“I say what I want to say and do what I want to do. There’s no in-between. People will either love you for it or hate you for it.” – Eminem
Here are a few things you might not know about the man Rolling Stone magazine crowned as the King of Hip-Hop.
1. Split Personality
Eminem says that his different names represent different personas. “Slim Shady” is the name for his temper, “Eminem” is just the rapper, and “Marshall Mathers” is who he is at the end of the day.
2. The Inn Crowd
Before their separation, Eminem’s parents were in a band called Daddy Warbucks, playing in Ramada Inns along the Dakotas-Montana border.
3. So What Cha Want?
Marshall was inspired to rap after he discovered The Beastie Boys’ 1986 classic License to Ill.
4. It’s a boy
Eminem was born when his mom was just 17-year old. She nearly died during her 73-hour labor.
5. Home is Where the Heart Is
When Eminem was 15, his mother allowed runaway Kimberly Ann “Kim” Scott to stay their home and, several years later, Eminem began and on-again off-again relationship with Scott.
6. Me Fail English? That’s Unpossible!
Eminem failed the ninth grade three times before he finally dropped out and became a rapper. We wouldn’t recommend this career path but it seems to have worked out pretty well for Em.
7. Mommy Dearest
Eminem was sued by his own mother for defamation after he included the line ‘My mother does more dope than I do’ in his single “My Name Is.” It is unclear whether her objection was to the insinuation that she smoked dope or the inaccuracy of the quantities of dope smoked.
8. Lunch Raps
Eminem and his childhood friend and fellow rapper, Proof, would sneak into the nearby high school in order to compete in lunchroom freestyle rap battles.
9. Corresponding Sounds
When Eminem wrote verses, he wanted most of the words to rhyme so he wrote long words or phrases on paper and, underneath, worked on rhymes for each syllable. While the words often made little sense, it was this exercise that helped him practice sounds and rhymes.
10. Best of the best
In a study that looked at 93 top artists over 25 genres of music, it was discovered that Eminem had the widest vocabulary, coming in at 8,818 unique words (versus Jay-Z with 6,899 and Bob Dylan with 4,883).
11. Short List
The only non-comic book that Eminem has read in its entirety is LL Cool J’s “I Make My Own Rules.”
To support his mother, a young Marshall Mathers worked as a short-order cook at a Michigan family restaurant called Gilbert’s Lodge and was fired five days before Christmas on his daughter’s birthday. He wrote “Rock Bottom” shortly after that.
13. Back to the Lab Again…
Eminem’s first album, Infinite, was a commercial failure. His rhyming style lacked the comically violent slant for which he later became famous. Detroit DJs largely ignored the album and their suggestion that he “go into rock and roll” led him to craft angrier, moodier tracks.
14. The Great White Hype
His second album, The Slim Shady EP, which featured his sadistic and violent alter-ego Slim Shady, featured frequent references to drug use, sexual acts, mental instability, and violence. This album was far better received, leading hip-hop magazine, The Source, to feature him in its “Unsigned Hype” column.
15. Lost the Battle, Won the War
In 1997, Eminem went to Los Angeles to compete in the Rap Olympics, a nationwide battle rap competition. He came in second, losing to highly-regarded battle rapper Otherwize, but impressed Interscope Records who brought a copy of The Slim Shady EP back to Jimmy Lovine who played it for Dr. Dre who signed him to his label Aftermath, losing his amateur status and preventing from competing in future Olympics.
16. Affirmative Action
On the Eminem signing, Dre recalls, “In my entire career in the music industry, I have never found anything from a demo tape or a CD. When Jimmy played this, I said ‘Find him. Now.’”. Although his associates criticized him for hiring a white rapper, Dre stuck to his guns, saying, “I don’t give a **** if you’re purple; if you can kick it, I’m working with you.” Interestingly it is in the rap industry where you have talent transcending color.
17. Like Two Dogs Caged
When The Slim Shady LP received a wide release, it went triple platinum by the end of the year. However, Em was accused of imitating the style and subject matter of underground rapper Cage. In the ensuing beef, Cage referred to Eminem’s alter-ego Slim Shady as ‘Bitch Lady’. As a real burn, Eminem, of course, needs only to point at his record sales.
18. More Fun than Skeeball
Eminem told his wife that he was taking his daughter Hailie to Chuck E Cheese but, in reality, he took her to the recording studio to record her part for the song “’97 Bonnie & Clyde,” a song about a field trip with his infant daughter to dispose of his wife’s dead body. Yeah… sometimes honesty is definitely not the best policy.
