Marshall Mathers III goes by two stage names, Slim Shady and Eminem, two names that have become incredibly well known in the last 15 years. For fans of Eminem, it is useful to understand a little about his beginnings and how he came to be the superstar that he is. By understanding the man himself, you will have much more enjoyment in listening to eminem songs and relate more to his songs.
So Where Did It All Start For Eminem?
Eminem’s real name is Marshall Mathers III, named after his father he was born into humble surroundings. As his father abandoned him at a young age he was raised solely by his mother in various settings. He spent a great deal of his youth moving around between Michigan, Kansas City and St. Joseph. With this unsettled childhood he became interested in rap music as a way to communicate his frustrations and anger, a style that has become synonymous with the artist.
Michigan is where he got his initial introduction to the music scene. As a teenager in Michigan he assumes the name M&M (Marshall Mathers) and began performing rap in front of small audiences. It was in 1995 that he joined Soul Intent and released his first single after he had accumulated some needed experience as an amateur rap artist.
His talent from the outset was undisputed, along with his controversial and angry style. He quickly gained a substantial following amongst underground hi hop audiences and as a result dropped out of high school at age 17.
Whilst he perfected and refined his artistic talent, he provided for himself as a cook and a dishwasher at a local restaurant, earning minimum wage. He had already been signed to FBT Productions since he started in 1992, but it was not until his first album was released in 1996 that he became more well known and gained a loyal fan base. Young Eminem then changed his stage name to Eminem once his debut album Infinite has been released. This cultivated a much needed image for him that would play a huge part in forming him as an artist.
Unsurprisingly, the first Eminem albums were viewed with a large amount of controversy and he struggled to forge an identity for himself as a white rap artist in an otherwise black dominated arena. This did not stop him however, he forged ahead and became even more determined to prove himself and his talent, regardless of colour. This did not go unnoticed and went a long way in accumulating a lot of respect from both fans and other rap artists in his industry.
Eminem won second place in the Rap Olympics, which continued to augment his fan base and catapult him into the limelight. In 1999 he released The Slim Shady LP, his first major studio album. It became one of the year’s most popular albums, going triple platinum. It is true that eminem are quite controversial, including songs dealing with death and murder. Perhaps it is this controversial style then that shot him into the spotlight at a much quicker pace. With notoriety comes fame, and Eminem was to achieve insurmountable amounts of this.
In 2005 he was listed as #58 in the book 100 People Who Are Screwing up America, where the author Bernard Goldberg criticized the explicit lyrics of the performer for the negative impact that they were having on society. Whether or not he is a good role model for society is up to the individual, but he has undoubtedly changed the lives of a lot of discontented youths and inspired them to find a creative outlet for their anger and frustration. This is probably a huge reason for his success among the younger echelons of society, young men identify with him and his cynicism.
It is evident that his anger has stemmed from a history of rejection by his father, school, Kim and the rap world. What he has done is turned it into something positive however and his music would not be what it is today if it weren’t for these negative experiences. With this short background of the artist himself you may now be able to understand better where he is coming from and what his lyrics are in reaction to.
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