Growing Up and Early Career:
Marshall Mathers, aka Eminem, was born October 17, 1972 in St. Joseph, Missouri. He spent his early years with his mother in various Missouri towns before finally settling in the Detroit, Michigan suburbs. Young Marshall became interested in hip hop as a teen after listening to the Beastie Boys. He began performing in amateur shows at the age of 14.
Eminem signed to a recording contract in the early 1990s and released his first album Infinite in 1996. After winning the 1997 Rap Olympics, Eminem came to the attention of Interscope CEO Jimmy Iovine. He was signed to a contract and began recording an album with Dr. Dre.
Eminem's 'Slim Shady' Breakthrough:
With production work from Dr. Dre, Eminem unleashed the Slim Shady LP in early 1999. It debuted at #2 on the Billboard album chart and went on to sell over five million copies in the US alone. The collection of songs met almost instant controversy over lyrical content dealing with murder, sex, and drugs. Eminem has since discussed the "Slim Shady" character as an exaggerated one that does not match the real Marshall Mathers. The single "My Name Is" became Eminem's first top 40 pop hit in the US.
In May 2000 Eminem released the Marshall Mathers LP titled after his own birth name. It became the fastest selling album ever by a solo artist with 1.7 million copies sold in its first week. Following the title the collection of songs are significantly more personal and introspective than those on the Slim Shady LP. The single "The Real Slim Shady" became Eminem's first top 10 pop single climbing all the way to #4. Eminem won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album for the second time, and he received his first nomination or Album of the Year.
'The Eminem Show' and '8 Mile':
When The Eminem Show was released in June 2002, Eminem once again sold over a million copies in the first week of release and debuted at #1 on the album chart. It was considered a lighter album than the Marshall Mathers LP. Eminem received another Grammy Award for Best Rap Album and nomination for Album of the Year. The Eminem Show generated two top 10 pop singles.
Eminem's acting debut followed in the fall of 2002 with the release of the autobiographical film 8 Mile. The song "Lose Yourself" became Eminem's first #1 pop single and it also won the Academy Award for Best Song, the first rap recording to do so.
Eminem's 'Encore' and Hiatus:
It was two years until the next studio album Encore was released in November 2004. The new collection went straight to #1 once again. However, the album was criticized for being simplistic lyrically. The top 10 single "Just Lose It" was criticized for making fun of Michael Jackson in its accompanying video.
Throughout 2005 rumors circulated that Eminem was considering retirement. In August he cancelled a European concert tour and announced that he was entering rehab. A compilation album Curtain Call: The Hits appeared in December 2005 and included two new top 10 pop hits "When I'm Gone" and "Shake That."
Personal Issues and Headlines:
Eminem's personal life has been the subject of constant press scrutiny. He has been married twice to Kimberley Anne Scott, and their relationship has been featured in both tabloids and Eminem's own music. Eminem shares custody of his daughter with Kim, Hailie. He is also the adoptive father of a niece, Lainey, and Whitney, the child of a previous relationship.
Eminem's mother sued him for slander in 1999 over lyrics on the Slim Shady LP. He has appeared in headlines referencing ongoing problems with drug abuse. Eminem's ongoing feud with Mariah Carey has been a frequent gossip magazine topic.
'Relapse' and 'Recovery':
Eminem released his first new studio album in nearly five years when Relapse appeared in May 2009. It sold over 600,000 copies in its first week of release and opened at #1 on the album chart. The album is a response to Eminem's drug rehabilitation experiences and the return of the alter ego Slim Shady. Critical response was mixed but Eminem won another Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. The single "Crack a Bottle" hit #1.
Instead of an originally planned Relapse 2, Eminem announced a new album Recovery. It was preceded by the #1 pop single "Not Afraid," and Recovery sold over 700,000 copies to hit #1 upon release.