Marshall Bruce Mathers III, AKA Eminem, AKA Slim Shady (October 17, 1972) is a popular rapper from Detroit, Michigan.Mathers had a troubled childhood, raised on welfare in abject poverty by his mother who emotionally and physically abused him. His father walked out on the family when he was a baby. The family switched homes every two months before they settled down. He was bullied to ridiculous extents for beingwhite in an all-black ghetto; once he was even put in a coma and had to re-learn all his basic functions when he woke up. He was often kicked out of his own house for nights, he had failed ninth grade three times, and he could never get a decent paying job, the homes he stayed in were often robbed, and had apparently tried to commit suicide a few times.During this period, Eminem discovered a love of rap and would practice it as often as he could. His early raps were heavily influenced by the popular gangsta rap of the day, and being white, he was often mocked for even trying, not to mention physically assaulted and shot at.His first studio album was released in 1996. The album, called Infinite, was not a success; underground rappers and critics alike felt it was a bad imitation of the likes of Nas or Jay-Z.Angry, poor, in a rocky relationship with his wife and with a new baby daughter to feed, Eminem made another EP a few years later—The Slim Shady EP.This album was remarkably different from his previous style and a new thing to rap in general. The album focused on the Alter Ego of Eminem, 'Slim Shady'. The lyrics were dark and gruesome, but took a twistedly funny approach to subjects such as rape, murder, the occult, drugs, and suicide. The album gained Eminem significant attention in the world of underground hip-hop, and eventually got him signed to Dr. Dre's record label.Still angry and depressed, Eminem's first true studio album came out in the winter of 1999. The Slim Shady LP was even darker and more demented than his EP, and became a world wide hit. Admit it, even your mom knows the chorus to "My Name Is".The album also caused riots with parents and Media Watchdogs alike. The homophobic and brutal lyrics started a wave of moral panic, which Eminem pretty much used as an excuse to continue writing such songs.Marshall's second mainstream album was called The Marshall Mathers LP, and showed the world a more vulnerable and depressed artist trying to deal with his new found super stardom. The album pretty much took everything "offensive" about The Slim Shady LP and turned it Up to Eleven, with Eminem revealing more disturbing details of his childhood, spinning darker fantasies of domestic violence, and responding more virulently to his critics. Considered his magnum opus, the record was another massive hit (it is currently both the fastest-selling and highest-selling rap album of all time) and somehow managed to attract even more controversy than its predecessor.Eminem's third studio album, The Eminem Show, was less inflammatory and ill than his previous albums. This one was more of an introspective tour of the world of fame and isolation the rapper had built himself. Many of the tracks showed a maturing Mathers, with sadder and more sincere lyrics.The more laid-back style didn't stop it from becoming another hit for the young artist, and like his previous albums, it made it on Rolling Stone's Greatest Albums Of All Time list.Around the time of recording The Eminem Show, Eminem also appeared in the semi-autobiographical movie 8 Mile and produced its soundtrack. While he hasn't done much acting since, he won an Academy Award for the song "Lose Yourself". (He didn't go to the ceremony, preferring to sleep instead.)During the fall of 2004, Eminem released his fourth studio album, named Encore. Critics sung their usual praise, but many fans felt the album was a disappointment; Eminem's famous tongue-twister lyrics were dumbed down to much simpler mumbles, the beats felt less creative and worked on, and much of the songs seemed an excuse to fit in as many fart jokes as humanly possible. (Eminem went on to say years later that he made the album during an addiction to prescription drugs that nearly took his life, which explains some things.) Another commercial hit for Marshall, but many fans shove it right into Seasonal Rot territory.After Encore he took a break from music (aside from Curtain Call: The Hits, which had a couple of new songs on it, and The Re-Up, a mixtape-style album that attempted to showcase the artists on Shady Records) to deal with his own personal drug problems and the shooting death of his best friend Proof.In the Summer of 2009, Relapse was released, sending Eminem back into Slim Shady territory, detailing his descent into drug addiction during his hiatus. While the album received generally mixed reviews and was seen as an improvement over Encore, some felt that the accents, celebrity bashes and outright morbid weirdness of some of the tracks were a little much (interesting, Eminem seems to agree with the detractors, calling the album "Ehh" during "Not Afraid"). However, it was yet another financial smash, securing Eminem as the best-selling rapper of all time. A special edition of the album, titled Relapse: Refill, was released in December of the same year and included seven new songs. Recently, though, praise for this album has increased, with many fans believing it to be an excellent record.His next album was set to be a direct sequel to Relapse, but as he tinkered with it, the whole Relapse 2 idea was dropped in favor of a completely new album titled Recovery, which promised to be a return to the more sincere and somber tone of The Marshall Mathers LP and focus less on Slim Shady's antics. The first single from the album, "Not Afraid", was released on April 29th, 2010, and the album was released on June 22nd of the same year. While some listeners felt that it was just more of the same, reception was for the most part positive, with many hailing it as a improvement over both Encore and Relapse. And like all of his albums, it was greeted with very strong sales.A sequel to The Marshall Mathers LP, entitled The Marshall Mathers LP 2, was released on November 5, 2013. It had some of the highest album sales of the year, and is generally considered to be his best album since The Eminem Show.
