April 18, 2013
Eminem: Personal Life versus Career
When you hear the name Eminem, you picture a skinny, tattoo-covered white guy rapping about drugs, rape, and violence; he has created this image for himself, and tends to hide away the other parts of himself. His alter ego, Slim Shady, is the complete and utter worst possible version of himself – he is completely uncensored and always speaks his mind. The artist behind the music is Marshall Mathers, whose life was not so easy, especially growing up. He had a troubled childhood and an equally troubled adulthood. 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...