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Marshall Mathers: Legend or Controversy?

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Marshall Mathers: Legend or Controversy?

A question that often arises when discussing Marshall Bruce Mathers III, better known as rapper EMINEM or Slim Shady, is why is this man such a controversial artist?

Marshall was born on October 17, 1972 in Kansas City, MO to a single mother, Mrs. Debbie Mathers - Briggs. He has a half brother, Nathan, born in 1986.

During his young childhood, Marshall moved back and forth between his mothers home town of St. Joseph, MO and the Detroit area, where he was often beat up by bullies because he was always the new kid. Because of his frequent moving, Marshall didn't make many friends. His only true companion was his uncle, Ronnie, who was the same age as Marshall. The two, big fans of rap music, which was quickly becoming popular, began rapping together. At age 12, Marshall was forced to grow up quickly when his uncle, who was a very troubled boy, committed suicide.

After the death of Ronnie, Marshall settled with his mother in Warren, MI, a working-class suburb outside Detroit. There, Marshall attended Lincoln High School, but dropped out after failing 9th grade in 1989 at age 17.

Being more interested in hip-hop music than school, he began rhyming at amateur nights in Detroit clubs. And worked at Gilbert's Lodge in St. Clair Shores. Mike Mazar, a manager at the restaurant (where Marshall was a cook from 1993-98), recalls Em as a hard worker with a certain dedication to music. Mazar was quoted as saying, "He worked Friday nights and was scheduled until 11 but at about 9 PM, he would just leave to go to the rap clubs. There was nothing we could do. We'd yell but it was hard to find good employees."

Eminem releases his first full-length debut album, Infinite, on an independent label, but was not accepted into the rap community. He was dubbed a "Vanilla Ice" wannabe. He became very discouraged, but after talking to Wendy Day, founder of the Rap Collection, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting hip-hop artists, Marshall decided to work harder to achieve his life-long goal.

In 1997, with his debut album going nowhere fast, Day flew Marshall to the Rap Olympics in Los Angeles in hopes of the rapper taking home the $500 top prize. Although he didn't win this money, this was the beginning of his big break. His tape made it's way to Interscope Records CEO, Jimmy Iovine, who liked what he heard. He then sent the tape to Dr. Dre, who signed Marshall immediately to his Aftermath Label, and moved on to produce his next album, The Slim Shady EP, which was released in 1998.

Marshall's manager and longtime friend, Paul Rosenburg says the following of Em's feelings on fame. "One minute he's thrilled because he's selling records and people like him. Then he's unhappy because he can't go to Taco Bell with his daughter without getting hassled for 700 autographs. He doesn't mind giving autographs, but just when the time and place are right."

Marshall has his 1st number one hit, "My Name Is..." off his album The Slim Shady LP , in 1999, the same year it was released. He has another hit song, "Guilty Conscience" featuring Dr. Dre, off this album.

His next album, The Marshall Mathers LP released on February 23, 2000, caused great controversy with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLADD). This album has three singles, two of which went to number one on the billboard charts, "The Real Slim Shady," "Stan," and "The Way I Am."

As Marshall's career continues to gain momentum, through, it seems that Marshall is only hurting those closest to him as his wife recently expresses. Kim Mathers, age 25, attempted suicide at the couples' sprawling 2-story home in Sterling Heights, MI. Although, no one is certain what prompted Kim's suicide attempt, her tense marriage to this shady character could be partly to blame.

Marshall has also hurt someone closer to him that his wife, Kim: his mother, Debbie Mathers - Briggs. She says this, "You always think you want your kids to grow up and be entertainers.



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