Marshall Bruce Mathers III, better known by his stage name Eminem, may be one of the most controversial rappers to ever grace the genre. Emerging on the scene in 1990, it wasn’t until 1999 when the white rapper entered the US charts with his provocative horrorcore debut album, The Slim Shady LP.
The LP earned Eminem his first Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. His next two records, The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show, similarly won Best Rap Album Grammy Awards, making Eminem the first artist to win Best Rap Album for three consecutive LPs. He is one of the best-selling artists in the World and is the best-selling artist of the 2000s.
Mathers was born into a poor, working-class family on October 17, 1972, in St. Joseph Missouri. He spent most of his impoverished childhood shuttling between his hometown and Detroit, and initially starting rapping as a teenager under the name M&M, which Mathers took from his own initials. To confront the unavoidable racial boundaries of being a white rapper, he decided his best approach was to become a battle rapper and earn the respect of the underground hip-hop audience.
Eminem simultaneously introduced his solo career with the two independent releases Infinte (1996), and The Slim Shady EP (1997). These albums brought a feast of violent and twisted lyrics to the table, most of which were drawn from experiences in his personal life. The inner troubles of his childhood, relationships with his mother, girlfriend and his recent first born daughter, all became central themes in his raps.
The controversial moral outlook of many of the lyrics is redeemed by Eminem’s claim to be voicing his thoughts through the character Slim Shady. Through this persona, he is free to express raw and uncensored thoughts. Whether the content of his raps is true, embellished or completely fictitious, only adds to the captivation of the music.
Eminem’s has mastered the art of controversial lyric writing. Constantly in and out of the spotlight, his overnight success came as a stark contrast to the rough upbringing of his poverty filled childhood. Although in his latest releases a more poignant voice has appeared, he will be remembered for bringing a new level of raw emotion and veracity in the mainstream rap genre.
1 “This is your moment, and every single minute you spend
Tryna hold on to it because you may never get it again.”
Till I collapse
2 “Success is my only motherfuckin’ option, failures not”
3 “You don’t get another chance, life is no Nintendo game.”
Love the way you lie
4 “When I say I’ma do something I do it, I don’t give a damn what you think, I’m doing this for me.”
5 “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo”
6 “Seize the moment, try to freeze it and own it, squeeze it and hold it. ‘Cause we consider these minutes golden.”
Sing for the moment
7 “There’s no mountain I can’t climb. There’s no tower too high. No plane that I can’t learn how to fly.”
My dad’s gone crazy
8 “God gave you shoes to fit you. So put ‘em on and wear ‘em. Be yourself, man, be proud of who you are… Never let anyone tell you-you ain’t beautiful.”
9 “Cause we see them dollar signs and let the cash blind us. Money’ll brainwash you and leave your ass mindless, while snakes slither in the grass spineless.”
10 “Why do we say that until we get that person that we think’s?
Gonna be that one, then once we get ’em it’s never the same
You want them when they don’t want you
Soon as they do, feelings change”
11 “My confidence is up, this stage is my pedestal
I’m unstoppable, Incredible Hulk
You’re trapped in my medicine ball”
Drop the world
12 “I’m standing up, Imma face my demons, I’m manning up, Imma hold me ground.”
13 “No wonder I had to unlearn everything my brain was taught”
Guts Over Fear
14 “The passion in the flame is ignited
You can’t put it out once we light it
This shit is exactly what the fuck
That I’m talkin’ about when we riot”
15 “In the land of the killers a sinner’s mind is a sanctum
Holy or unholy, only have one homie.”
Sing for the moment