"Won't the real Slim Shady's Tropes please stand up?":
Absurdly Youthful Father: A really rare Real Life example; while he is definitely old enough to be the father of his daughter, he doesn't look any older than 24-25 despite being 41. His daughter is now 18 years old and looks like it. Even with his very minor signs of aging, it's still hard to believe he's really old enough to have had a child almost 2 decades ago at a reasonable age. Don't believe it? This is his most recent music video. Yes, he's really old enough to have a daughter who's legally an adult.
Shady's come to fill you up, if you a D or a C-cup You can even be a B, it's just me and D-R-E You'll be in the ER, we are strapped with so much TNT we may blow No, not even CPR from the EMT can help you resuscitate
All Just a Dream: When I'm Gone, namely the part where Eminem loses his family for good.
All of the Other Reindeer: How he was treated (booed offstage before even getting a chance to rap, shot at, robbed, physically assaulted) for being white. He still gets it even to this day, with so many people refusing to acknowledge his talent because they feel he "stole black music". As he points out in "Without Me", so did Elvis Presley.
Alone with the Psycho: Several of his songs, examples include: "Same Song and Dance", "3 A.M.", "Stan", "Kim" and "Bad Guy". Notably, except for "Stan" and "Bad Guy", Eminem is usually the psycho.
Anti-Love Song: Nearly all songs centered on his ex-wife Kim. The largest counter-example would be "Searchin" featured in the album Infinite. But heck, even in "Kim" he says he loves her. Right as he's driving her out to the woods to slit her throat. It's an angry love.
And while not a song specifically about her in "Going Through Changes" he wrote 'Hailie this one is for you, Whitney and Alaina too. I still love your mother that'll never change'.
He tries to take her perspective on their relationship in "Stronger Than I Was".
Arch-Enemy: He's amassed quite a diverse list, everyone from Moral Guardians to the Insane Clown Posse to activists against his perceived homophobia. To be specific: Benzino, Ja Rule, Canibus, Nick Cannon, the Insane Clown Posse, Everlast, Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey have all at one point in time had beef with him.
Artistic License - Law: In "Without Me" he raps about being censored on MTV by saying "So the FCC won't let me be/or let me be me..." The FCC has no authority over cable channels, they are self-regulating.
Badass Boast: Common in his work, but particularly this bit from "The Real Slim Shady":
I'm like a head trip to listen to 'Cause I'm only giving you things you joke about with your friends inside your living room The only difference is I got the balls to say it in front of y'all And I don't gotta be false or sugarcoat it at all I just get on the mike and spit it And whether you like to admit it, I just shit it Better than 90% of you rappers out can Then you wonder "How can kids eat up these albums like Valiums?"
Badass Bookworm/Book Dumb: Although Eminem did not do well in school, he did read the dictionary cover to cover multiple times as a youth, granting him an incredible vocabulary.
Zigzagged, really: The first part had good win, as Eddie choose to not rob the liquor store. The second part is more vague on whether Stan raped the girl, or just left her at home after drugging her. Part three plays this straight, however, with Grady choosing to shoot both his wife and the man she's cheating with at the urging of both angels.
Berserk Button: You don't even have to insult Hailie to set Eminem off, mentioning her is enough for him, which is sweet in it's own scary way. The same very likely applies to his adopted daughters and little brother as well.