19. Fast Lane
When The Marshall Mathers LP was released, it broke Snoop Dogg’s record for fastest selling hip-hop album and Britney Spears’ record for fastest-selling solo album.
20. You Can’t Always Get What You Want
When he was a kid, Eminem wanted to be a comic book artist. Sadly, he had to settle for multi-millionaire rap genius instead.
21. Bottled Up
When he was in rehab, Eminem says that he used superhero comics to fill the void left behind by the pills and the booze.
22. Ice Ice Baby
Eminem’s comic book geek moment hit a peak when he was featured in a Marvel storyline in which The Punisher foils a plot to assassinate Eminem by the Parents Music Council (a parody of the Parents Music Resource Center) and then leaves Eminem on a circle of floating ice in the middle of the arctic.
23. Would You Rather…
After his divorce, Eminem said that he’d rather “have a baby through his penis than get married again.” Despite that, he and Kim briefly remarried in 2006.
24. Not Bullet Proof
Proof, Eminem’s D-12 bandmate, childhood friend, and best man at his second wedding to Kim Mathers, was sadly shot and killed following an altercation that began over a game of pool.
25. Love the Way You Lie
In 2017, Eminem appeared on the track “No Favors,” from Big Sean’s album I Decided. In the song, Eminem refers to newly elected president Donald Trump as a “b****” and raps about assaulting conservative social and political commentator Ann Coulter, a trump supporter. So… we guess he’s a Democrat.
26. It’s IN the Computer?
Eminem doesn’t know how to use a computer and he refuses to learn. “If I learn how to work a computer,” he says, “I’ll be on that b*tch all day looking at comments about me, and it’s going to drive me crazy.” We bet he thinks Carly Simon’s song is about him too.
27. Bully For You
De’Angelo Bailey, the former high school bully and current janitor who Eminem rapped about on the track “Brain Damage,” sued Eminem for a million dollars, claiming that the song damaged his reputation. Lord knows you wouldn’t want to be looked upon poorly within the custodial community.
28. This Judge Rules!
When throwing Bailey’s case out, Judge Deboray Servitto explained her ruling through rap: “Mr. Bailey complains that his rap is trash / so he’s seeking compensation in the form of cash. / Bailey thinks he’s entitled to some monetary gain / because Eminem used his name in vain. / The lyrics are stories no one would take as fact / they’re an exaggeration of a childish act. / It is therefore this court’s ultimate position / that Eminem is entitled to summary disposition.”
29. Right in the Kisser
Eminem assaulted a man for kissing his wife and settled out of court for $100,000. A kiss AND $100,000? Sounds like a great deal (if you leave out the part where you get pistol whipped by an enraged white rapper).
30. Melts in Your Mouth
His real name is Marshall Mathers and that’s how he got his stage name Eminem. M(arshall). M(athers). He was not, as some people have speculated, named after the delicious chocolate treat.
31. In Canada, it’s 12.87 Kilometers
Eminem made his Hollywood debut in the 2002 film 8 Mile, a semi-autobiographical film that Eminem insists is not actually about him, but more about the experience of a white rapper growing up in Detroit to become a well-respected hip-hop artist. So, nothing like him at all.
32. Not Afraid
The rap battle scenes in 8 Mile took days to film, and the crowd of 300 extras was getting bored. So director Curtis Hanson started an improv freestyle rap battle with the four best rappers getting a one-take-only one-shot scene with Eminem who wanted to mime the battle to save his voice for scripted scenes. But Eminem couldn’t resist the challenge, especially with the crowd taunting him, and he turned the mic on and took on his opponents. For the results, you’ll have to consult the DVD extras.
33. Marv Won
The actual winner of the competition, Marv Won, actually wound up becoming friends with Slim Shady himself, and remains friends with the superstar rapper over a decade later.
34. And the Oscar Goes To… Slim Shady?!
The song “Lose Yourself” from the film 8 Mile was the first rap song to ever win an Academy Award and also means that Eminem has more Academy Awards than Liam Neeson, Glenn Close, Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise, and Ralph Fiennes combined.
35. This Opportunity Comes Once in a Lifetime Yo
Eminem claims that he did not expect to win the Oscar, so he did not attend the ceremony, and spent the evening napping with his daughter. So, he won twice.
36. Featuring Samuel L. Jackson
When the album The Eminem Show was released, music critics, noting the extensive use of obscenities and the word “motherf*****” on the album, referred to him as “Eminef,” a moniker previously preserved for Monday Night Football.
37. Pill Popper
Eminem has had well-documented issues with drug dependency claiming that during the height of his addiction, he consumed anywhere from 40-60 Valium and 30 Vicodin per day. Which is, like… a lot.
