Marshall Mathers, a 49-year-old rapper hailing from Detroit, Michigan, was once the poster child of hip hop. With a career spanning multiple decades, Mathers had plenty of time to perfect his love for rhyming and the English language. He became an instant sensation with the drop of his first studio album, The Slim Shady LP in 1999, which also came with his debut single “My Name Is”. The album went on to sell roughly 283,000 album-equivalent units, landing him a number two spot on the Billboard Hot 200.
Mathers was co-signed by arguably the greatest producer in modern history, Doctor Dre. As well as others such as Jimmy Iovine, co-founder of Interscope Records, and his manager Paul Rosenberg.
Mathers made an unofficial debut with his first album titled Infinite in 1996. Unfortunately, Infinite failed to become a smash success. This threw him in a spiral of depression and self-doubt for what would seem like months to come. On the verge of committing suicide, he decided to give his dreams one more chance. He created the Slim Shady alter ego we all know today, and dropped The Slim Shady EP in 1997. He went on to perform at the highly coveted Rap Olympics the same year. Yet again, Mathers failed to sell many copies of his EP. He also placed second in the Rap Olympics, losing to a rapper known as Juice. Mathers had thought all hope was lost, until he was scouted by an employee at Interscope Records. It wasn’t long ‘till Dr. Dre had a hold of The Slim Shady EP, and the rest was history.
Mathers may have had a solid first studio album rollout with the release of The Slim Shady LP. But he didn’t truly taste the fruits of his labor until the debut of his second album, The Marshall Mathers LP in 2000. It went on to sell 1,780,000 album equivalent units the first week in the United States alone, becoming the fastest selling hip hop record of all time. The album skyrocketed to the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 200 and stayed there for eight consecutive weeks. This immediately made Eminem a household name and a staple of the 2000’s hip hop scene. When 2002 rolled around, Eminem dropped his third studio album titled The Eminem Show. The album came with his critically acclaimed acting debut in the movie 8 Mile. Both the MMLP and TES went on to become diamond certified by the RIAA.
Mathers found a way to bring people with different ethnicities and backgrounds into the predominantly black art form. He would later be dubbed raps Elvis Presley by many news publications and fellow legendary rappers alike. However, Eminem’s story is far from being over. Even past his prime, he continues to break records on streaming platforms. He is currently outselling rappers that are at the pinnacle of their careers. Even in late February of 2022, Eminem is ranked #12 among Spotify’s most monthly streamed artists. What’s most impressive is this accolade comes with not releasing an album since 2020, when he released Music to Be Murdered by.
There is no question that Eminem has made Hip-Hop what it is today, and he will forever go down as one of the most important musical icons of this century.