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How Has Eminem Risen to the Top?

How Has Eminem Risen to the Top?

How is it that a little white boy from Kansas City has become
the most well known rapper in the world? Starting from nothing
and eventually moving up to a multi-millionaire, Eminem over the
past seven years has been in the eye of the public everywhere
you look. He has essentially entered a black man’s business and
gone to the top over the course of a few years, but how?

On October 17, 1972 Marshall Bruce Mathers III was born in St.
Joseph, MO by his 15 year old mother Debbie. Six months later
his father was gone and this began the struggle for Marshall and
his mother; one that was just the beginning. Throughout the
course of his childhood Marshall and his mother moved numerous
times into different houses from Kansas City to Detroit. The
maximum time spent in one house was only 3 months, which caused
Marshall to attend many different schools making it difficult to
cope to the different surroundings and make friends. Every new
school he attended he was bullied as he was the new kid. This
was something that he could not change as he was never stationed
in one school for a long period of time. At the age of 12 he and
his mother finally settled in a house in Detroit. He would
later use the bullying to his advantage fueling him to get back
at all his bullies through songs.

By the age of 4 Marshall was already beginning to rap and put
words together rhyming them. At school he was rather successful
considering the circumstances, but it was lunchtime that he
enjoyed as he often battled schoolmates through freestyles. At
the age of 14 Marshall began to get serious about rapping and
felt that he had a shot in the business. When he got to the
ninth grade he failed it three times before eventually dropping
out as he felt school was not for him.

When he turned 17 he came up with the name M&M for himself by
combining the first letters of his first and last name, which
later was changed to Eminem. Now that he didn’t have school as
a distraction, he focused solely on rapping with the goal of
making it to the top. He faced constant struggle on the way to
stardom as he was continuously rejected by most rappers because
of his race, despite his true talent. This grew anger inside of
him that he uses in his music today. Knowing that it wasn’t
going to be easy and that he would have to work, Marshall forced
himself onto radio shows and freestyle battles to prove
everybody wrong. He eventually got a first album titled
“Infinite”, but it only sold 1,000 copies. It wasn’t until 1997
that Marshall would make a name for himself.

In 1997 he was married with a child trying to support his family
with very little cash to do it with. He went to the Rap
Olympics in Los Angeles hoping to win the cash prize of $1,500
for first place, but instead was spotted by a few sponsors from
Interscope. Furious that he had come in second, he later found
out about the sponsors and he gave them a copy of the “Infinite”
tape, which was later sent to Dr. Dre. Dre was extremely
impressed with the talent of Eminem and got contact of him,
where the two recorded his second album; The Slim Shady LP.
This album set the tone for his style of rap, as he lashed out
on everyone that had bullied him throughout his life. It was a
different style than anyone had ever heard, which brought him to

Eminem is by far the most popular rapper that is seen most in
public. He has been seen in Rap Pages, VIBE, Rolling Stone,
Spin, The Source, URB and Stress and continues to strive for
more. He became the first white person to ever be on the cover
of The Source. Throughout his life he has starred in the movie
“8 Mile” based on his life growing up, has had over 20 guest
appearances on TV, has featured on numerous different rappers
CD’s, and has recorded 5 CD’s of his own. His second LP, “The
Marshall Mathers LP”, sold over 8 million records in the United
States alone, 1.76 million copies in the first week setting a
record for a solo artist. This album became the first rap album
ever to be nominated for “Album of the Year” at the Grammies. He
would go on to win 3 Grammies for the album that night. In the
year 2002 he made $29 million in earnings of his fourth album
“The Eminem Show LP” and touring for it. Then on March 23, 2003
the song “Lose Yourself” from his movie “8 Mile” became the
first rap song to ever win an Academy Award.

While being known for his explicit behavior and horrendous
lyrics on his albums and in the eye of the public, it is
difficult to overlook all that he has achieved. Coming from
where he did and rising to where he is currently, it is
remarkable what he has done not only for himself, but the rap
world as well. While it is hard for most to like him, there are
not many that do not at least respect him for what he has
achieved as of now, and what he may do in the future to come.

© Jeff Schuman II