38. He’s Lovin’ It
During this time period, Eminem ate a lot of fast food, and his weight ballooned to 230 lbs, to the point where fans no longer recognized him. Eminem once overheard two teenagers arguing about whether or not it was him, and one of them said, “Eminem ain’t fat.” Y’know. Fat. With an F. Like the kids say.
39. Methadone Man
Eminem fell unconscious and was rushed to hospital after consuming a quantity of methadone that was the equivalent of four bags of heroin. Doctors told him he was “about two hours from dying.” Two hours away from a BET tribute? Not many people get that close.
40. The Monster
Eminem’s mother stated that he has struggled with bipolar disorder throughout his life and that it got worse after the birth of his daughter Hailie confirming what everybody already knew: Kids will drive you crazy.
41. Ebony and Ivory
Eminem is the first white person to ever be on the cover of “The Source” and “XXL” magazines.
42. Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That
The LGBT community has criticized Eminem for his “homophobic” lyrics. Eminem defended himself by claiming that he was speaking in character and not from his own perspective. Ah, “It wasn’t me.” The Shaggy defense. Classic.
43. A Gay Old Time
Amidst the accusations of homophobia, Eminem performed his song “Stan” with Sir Elton John at the 43rd Grammy Awards in 2001. It was touted as “the hug heard ‘round the world.” Despite the overture, there were still protests from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). because gay, doesn’t always mean happy.
44. Let’s Get This Straight
When Eminem suggested he perform “Stan” with Elton John, he claimed that, at first, he wasn’t being serious. And in terms of the whole event being a form of PR to battle the homophobia controversy, Eminem claims that he didn’t even know that Elton John was gay. Eminem probably thinks that Liberace was also straight as an arrow.
45. Someone Saved My Life
When Eminem wanted to get clean, he called Elton John who helped him for over 18 months to kick his addiction to Vicodin, Ambien, and other prescription drugs. If anybody knows about kicking a drug habit, it’s Elton John.
46. I’m Coming Out
In the film The Interview, Eminem plays himself. Or a version of himself that claims his “homophobic” lyrics are just a byproduct of him being gay. Either way, it was hilarious.
47. Half Minute Man
The hook for “Just Lose It” took Eminem 30 seconds to write. It took Eminem less time to write a number one hit song than it took us to toast a Pop Tart.
48. Just Beat It
The song “Just Lose It” was widely criticized for containing slurs about Michael Jackson. Steve Harvey, friend of Michael Jackson, said that “Eminem has just lost his ghetto pass. We want the pass back.” We’re pretty sure Harvey lost his ghetto pass for his association with Family Feud.
49. Straight from The Source
Constantly controversial, Eminem was under fire when The Source revealed that it possessed a tape in which he rapped racial slurs against black women. Eminem claimed it was the aftermath of a bad breakup with a black girlfriend. You know what they say. Once you go black, you put out potentially racist bootlegs that randomly damage your career for no good reason.
50. Civic Duty
In the video for his song “Mosh,” Eminem gathers an army of Bush administration victims and leads them to the White House. After they break in, it is revealed that they were actually there to vote. Of course, Bush was re-elected, so… good job fellas.
51. Bush Whacked
In 2003, Eminem was investigated by the US Secret Service for allegations that he had threatened the President of the United States. The investigation was based on lyrics from his song “We As Americans” in which he rapped ‘F*** money / I don’t rap for dead presidents / I’d rather see the president dead / It’s never been said, but I set precedents’. The US Secret Service clearly has no appreciation for the nuances of rap.
52. Head Up His…
During the 2009 MTV Movie Awards, Sacha Baron Cohen descended onto the audience in an angel costume and landed, buttocks-first, on Eminem’s head. Eminem stormed out of the ceremony, seemingly furious. He said that, after he left, he went back to his hotel room and “laughed uncontrollably for about three hours.”
53. How Do You Like Dem Apples?
Eminem was offered the lead role in the 2013 sci-fi film Elysium but turned it down because they refused to move production from Los Angeles to Detroit. The role went to Matt Damon who was the third choice behind Eminem and Ninja from the South African band Die Antwoord. When asked how he felt about being so far down the list, Damon said, “It’s the kind of thing like… asking your girlfriend about ex-boyfriends. You don’t want to know.”
54. Rap Sheet
Eminem’s first run-in with the law was at age 20 when he was arrested for involvement in a drive-by shooting with a paintball gun. According to police, the paintballs didn’t even break. The case was dismissed when the victim did not appear in court.