Marshall Bruce Mathers III (born October 17, 1972), known professionally as Eminem (/ˌɛmɪˈnɛm/; formerly stylized as EMINƎM), is an American rapper, songwriter, and record producer. Eminem is among the best-selling music artists of all time, with estimated worldwide sales of over 220 million records. He is credited with popularizing hip hop in middle America and is critically acclaimed as one of the greatest rappers of all time. Eminem’s global success and acclaimed works are widely regarded as having broken racial barriers for the acceptance of white rappers in popular music. While much of his transgressive work during the late 1990s and early 2000s made him widely controversial, he came to be a representation of popular angst of the American underclass, and has been cited as an influence for many artists of various genres.
After his debut album Infinite (1996) and the extended play Slim Shady EP (1997), Eminem signed with Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment and subsequently achieved mainstream popularity in 1999 with The Slim Shady LP. His next two releases, The Marshall Mathers LP (2000) and The Eminem Show (2002), were worldwide successes and were both nominated for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. After the release of his next album, Encore (2004), Eminem went on hiatus in 2005, largely due to a prescription drug addiction. He returned to the music industry four years later with the release of Relapse (2009) and Recovery was released the following year. Recovery was the best-selling album worldwide of 2010, making it Eminem’s second album, after The Eminem Show in 2002, to be the best-selling album of the year worldwide. In the following years, he released the US number one albums The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013), Revival (2017), Kamikaze (2018) and Music to Be Murdered By (2020).
Eminem made his debut in the film industry with the musical drama film 8 Mile (2002), playing a fictionalized version of himself, and his track “Lose Yourself” from its soundtrack won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, making him the first hip hop artist ever to win the award. Eminem has made cameo appearances in the films The Wash (2001), Funny People (2009) and The Interview (2014) and the television series Entourage (2010). He has also developed other ventures, including Shady Records, a joint venture with manager Paul Rosenberg, which helped launch the careers of artists such as 50 Cent, Yelawolf and Obie Trice, among others. He has also established his own channel, Shade 45, on Sirius XM Radio. In addition to his solo career, Eminem was a member of the hip hop group D12. He is also known for collaborations with fellow Detroit-based rapper Royce da 5’9″; the two are collectively known as Bad Meets Evil.
He was the best-selling music artist in the United States of the 2000s and the best-selling male music artist in the United States of the 2010s, third overall. Billboard named him the “Artist of the Decade (2000–2009)”. The Marshall Mathers LP, The Eminem Show, “Lose Yourself”, “Love the Way You Lie” and “Not Afraid” have all been certified Diamond or higher by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Rolling Stone has included him in its lists of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time. He has won numerous awards, including 15 Grammy Awards, eight American Music Awards, 17 Billboard Music Awards, an Academy Award and an MTV Europe Music Global Icon Award. He has had ten number-one albums on the Billboard 200—which all consecutively debuted at number one on the chart, making him the first artist to achieve this—and five number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100.
List of awards and nominations received by Eminem
This is a comprehensive list of awards received by Eminem, an American rapper, songwriter, and record producer. He began his career in 1996 with Web Entertainment and has been one of the most popular rap acts in the world since the late 1990s. Eminem is the best-selling artist of the decade on the US Nielsen SoundScan and has sold over 220 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time.
awards and nominations
American Music Awards
MTV Movie & TV Awards
Golden Globe Awards
Eminem quickly gained popularity in 1999 with his major label debut album The Slim Shady LP, which won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. The following album, The Marshall Mathers LP, became the fastest-selling solo album in United States history.
The Marshall Mathers LP and his third studio album, The Eminem Show, won Grammy Awards, making Eminem the first artist to win Best Rap Album for three consecutive LPs. He then won the award again in 2010 for his album Relapse, giving him a total of 15 Grammys in his career. In 2003, he won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for “Lose Yourself” from the film 8 Mile, in which he also played the lead role. “Lose Yourself” would go on to become the longest-running No. 1 hip hop single.
