Scott McClanahan, Instructor
8 April 2013
Eminem- “Not Afraid”
Eminem is an American rapper, record producer, and actor. He is known as one of the most controversial and best-selling artists of the early 21st century. Eminem was born as Marshall Bruce Mathers III on October 17, 1972 in St. Joseph, MO. Mathers had a turbulent childhood and never knew his father, Marshall Mathers Jr., who abandoned the family when he was still an infant. As a result, Eminem was raised by his mother, Deborah Mathers and they moved frequently between Missouri and Detroit, Michigan- spending large chunks of time in public housing projects. "I would change schools two, three times a year," Eminem recalled. "That was probably the roughest part about it all" (A&E Networks). This itinerant lifestyle left a large impact on his personality. Eminem has been scathingly critical of the way his mother raised him. Through his song lyrics, he has publicly accused her of being addicted to prescription drugs as well as subjecting him to emotional and physical abuse. Despite being a poor student, Eminem always had a deep love for language at one point even studying the dictionary. Eminem stated "I found that no matter how bad I was at school, like, and no matter how low my grades might have been at some times, I always was good at English ... I just felt like I wanna be able to have all of these words at my disposal, in my vocabulary at all times whenever I need to pull 'em out. You know, somewhere, they'll be stored, like, locked away" (A&E Networks)
As a teenage dropout, Eminem found a way to express his passion for language, as well as to release his youthful anger, through the emerging musical genre of hip-hip. Mathers assumed the stage name M&M- a playful reference to his initials, which he later began writing phonetically as "Eminem." This period in Eminem's life working odd jobs to make ends meet while participating in rap battles and desperately attempting to land a record contract was later dramatized in Eminem's semi-autobiographical film, 8 Mile. Eminem won the Academy Award for best original song with “Lose Yourself” in 2002. It was also during this period of his life that Eminem began dating Kim Ann Scott, a friend from high school, and in 1995 the couple had a daughter named Hailie Jade Scott. Inspired by the birth of his daughter to make a living as a rapper, in 1996 Eminem released his first independent rap album, “Infinite”. A year later, however, Eminem released ‘The Slim Shady LP’ Demo, which was discovered by Dr. Dre, the legendary rapper and former producer of rap group N.W.A. Dr. Dre traveled to Detroit to see Eminem compete in a rap battle and was so impressed that he signed Eminem to his Interscope Records label on the spot. In 1999, after two years of workin with Dr. Dre, Eminem released The Slim Shady LP. The record became an instant success and went on to sell over three million copies. Marshall and Kim Mathers married later that same year. Eminem released his second studio album, “The Marshall Mathers LP”, in May 2000. “The Marshall Mathers LP” sold over 19 million copies worldwide, won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, received a nomination for Album of the Year and is widely considered among the greatest rap albums of all time. Eminem nevertheless remains widely reviled in some quarters for his offensive lyrical content. In 2001, Eminem reconnected with several of his friends from the Detroit underground rap scene to form the group D12, recording an album called Devil's Night. A year later, Eminem released a new solo album, The Eminem Show, another popular and critically acclaimed album. His next album, 2004's Encore, was less successful than his previous efforts partly because of a rising drug problem. For the next several years, Eminem recorded very little music and was largely consumed by personal problems. Eminem and Kim Mathers divorced in 2000 but continued to maintain a...
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