Eminem Performing on April 24, 2013.
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45 Interesting Facts About Eminem

Born on October 17, 1972, as Marshall Bruce Mathers III, the rapper is more commonly known as Eminem is one of the most successful musical artists of his generation. In addition to his legendary rapping career, Eminem has also enjoyed success on the movie screen and as a record producer. Here are 45 facts that you may not know about this iconic modern musician.

He Was Born in Missouri

Eminem was born in the small town of St. Joseph, Missouri. He is the only child of Marshall Bruce Mathers Jr. and Deborah Rae.

Eminem’s Parents Were in a Band

Prior to their divorce, Eminem’s parents were in a band known as Daddy Warbucks. The band was a regular fixture at various Ramada Inns located along the Dakotas and Montana border.

He Had an Unhappy Childhood

His father abandoned Marshall and his mother before he was even born, so throughout most of Marshall’s childhood, it was just him and his mom living together. The two always had financial problems because of her drug addiction, and they lived in many different states, including Missouri, Kansas, and Michigan. 

During this time, Marshall had a pretty unhappy childhood and failed to make friends most of the time due to constant moves and bullying from other kids for having a single mom.

Eminem Doesn’t Like to Read

Eminem is not a fan of reading, citing that the only non-comic book that he has ever read from cover to cover is LL Cool J’s autobiography called “I Make My Own Rules.”

He Once Worked as a Cook

One of Eminem’s first jobs was as a short-order cook at a family restaurant called Gilbert’s Lodge. He was fired five days before Christmas and the experience inspired him to write the song “Rock Bottom.”

He Got His Big Break from the Rap Olympics

Eminem had his big break in 1997 when we traveled to Los Angeles to compete in the 1997 Rap Olympics competition. Although he came in second place, his performance impressed the managers at Interscope Records who passed his name to Dr. Dre.

He Has Recorded Songs With His Daughter

Eminem once lied to his wife and said that he was taking their daughter Hailie to play at Chuck E. Cheese. Instead, they went to the recording studio so that Hailie could record her part in the song “97 Bonnie & Clyde.”

Eminem Loves Comic Books

Comic books became part of the healing process for Eminem when he was in rehab. He said that the books became a substitute for the drugs and alcohol that he was leaving behind.

Eminem and Proof
Eminem performing a rap with his best friend Proof in 1999 at Juice Jam in Germany.

One of His Best Friends was Shot

One of Eminem’s best friends was shot and killed after a fight that broke out over a game of pool. Known to his friends as Proof, the friend was the best man in Eminem’s second wedding to Kim Mathers. He was also famous for freestyle rap battles, known for one particular win where he won 30 rap battles in a row, back to back, against different famous rappers. 

The Stage Name Eminem Doesn’t Come From Candy 

Contrary to the belief that he was named after the famous chocolate candy, Eminem came up with his stage name by combining the first initial of his first and last name. Sometimes, he also refers to Eminem as his “alter-ego” when he gets mad. 

He’s Been in Movies

The rapper turned movie star made his big-screen debut in the movie “8 Mile.” This 2002 movie is a semi-autobiographical film that chronicles the experience of a white rapper growing up in Detroit.

Eminem Has an Oscar

The film garnered Eminem an Oscar award for the song “Lose Yourself.” The award is the first time that a rap song has ever won an Oscar. Eminem was not expecting to actually win the award. He was so sure of this that he skipped the awards ceremony and chose to spend the night simply hanging with his daughter.

Eminem would also go on to win a Grammy for best rap at the Grammy Awards in 2003 for the same song. 

Eminem Had a Drug Problem

Eminem has been vocal about his prescription drug problem. At the height of this addition, he was taking between 40 and 60 valiums and 30 Vicodin per day.

Eminem Also Had Weight Issues

While he was battling his drug addiction, he turned to food as a comfort. As a result, his weight crept up to 230 pounds, causing some people to not even recognize him any longer.

Eminem Has Been in Trouble With the Law

Eminem was only 20 years old when he first had trouble with the law. He was arrested as a result of his participation in a drive-by shooting using a paintball gun.

Eminem Inspires Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre said that Eminem is one of the most hard-working and conscientious musicians that he has ever worked with. This is high praise coming from a professional like Dr. Dre. The two of them later collaborated on the song “Aftermath.”

Eminem performing with Dr. Dre in 2012.