Eminem then went on hiatus after touring in 2005. He released his first album since 2004’s Encore, titled Relapse, in May 2009. In 2010, he released his seventh album, Recovery. It became his sixth consecutive number-one album in the US and achieved international commercial success, topping the chart in several other countries. It stayed at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart for five consecutive weeks and a total of seven weeks. Recovery was also reported by Billboard to be the best-selling album of 2010, making Eminem the first artist in Nielsen SoundScan history to have two year-end best-selling albums.
Eminem was ranked 79th on the VH1 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. He was ranked 83th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. He was also named the Best Rapper Alive by Vibe magazine in 2008. Including his work with D12 and Bad Meets Evil, Eminem has had 13 number-one albums on the Billboard Top 200, ten solo, two with D12, and one with Bad Meets Evil. In December 2009, he was named the Artist of the Decade by Billboard magazine. His albums, The Eminem Show, The Marshall Mathers LP, and Encore, ranked as the 3rd, 7th, and 40th best-selling albums of the 2000–09 decade by Billboard magazine. According to Billboard, Eminem has two of his albums among the top five highest selling albums of the 2000s decade. In the UK, Eminem has sold more than 13 million records. In 2010, MTV ranked Eminem as the 10th-biggest icon in pop music history. During 2010, Eminem’s music generated 94 million streams, more than any other music artist.
In November at the 2013 MTV Europe Music Awards, Eminem became the first rapper to ever receive the global icon award due to his accomplishments and influences in music joining him with Queen, Whitney Houston and Bon Jovi.
As of early 2014, Eminem has sold more than 44 million track downloads and 44.91 million albums in the United States alone and became the second-best male selling artist in US history behind Garth Brooks. For the decade of 2010 through 2019 Eminem was Spotify’s fifth-most-streamed artist (fourth-most-streamed male artist).
Main articles: Eminem albums discography, Eminem singles discography, Eminem production discography, and Eminem videography
The Slim Shady LP (1999)
The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
The Eminem Show (2002)
The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013)
Music to Be Murdered By (2020)
Main articles: D12 discography and Bad Meets Evil § Discography
Devil’s Night (with D12) (2001)
D12 World (with D12) (2004)
Hell: The Sequel (with Bad Meets Evil) (2011)
As a headliner
The Slim Shady LP Tour (1999)
The Recovery Tour (2010–2013)
Rapture Tour (2014)
Revival Tour (2018)
Rapture 2019 (2019)
As a co-headliner
Up in Smoke Tour (with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and others) (2000)
Anger Management Tour (with Limp Bizkit and Papa Roach) (2002–2005)
The Home & Home Tour (with Jay Z) (2010)
The Monster Tour (with Rihanna) (2014)
Influences, style and rapping technique
Eminem has cited several MCs as influencing his rapping style, including Esham, Kool G Rap, Masta Ace, Big Daddy Kane, Newcleus, Ice-T, Mantronix, Melle Mel (on “The Message”), LL Cool J, Beastie Boys, Run-D.M.C., Rakim and Boogie Down Productions. In How to Rap, Guerilla Black notes that Eminem studied other MCs to hone his rapping technique: “Eminem listened to everything and that’s what made him one of the greats”. In the book, other MCs also praise aspects of his rapping technique: varied, humorous subject matter, connecting with his audience, carrying a concept over a series of albums, complex rhyme schemes, bending words so they rhyme, multisyllabic rhymes, many rhymes to a bar, complex rhythms, clear enunciation, and the use of melody and syncopation. Eminem is known to write most of his lyrics on paper (documented in The Way I Am), taking several days or a week to craft lyrics, being a “workaholic” and “stacking” vocals. Examples of hip hop subgenres that Eminem’s music has been described as include horrorcore, comedy hip hop, and hardcore hip hop. Eminem also incorporates rap rock into his music and has cited rock acts during the 1970s and 1980s, such as Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, as influences in his music.
