Published Nov 08, 2013Eminem — born Marshall Mathers — has been making headlines for almost 15 years, courting controversy and earning adoration with his provocative rhymes and button-pushing public persona. It's been a bumpy ride, full of commercial ups and downs, personal struggles, and triumphant successes.
As the rapper goes about releasing The Marshall Mathers LP 2, his fascinating journey is examined in detail in our Timeline feature for this month's Exclaim! Magazine. Before you dive into this lengthy biographical piece, here are five facts about the rapper to get you started. Check out the facts below, and be sure to read the full Timeline feature in the new print issue of Exclaim!
Five Noteworthy Facts You May Not Know About Eminem:
1. During Eminem's troubled childhood, he was bullied so badly in school that his mother attempted to sue the school.
Eminem's mother unsuccessfully sues the Roseville school district for not protecting her bullied son. Growing up in a predominately black, lower middle class neighbourhood, Mathers' imagination is fuelled by comic books and he begins to draw. At age nine, he is introduced to rap through Ice-T's "Reckless" from the Breakin' soundtrack, a gift from his uncle, Ronald Polkinghorn. Devastated when Uncle Ronnie commits suicide, Marshall skips the funeral and refuses to speak for days. According to Eminem, his mother suffers from Munchausen syndrome, causing her to repeatedly fake illness in to order draw sympathy and attention from him and others.
2. A high school bully unsuccessfully attempted to sue Eminem.
DeAngelo Bailey, the school bully Eminem raps about in "Brain Damage," joins in on the fun, serving Eminem with a $1 million slander and invasion of privacy suit. The case gets dismissed by a rapping judge, who delivers her verdict in rhyme: "Bailey thinks he's entitled to some monetary gain / Because Eminem used his name in vain."
3. Dr. Dre discovered Eminem after the up-and-coming rapper lost a freestyle battle.
Eminem travels to L.A. to compete in the Rap Olympics, a national freestyle battle. He loses to Otherwize in the final, but the Interscope employees at the show send a tape of Em's rhymes to label CEO Jimmy Iovine. Iovine plays the tape for Dr. Dre, arguably the best hip-hop producer ever. "Find him. Now," Dre tells Iovine, according to Rolling Stone in 1999.
4. Eminem suffered a drug overdose in 2007.
In December '07, he overdoses on methadone and is hospitalized. In 2008, Mathers begins a 12-step program to stomp out his addiction. He starts running on the treadmill excessively and gets sober in April. Elton John serves as a mentor during his recovery.
5. Eminem got his young daughter Hailie to contribute vocals to a song about killing her mother.
The Slim Shady EP's ditty about killing Kim and riding off with their daughter, is reworked with toddler Hailie's vocals and becomes "'97 Bonnie & Clyde." In order to get Hailie into the studio, Mathers tells Scott he's taking her to Chuck E. Cheese's. "When she found out I used our daughter to write a song about killing her, she fucking blew. We had just got back together for a couple of weeks. Then I played her the song, and she bugged the fuck out," Eminem tells Rolling Stone.