He’s Broken a Guinness World Record

Eminem has had many chart-topping billboard hits, but one of Eminem’s most interesting records was when he broke the Guinness Book of World Records for the most words in a hit rap song. The song that earned that distinction was the 2013 single “Rap God.”

He Was Once Called Mickey

Big ears earned Eminem the nickname of Mickey when he was a young boy.

Eminem Was Sued by His Own Mother

He was sued by his own mother on grounds of defamation after he said that she smoked more dope than he did in the song “My Name Is.”

This wasn’t the only time Eminem would be sued over the course of his career, as he was also sued by his ex-wife Kim, a man who kissed Kim (who he pistol-whipped), and the Janitor De’Angelo Bailey who sued Eminem over his song “Brain Damage.”

Eminem Never Finished High School

Succeeding in school was not Eminem’s thing. He failed the ninth grade a total of three times before dropping out of high school.

He was then enrolled at McNally Smith College of Music in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he began rapping with his friend Proof, who later became his rap group’s original member. They would often get into trouble while attending McNally Smith College by stealing or getting into fights, so they eventually dropped out.

He Once Claimed he was Dating Mariah Carey

In 2001, Eminem claimed that he was in a relationship with popular pop star Mariah Carey. She denied the claim.

He’s Studied the Dictionary

Although school was not his favorite, Eminem has remained committed to studying the dictionary so that he can add more depth to his song lyrics.

He’s Been to Amsterdam

The original title for The Marshal Mathers LP was “Amsterdam.” The name was inspired because he wrote a bulk of the album while in Amsterdam.

This album went on to break numerous records, including one set by Snoop Dogg for the fastest-selling hip-hop album. 

Eminem Doesn’t Do Long Tours

Because of his former drug addiction, Eminem gave up long tours. He said that the extended time on the road is a trigger for his addiction.

Eminem on tour
Eminem on his Anger Management Tour in 2003.

He Was Inspired by The Beastie Boys

The Beastie Boys were the original inspiration for Eminem as he launched his career.

He Doesn’t Know How to Use a Computer

Not one to be technologically savvy, Eminem has no problems admitting that he does not know how to use a computer.

He Almost Joined a Church Choir

After being inspired by Tupac Shakur, Eminem began writing poems about life growing up in Detroit. One poem became so popular amongst his friends that it caught the attention of other rappers, including Insane Clown Posse, who wanted to include him in their group. 

However, Eminem declined the offer because he was already committed to rapping, and upon hearing from a friend about a choir that was looking for someone with his kind of voice (“unique”), he decided to audition, which is where he met singer-songwriter and future collaborator, Elton John. Elton went on stage at the Grammys years later and admitted that if it weren’t for hip-hop music, Eminem would have been a church choir boy by then.

Eminem Is Supported by Elton John

The friendship with Elton John didn’t end there, as Elton ended up becoming one of Eminem’s biggest supporters, as he battled his drug addiction. Sir Elton used his own life experience to help Eminem beat his addiction to Vicodin and Ambien.

He is Big on the Idea of Respect

When his daughter was crowned as Homecoming Queen, Eminem watched the ceremony from a distance because he did not want to be the focus of the attention at the school.

Michael Jackson Was Once a Fan of Eminem

Although Michael Jackson was once a fan of Eminem, he admitted that he was disappointed when the rapper attacked him in the song “Just Lose It.”

Ed Sheeran is Also a Fan of Eminem

Ed Sheeran has said that Eminem has been one of his biggest idols and musical influences as he crafted his own successful career in the industry.

Eminem Was Offered a Role in Elysium

Although he was offered the leading role in the 2013 sci-fi movie “Elysium,” Eminem turned it down after the producers refused to honor his request of shooting the movie in his hometown of Detroit.

Eminem Loves Donkey Kong

Who knew that Eminem was a gamer? He once held a top 30 score in the game Donkey Kong.

Eminem raps with a live band during The Concert for Valor in Washington, D.C. Nov. 11, 2014. DoD News photo by EJ Hersom

Eminem is Charitable

The rapper is also a philanthropist. The Marshall Mathers Foundation is dedicated to providing care and funding for at-risk and disadvantaged youth in Michigan.

Eminem Was Jealous of Vanilla Ice

Eminem was jealous of the success of Vanilla Ice, saying that he did not want to rap anymore after the rapper burst out onto the scene.