Eminem uses alter egos in his songs for different rapping styles and subject matter. His best-known alter ego, Slim Shady, first appeared on the Slim Shady EP and was in The Slim Shady LP, The Marshall Mathers LP, The Eminem Show, Encore, Relapse, The Marshall Mathers LP 2 and Kamikaze. In this persona, his songs are violent and dark, with a comic twist. Eminem downplayed Slim Shady on Recovery because he felt it did not fit the album’s theme. Another character is Ken Kaniff, a homosexual who pokes fun at Eminem’s songs. Ken was created and originally played by fellow Detroit rapper Aristotle on the Slim Shady LP, where Kaniff makes a prank call to Eminem. An argument after the album’s release prompted Eminem to use the Kaniff character on Marshall Mathers and later albums (except Encore and Recovery). Aristotle, angry with Eminem’s use of his character, released a mixtape in his Kaniff persona ridiculing him.
Collaborations and productions
See also: Eminem production discography and Eminem discography § Guest appearances
Although Eminem usually collaborates with Aftermath Entertainment and Shady Records rappers such as Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, D12, Obie Trice and Yelawolf, he has also worked with Redman, Kid Rock, DMX, Lil Wayne, Missy Elliott, Jay Z, Drake, Rihanna, Nas, Nicki Minaj, Xzibit, Method Man, Jadakiss, Fat Joe, Sticky Fingaz, T.I. and Young Jeezy. Eminem rapped a verse in a live performance of Busta Rhymes’ “Touch It” remix at the 2006 BET Music Awards. He appeared on Akon’s single “Smack That” from Konvicted, Lil Wayne’s hit “Drop the World” and “My Life” (the lead single from 50 Cent’s Street King Immortal).
Eminem was the executive producer of D12’s first two albums (Devil’s Night and D12 World), Obie Trice’s Cheers and Second Round’s on Me and 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and The Massacre. He has produced songs for other rappers such as Jadakiss’ “Welcome To D-Block”, Jay-Z’s “Renegade” and “Moment of Clarity”, Lloyd Banks’ “On Fire”, “Warrior Part 2” and “Hands Up”, Tony Yayo’s “Drama Setter”, Trick-Trick’s “Welcome 2 Detroit” and Xzibit’s “My Name” and “Don’t Approach Me”. Most of The Eminem Show was produced by Eminem and his longtime collaborator, Jeff Bass, and Eminem co-produced Encore with Dr. Dre. In 2004, Eminem was co-executive producer of 2Pac’s posthumous album Loyal to the Game with Shakur’s mother, Afeni. He produced the UK number-one single “Ghetto Gospel”,featuring Elton John; “The Cross”, from the Nas album God’s Son; and eight tracks on Obie Trice’s 2006 album Second Round’s on Me (also appearing on “There They Go”). Eminem produced several tracks on Trick-Trick’s The Villain (appearing on “Who Want It”) and produced four tracks on Cashis’ 2013 album The County Hound 2.
Eminem is considered unusual in structuring his songs around the lyrics, rather than writing to beats. One exception was “Stan”, which came from an idea and scratch track produced by the 45 King. After doing little production on Relapse and Recovery, Eminem produced a significant portion of The Marshall Mathers LP 2. He said about producing his own music, “Sometimes, I may get something in my head, like an idea or the mood of something that I would want, and I’m not always gonna get that by going through different tracks that other people have made. They don’t know what’s in my head. I think maybe it helps, a little bit, with diversity, the sound of it, but also, I would get something in my head and want to be able to lay down that idea from scratch.” In 1998 when his beef with rapper Cage was still happening, New York rapper Necro (who had previously produced three songs for Cage) met Eminem and gave him a CD with the beat to what eventually became the beat for the song “Black Helicopters” by rap group Non-Phixion. Despite Eminem never using it, Necro still said positive things about Eminem and would appear on Shade45 years later.
Comparisons with other artists
As a white performer prominent in a genre influenced by black artists, Eminem has been compared, much to his chagrin, to Elvis Presley, and has lyrically been compared to Bob Dylan. Rapper Asher Roth has been compared to Eminem and Roth devoted a song on his album (“As I Em”) to him, which he took offense to. The accomplished trumpeter Nicholas Payton has called Eminem “the Bix Beiderbecke of hip hop”.