Happy Birthday, Eminem!

Today (October 17) is celebrated rapper Marshall “Eminem” Mathers’ birthday and the Detroit bad boy of Hip Hop will be reaching a huge milestone of his last year in his 30s by turning 39.

The list of accomplishments that Slim Shady has achieved over the course of his nearly twenty year career are staggering to say the least. Already one of the most successful recording artists of any genre, Em continues to move units in a time where sales are lacking and his name still has arena filling drawing power. Armed with a label that boasts a powerhouse roster and alliances with some of the biggest names in Rap music, Eminem’s storied career show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Before Eminem was the megastar he is today, he was born in Missouri before he and his mother settled down in Warren, Michigan right outside of Detroit. Moving into Detroit in his teenage years, Eminem began to hone his craft and aligned himself with brothers Jeff and Mark Bass who signed the rapper in the early 90s to their FBT Productions outfit. Em also made his mark in the gritty world of rap battles, earning his stripes in various competitions in and around Detroit before going second in 1997 Rap Olympics battle which caught the ear of Interscope exec Jimmy Iovine.

Iovine’s inquiry and acquisition of a tape made its way to Aftermath boss Dr. Dre, who then started working with Em on his major label debut The Slim Shady LP released in 1999. Drawing ire from critics who thought his lyrics were too obscene, Eminem seemed to almost revel in the attention his sometimes brash rhymes received. He went on to release five albums since Aftermath/Interscope debut with The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show – his third and fourth albums respectively – both selling Diamond (10 Million copies sold).

Eminem has had low points in his career as well with a much publicized bout with prescription drug addiction and alcoholism. The loss of his best friend and D12 rapper Proof to gun violence also had a huge effect on the rapper. His strained relationships with his mother, often fodder for his more personal songs, and his custody battles involving his now teenaged daughter between he and ex-wife Kimberly Scott also fueled his art and rage.

Eminem’s semi-autobiographical film 8 Mile was thought by many to be a loose account of the rapper’s life although Em has denied that the film is a depiction of his life. Along with longtime manager Paul Rosenberg, Em has helmed his own imprint Shady Records since 1999. The label was instrumental in signing 50 Cent and other artists such as D12 and Obie Trice among others. Today, the roster still boasts Fif as part of the label along with rap quartet Slaughterhouse and popular soloist Yelawolf alongside Em and old friend Royce Da 5’9’s side project Bad Meets Evil and the aforementioned D12.

Although the now sober Eminem may not do much partying these days, he still has reason to celebrate as his seventh studio album Recovery continues to sell well currently despite a summer 2010 release.

Happy Birthday to Eminem!

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