Machine Gun Kelly and Eminem Have a Feud

Rapper Machine Gun Kelly had targeted Eminem in one of his songs, which started a feud between the two. There have been many shots fired back and forth between them since.

Kanye and Eminem Are Friends

Kanye West and Eminem have produced many songs together. Despite all this time working on projects together, in an interview, Kanye West admitted that he didn’t think that he was on the same level as Eminem, because Eminem is simply better. 

He Can Make a Song About Anything

What makes Eminem so unique is his ability to write lyrics about anything; he can make a violent rap song (such as “Kim“) or a sad rap song (like “Stan“) equally well. Eminem’s lyrics are not always dark, though; he also has plenty of fun tracks like “Shake That,” “The Real Slim Shady,” and “Without Me.”

A Nightmare inspired his Role in The Slim Shady LP

Eminem told an interview that he had a dream one night of a scary, bleach-blonde clown who threatened to eat him alive if he didn’t write a scary song about him. This is how his role on the Slim Shady LP came about; he even called it “a concept album,” and each song represents what goes on inside of Eminem’s mind throughout various stages of life (e.g., “Role Model” is supposed to be rapping from the perspective of a ten-year-old Marshall Mathers while “My Fault” shows his mindset at age nineteen when he and his girlfriend broke up).

Believe it or not, Slim Shady EP is actually Eminem’s second solo album. His first was called Infinite, and the critics hated it so much that they told Eminem to “go back to rock and roll.” This led to him redefining his image before recording again. 

The Real Slim Shady LP Was Supposed to Be His Last Album

In 1999, after being involved with many altercations between himself and various rappers, including Insane Clown Posse, Everlast, and even the president of his record label, Eminem decided to drop everything and focus on his music. 

He wrote “I’m Back,” which was supposed to be the last rap song he ever made. He turned in The Slim Shady LP album early to Interscope Records to never come back to rapping again. However, once they heard what he had done, they wanted him back for more songs, but Eminem insisted that this would be his last album.

He Was Allegedly Robbed at Gun Point Before He Got Famous

Eminem has threatened people with guns several times throughout his career (e.g., “Stan,” “Rap Game,” “Drug Ballad,” etc.), but the allegations that he was robbed at gunpoint before his career took off are somewhat accurate. 

Eminem is Bipolar

One of the big reasons Eminem struggles with drugs and relapses to his addiction is because of his Bipolar disorder. Supposedly, this is why he began using them in the first place. 

This is also why it’s not uncommon for him to go through several weeks without sleeping or eating because when you’re bipolar, your moods can easily control how you behave (i.e., mania vs. depression). Furthermore, he becomes an introvert whenever his mania wears off, which explains why touring drives him mad.

This drug habit almost killed the hip-hop artist when he suffered an overdose in 2007. In fact, the doctors say if he had waited any longer to come into the hospital, he would have died. 

His Favorite Rappers are Nas, Redman & Jay Z

Eminem doesn’t just consider himself to be better than Tupac Shakur, but people like Will Smith as well, saying, “I’m better than Biggie/Tupac/Biggie/.” He says that 2pac was a better rapper because he cared about the quality of his music, whereas Biggie only wanted to make as much money as possible. 

Eminem and Rihanna
Eminem and Rihanna performing “Love the Way You Lie” in 2010.

Eminem Chose Rihanna

As he was writing the song “Love the Way You Lie” Eminem said he always had Rihanna in mind for the part, as he had always wanted to work with the artist. There are many rumors that this song is based on Rihanna’s relationship with Chris Brown, this has never been confirmed, however. 

Although Rihanna may have never pictured herself being featured in several Eminem songs, the collaboration continued with the release of “Numb” on one of Rihanna’s albums as well as “Monster” on The Marshal Mathers LP 2.  

Elon Musk was Confirmed to be an Eminem fan after his Facebook post

Elon Musk, the co-founder of PayPal, CEO of Tesla Motors, and founder/CEO of SpaceX, recently posted a picture on his official Facebook page which has people wondering if he is Eminem’s biggest fan. He also posted this link onto his Facebook wall. Turns out even successful people like Elon Musk can relate to Eminem’s catchy tunes.

Bo Weber
Author: Bo Weber

Supporting artists since 2014

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Written by Bo Weber

Supporting artists since 2014

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