Ja Rule doesn't seem to have recovered since Eminem took this to heart and tore him to pieces in Doe Rae Me, before threatening to kill him if he ever mentioned Hailie's name again. Hard to blame Em considering that this is what Ja said:
Black Comedy: "Ass Like That", in which Eminem talks about jerking off to the Olsen Twins and constantly getting arrested. Appropriately lampshaded by Dr. Dre with a "the fuck is wrong with you?" at the end. The song was intended as a parody of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (who he was once harassed by), whose accent Em imitates throughout the song.
Blond Guys Are Evil: His Slim Shady alter ego qualified as this... that is, until he dyed his hair brown again.
As of 2013 (in anticipation for The Marshall Mathers LP 2, he is blond yet again.
Blood Bath: Is seen taking one of these in his Music Video for "3 A.M.", plus it provides the page image.
Book Ends: The music video for "Cleanin' Out My Closet" begins with an opening door and ends with a closing door.
The "3 a.m." video begins and ends with Em sleeping (apparently) against a tree and waking up.
Bowdlerise: Let's just say plenty of Eminem's songs got censored, as well as the music videos for songs like, for example, "My Name Is" and "Guilty Conscience" (the latter had explicit mentions of rape and murder edited out, even turning the argument between Slim and Dr. Dre in the "Grady" scene into an argument that goes unresolved at the end).
One of the best examples was by Eminem himself, in his Grammy Award performance of "Stan" with Elton John, when he changed "You're like his fucking idol" to "You're like his favorite idol."
One rather infamous example is the censoring of a certain line from "I'm Back" in the Marshal Mathers LP, where Eminem raps; "I Take seven kids from Columbine stand 'em all in line, add an AK-47 a revolver, a nine, a Mac-11 and that oughta solve this problem of mine, and that's a whole school of bullies shot up all at one time". An uncensored version is completely unavailable, "Kids" and "Columbine" are edited out even in the explicit version. However, 13 years later he repeats the line on "Rap God" from the MMLP2, and gets away with it this time.
A similar thing happened with "Marshall Mathers", off the same album. One line in particular was censored because, in the event you are being sued by your mother, insulting their lawyer is not a particularly clever idea.
So which is it, bitch, Mrs. Briggs or Mrs. Mathers?
It doesn't matter, [your attorney, Fred Gibson's a] faggot!
Talking about how I fabricated my past.
He's just aggravated I won't ejaculate in his ass.
Yo, you might see me jogging. You might see me walking. You might see me walking a dead rottweiler dog with it's head chopped off in the park with a spiked collar, hollering at him 'cause the son-of-a-bitch won't stop barking.
And sat him in a fuckin' fruit and vegetable section
And gave him a lecture
Brick Joke: In "Bad Meets Evil", his song with then-friend Royce da 5'9, the end of the chorus goes "See you in Hell for the sequel." Afterwards, they had a lengthy falling out. Once their mutual friend Proof died, they patched up their issues. Cue their joint albumHell: The Sequel releasing on June 13, 2011. Given how long it took Em and Royce to get around to making it, one can say we saw the sequel in developmenthell.
This joke gets even more elaborate when one remembers that in "Cold Wind Blows" from Recovery, which was released just a year before this album, there's a few lines where God tells Slim Shady that He will send him to Hell if he does not change his ways. Apparently, he didn't.
Call-and-Response Song: Several examples among the songs that he's done with Dr. Dre. "Guilty Conscience" has Slim and Dre as the different sides of someone's conscience (bad angel and good angel, if you will), bickering back and forth over what the person should do.
Em's verse on "What's the Difference" is a more direct conversation with Dre.
And of course, "Kim" is a call-and-response between Marshall and his own impersonation of Kim.
A line from "Stan," the chorus to "Rain Man" and the title and theme of "My Mom" all directly reference "My Name Is."
The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is full of them, be they entire tracks, lines from tracks, or even excerpts from the beats to earlier tracks.
"I Need A Doctor" is thematically very similar to "Forgot About Dre", though much more serious in tone; essentially, both songs are composed of Em affirming his close friendship with Dre and Dre calling out his fair-weather friends.
