his successful release of the album "Relapse" awarded him the 'Best Music Artist of the Decade on theUS Nielsen SoundScan which also recognized Mathers as selling more than 80-million albums worldwide!
In 2010, he released his seventh studio album called "Recovery", which became his sixth consecutive number-one album in the U.S. achieving international, commercial success in several other countries, and stayed on top of the U.S. Billboard 200 chart for five consecutive weeks.
Throughout his career, Mathers has also been in the midst of controversy and criticism, mostly regarding terse lyrical references directed at stars like 'Michael Jackson', 'Mariah Carey', 'Christina Aguilera', and even the President of the United States,('George Bush')...who had the F.B.I. ready to interrogate Eminem for song lyrics implying his preference for a dead president!
However, despite the fact Mathers has never avoided pushing the envelope to its max, he's always performed in strait-up fashion-- in his life experiences, in his clear, intense, and inspiring lyrics, and, finally...with his own distinct and entertaining style!.
It's not hard to wonder why Vibe magazine labeled 'Eminem' the greatest rapper alive in 2008, while VH-1 has him ranked 79th on their Top 100 artists of all time list---just a slim shade better than Rolling Stone magazine's ranking of 82nd all time!
Thanks so much, and make sure to catch Eminem on Streetwise Radio's BIG HOP!!