Eminem, the rapper born as Marshall Mathers, is known worldwide as one of the first white emcees to be loved, accepted and embraced by the hip hop community and is now considered among the best in the industry with regard to lyricism. With so many iconic songs, it is hard to deny the Detroit rapper’s talent and the impact he has made on the genre as a whole.
Born in Missouri and raised in the 8 Mile area of Detroit, Eminem was the biggest name in hip hop at the turn of the millennium, without a doubt. His second album, The Slim Shady LP, released in 1999, was met with critical acclaim and went straight to number two on the Billboard 200, and by the end of 1999, it was certified four times platinum. To this day, it is still classed as a classic and is one of the most successful hip hop albums of all time.
Eminem’s alter-ego ‘Slim Shady’ captivated the world as he explored highly dangerous subjects that no other rapper had dared to and flung profanity into his songs for fun. The rapper’s ability to immerse his listeners in a story is second to none, and the 2002 movie 8-mile only fuelled his popularity. Eminem has the highest-selling hip hop album of all time with his album, The Eminem Show, certified diamond, with over 27 million sales and 3 Billion streams. Kanye’s 11 albums combined have sold a total of 35 million. So for one album, The Eminem Show is one of the best-selling albums in the world.
Before he was picked up by Dr Dre and Aftermath Records to release his Slim Shady LP in late 1999, Mathers was a musical genius on the verge of suicide due to his extreme poverty. Mathers had been on the underground in Detroit for years with his first album, Infinite, performing poorly, receiving little to no airplay by DJs in his city, and as a white rapper, everybody had written him off.
Mathers transitioned into the spotlight after he was spotted by a label intern in the crowd at one of his many rap battles, Mathers’ demo ended up in the hands of rapper and producer Dr Dre and was, shortly after, signed by him. Eminem built the foundations of his career on the art of battle rapping. In Detroit he built his name solely on battles and eventually it took him to that next level. Below you can watch extremely rare footage of Eminem and Juice battling in 1997.