Canon Discontinuity: Or Seasonal Rot, on the subject of Encore and sometimes The Re-Up. "Like Toy Soldiers" seems to be the only song that's still acknowledged from that era.
In one of the songs on Recovery, Eminem says that Encore and Relapse don't count - on Encore he was on drugs, and on Relapse he was flushing them out. As such, on his Recovery tour, the only songs from those albums performed were "Like Toy Soldiers" and "3:00 AM."
Cerebus Syndrome: "Cold Wind Blows" is one of the few appearances of Shady on Recovery, the rest being done in the Eminem/Marshall Mathers persona. It sounds a lot darker and epic, reflecting more inner turmoil than the earlier Shady songs such as "My Name Is" and "Guilty Conscience".
Chaotic Stupid - Slim Shady can definitely qualify, if "Role Model" is anything to go by.
Cluster F-Bomb : As lampshaded by the opening quote (inspired by Will Smith's own criticism on Em' language). In fact, the only songs that don't use the word "fuck" are "Just Lose It", "We Made You", and "'97 Bonnie & Clyde", as well as most of "Infinite".
Continuity Porn: While Eminem is no stranger to self-referential lyrics, The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is absurdly dense with callbacks and references to his previous albums.
The most notable example of this from the album is The Monster music video, which is partly a Clip Show of Eminem's old songs, videos, and even live performances, such as My Name Is, The Way I Am, Lose Yourself, 3 AM, and his performance of Stan with Elton John.
A Date with Rosie Palms: Quite a few of his songs have masturbation references. 3 A.M. in particular has a... memorable moment where Shady jacks off to 'Hannah Montana and ejaculates so much, that his cum knocks over all the candles on his fireplace mantle.
Destructive Romance : His relationship with ex-wife Kim, as he acknowledges on "Stronger Than I Was".
The entire point of "Love the Way You Lie".
Didn't Think This Through/Oh Crap: The title character in "Stan" has both when he realises that he won't be able to send Eminem the tape he's making before he drowns himself and his pregnant girlfriend, precisely because he's about to... well, yeah.
I was a baby, maybe I was just a couple of months My faggot father must'a had his panties up in a bunch 'Coz he split; wonder if he even kissed me goodbye No, I dont; on second thought I just fuckin' wish he would die!
His dad gets a fair few Take Thats thrown his way on The Marshall Mathers 2.
Discontinuity Nod: To Encore on "Talkin' 2 Myself" and Relapse on "Not Afraid", both from Recovery.
Double Standard: He's engaged in slut shaming in his interviews, never mind the fact that he himself constantly moons people on stage, appeared naked in his videos and did a nude photo shoot where he holds a dynamite stick over his male part.
"My Fault": Eminem gets a girl at a party high on mushrooms (he didn't mean for her to eat the whole bag) and she overdoses on them before anyone can save her, with Eminem in tears begging her to wake up - though whether he's crying over her or what might happen to him is up for debate.
"Stan": The obsessed fan of the song's title kills himself and his pregnant girlfriend because Shady didn't answer his letters in time.
"Kim": Ends with Marshall slitting Kim's throat in the woods, then the same sound effects from the beginning of "'97 Bonnie & Clyde" - namely, him dragging her corpse to a car and tossing it in the trunk.
"Bad Guy": As if the ending of "Stan" wasn't bleak enough, this song reveals that Stan's little brother Matthew was driven insane with grief and rage after losing his big brother, and is out to kill Eminem. And he succeeds, killing both Eminem and himself in the exact same way that Stan and his girlfriend died.
"Guilty Conscience", sort of. Dre wins in the first instance, but Slim convinces Stan to borderline rape an underage girl at a party and then, in the third vignette, brings Grady AND Dre around to the side of evil, culminating with Dre telling Grady to kill both his girlfriend and her lover.
Dream Team: Whenever Eminem and Dr. Dre work together.
The two of them and 50 Cent on "Encore" and "Crack a Bottle".
Eminem and Rihanna on "Love the Way You Lie" and "The Monster".
Driven to Suicide: In the song "Stan", the title character parodies this trope by driving a car with his pregnant girlfriend over the bridge while he is drunk and on drugs sending an audio message to Eminem, who he thinks rejected him; and we hear a crash, making it a murder-suicide.
In "Bad Guy", the same thing happens to Stan's brother Matthew, who has kidnapped Eminem for revenge. He was planning on burying Em alive, but as the cops start chasing him, he decides to just drive off a bridge and kill himself and Em, just like Stan killed himself and his girlfriend.
Drugs Are Bad: Started out as a heavy aversion of this, leaned more and more to it as he got off his addictions.
Early-Installment Weirdness: Eminem's first album "Infinite" had more of a low-key feel and sounded more like the other hip-hop artists of the time that inspired him, and even contained less profanity. It wasn't until "The Slim Shady EP" and "The Slim Shady LP" that Eminem established his more "unique" style and his titular psychotic alter-ego, as well as more story elements in his tracks.
Even The Slim Shady LP itself is this to an extent. Throughout most of the songs on the album, he uses a very nasal, youthful-sounding flow that he has hasn't really done since. He has revisited it a couple times, though, such as on the first verse of "Berzerk", most of "Groundhog Day", and a few sections on Relapse.
The reason for the existence of both "The Way I Am" and "The Real Slim Shady". Basically, when making The Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem was being pressured to make another Black Sheep Hit in the mould of "My Name Is"; something which Em didn't think he could do. So he wrote "The Way I Am" to vent his frustrations; and wrote "The Real Slim Shady" to bow down to the record company. Both were released as singles.
I seen this one shit on the news a couple weeks ago that made me sick. Some dude was drunk and drove his car over a bridge, and had his girlfriend in the trunk, and she was pregnant with his kid, and in the car they found a tape, but they didn't say who it was to. Come to think about, his name was... it was you. Damn...
Face on a Milk Carton: The music video to "The Real Slim Shady" shows Eminem's Mentor Dr. Dre on a milk carton (with a very beleaguered expression) just as the lyrics go And Dr. Dre said.../Nothing you idiots! Dr. Dre's dead/He's locked in my basement!
Fanservice: Of all kinds, he himself is a good example.
First Name Basis: On numerous songs, Eminem refers to "Denaun" (Kon Artis, birth name Denaun Porter) and "Von" (Kuniva, birth name Von Carlisle), two fellow members of D-12. He rarely if ever refers to the other members of the group (Rufus "Bizarre" Johnson, DeShaun "Proof" Holton, and Ondre "Swift" Moore) by their given names, and it's rare in hip-hop to hear one artist refer to another by his birth name more than his rap name.
Flanderization: Nearly every song in Relapse had Eminem doing his various phony accents.
Flat "What.": In "Just Lose It", a male chorus's response to telling them to grab their left nuts.
Flipping the Bird: In most of the music videos. Also, in "The Way I Am", Eminem lampshades this:
And it seems like the media immediately Points a finger at me (finger at me) So I point one back at them, but not the index or the pinkie Or the ring or my thumb, it's the one you put up When you don't give a fuck
He Who Must Not Be Seen: In the video for "Cleanin' Out My Closet", Em's parents never show their faces to the camera.
Also in the "Headlights" video, which is through the perspective of Em's mom.
Hidden Depths: A rapper whose songs' material consists of murdering his wife, doing copious amounts of drugs, raping numerous people, and in some cases committing serial murder. And in his personal life he's banned swearing in his house and generally avoids the spotlight whenever possible. He also legally adopted and provides for his niece Alaina, stepdaughter Whitney, and his younger half-brother Nathan.
He runs his own charity for disadvantaged youth. Also, he's a pretty good artist on top of his rap career.
Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Every authority figure in Slim Shady's youth either molested him, assaulted him, fed him drugs, or allowed any of the above to happen.
Even in his younger days he fit this trope. He looked to be in his college years until he was about 30. It wasn't until after the Relapse era that he began to show any signs of aging at all, and even then they're only noticeable in close-up pictures.
Papa Wolf: Very, very protective of his beloved daughter Hailie. And although his Berserk Button has yet to be publicly pressed on the matter, he's very clear about the strong devotion he feels towards his three legally adopted children (niece Alaina, stepdaughter Whitney, and little brother Nathan) as well.
Quite simply, questioning or doubting Eminem's protective tendencies toward any of his children would be very unwise or downright stupid. Which Ja Rule learned the hard way...
The Perfectionist: According to a Snoop Dogg interview regarding artists signed to Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment (quoted on Dre's Wikipedia Page), Dr. Dre is incredibly perfectionistic and demanding, often making recording artists redo their verses over and over until they get it right. According to the same interview, Snoop declares that Em is a perfectionist himself, making his work ethic gel very well with Dre's.
Perpetual Frowner: Even when he wins awards, or is otherwise honored in some way or another, he never loses that permanent tough guy look he always wears.
Also Matthew Mitchell, as a result of the events of "Stan"; as "Bad Guy" proves.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Eminem is the vulgar, psychopathic, Red Oni also known as Evil who raps about smacking women, serial killings, drug use and rape. Royce is the crude, but somewhat smooth (when compared to Em anyways), Blue Oni also known as Bad who raps about gunplay, his rap skills, and taking your girl. It also helps that Em is usually casually dressed while Royce is in Gucci and other nice clothes.
Shout-Out: He is a comic book nerd. In the "Without Me" music video and others, Eminem dresses up in a Robin-esque costume and becomes "Rap-Boy" to save the day, preventing underage kids from listening to his controversial songs alone without parental advisory! There's a lot of shots on Eminem's crotch, by the way. his "Backwards E" logo is used as the Robin symbol, and he uses the recurring depiction to show himself as the sidekick to Dr. Dre's Batman-esque hero. A similar shoutout pops up on the Eminem Show in the track "Business", where Dr. Dre and Eminem play an Adam West-style intro ("To the Rapmobile!").
He does the same schtick with 50 Cent on another album, playing "Robbin" to his "Gatman".
"Love Game" which references Wee-Bay from The Wire, which Eminem has said to be his favorite television show.
Sick and Wrong: Paul Rosenberg (Em's manager)'s track on Relapse has him blasting Em for his Christopher Reeve impression on the track "Medicine Ball" ("You know the guy's dead, right?") and expressing disgust at the content of "Insane" ("And the whole gay stepfather incest rape thing? I don't have your back on this one. I can't even fuckin' handle it. I'm done.").
Especially the video to "Without Me", where he's dressed in Adam West-era Robin-esque outfit. (made even funnier as Dr. Dre is only in black and shades, because he *refused* to get dressed as Batman...)
Something Completely Different: Appears to have been the intention when he sings the majority of "Hailie's Song". However he's sung the chorus (at least) of a fair number of his songs since, most notably "Not Afraid" and "Beautiful".
Singer Namedrop: Though he usually namedrops "Shady\Slim Shady" or "Marshall" instead of Eminem.
Stalker with a Crush: "Stan" is a rare male/male version. Not only is there "My girlfriend's jealous 'cos I talk about you 24/7", but Stan also says that he and Eminem should be together. The video actually shows Stan taking a photo of himself and his girlfriend and covering her up with a picture of Eminem cut out of a magazine.
Through this pen, motherfuckers know I'll never be Marshall again!
Theme Naming: His six major-label albums have been released with paired titles: the two LPs dealing with Slim Shady and Marshall Mathers, The Eminem Show and its Encore (you could also count Curtain Call in here), and the cycle of Relapse and Recovery (which was originally Relapse 2). And now that Em's recovered, he's ready to begin anew, with a second LP dealing with Marshall Mathers.
The Re-Up may also fit in with the latter, as it was released before Relapse.
Wham Line: The end of "25 To Life" reveals that he was talking about hip hop, not Kim.
And roughly halfway through "Bad Guy," when it's revealed that it's not about Marshall Mathers coming to kill Kim for the umpteenth time, but Stan's brother Matthew coming to kill Marshall Mathers. And it's the first track on the album.
Would Hurt a Child: The story told in "'97 Bonnie and Clyde" and its prequel "Kim" has Eminem not only killing Kim and her new husband... but their four-year-old son as well. The line "There's a four-year-old boy laying dead with a slit throat, in your living room!" in "Kim" was censored on the official release.
Yandere: A rare male example in "Kim." Although Eminem repeatedly states his extreme hatred for his ex-wife in the song, it is also pretty clearly implied that he remains obsessed with her and that at least part of his anger is out of jealousy that she left him for another man:
"YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO LOVE ME!!!"
"Love the Way You Lie" may also qualify, this time involving a mutual Yandere relationship.