Eminem was born Marshall Bruce Mathers III on October 17, 1972, in St. Joseph, Missouri. He spent his youth moving around Missouri with his single mom before they settled in Warren, Michigan. Before they divorced, his parents Marshall Sr. And Deborah “Debbie” Rae Nelson were actually in a band called Daddy Warbucks that performed around the mid-west, primarily at Ramada Inns.
After the divorce, Debbie and Marshall shuttled back and forth between Michigan and Missouri, never staying in one place for more than a year, living primarily with family members. As a child, Marshall was a loner who was bullied frequently at school. In his teenage years, they lived in a predominantly black neighborhood of Detroit.
Eminem initially dreamed of being a comic book artist, but that changed after he heard his first rap song, Reckless – Featuring Ice-T, off the soundtrack to the movie “Breakin'”. The album was a gift from his half-brother Ronnie.
At 14 he adopted the rap persona “M&M” (based on his initials). At 17 he dropped out of high school. He worked a series of odd jobs while writing songs and participating in freestyle rap battles around town.
Marshall eventually gained recognition and respect from the local Detroit area hip-hop scene. He joined a group called Bassmint Productions, which was later renamed Soul Intent. He recorded music with Mashin’ Duck Records and FBT Productions, all while holding down a minimum wage job as a cook and dishwasher. Through a record company called Web Entertainment, Eminem released his debut album “Infinite” in 1996.
At some point around this time, he adopted the edgier, violent persona “Slim Shady”. As alter-ego Slim Shady, he rapped about drugs, sex, violence, rape, and murder. In the spring of 1997, he records “the Slim Shady EP” which was released that winter by Web Entertainment.
Meeting Dr. Dre
In March 1998, Eminem was featured in The Source magazine’s unsigned hype column. Not long after, he was evicted from his home and decided to travel to Los Angeles to compete in the Rap Olympics. He placed second, but more importantly, an Interscope Records staff member who loved what he heard and passed The Slim Shady EP on to company CEO Jimmy Iovine.
Jimmy Iovine played the album for Dr. Dre who had recently launched his own imprint Aftermath Records and was looking for new talent to sign. Dre would later describe his initial reaction to Eminem’s demo in the following way:
“I was like: what the fuck!?, and who the fuck is that? In my entire career in the music industry, I have never found anything from a demo tape or a CD. When Jimmy played this, I said, ‘Find him. Now.'”
Eminem was found and quickly signed a contract with Aftermath Entertainment to re-record and polish The Slim Shady EP with Dre as Executive Producer.
The album was an instant commercial and critical success. It was eventually certified 4X Platinum in the US alone and earned Eminem a Grammy for the best rap album.
His next albums were absolute monsters. In May 2000 he released The Marshall Mathers LP. It was the fastest-selling hip-hop album in history and eventually sold more than 21 million copies. His next effort, 2002’s The Eminem Show, sold more than 27 million albums.
As of this writing, Eminem has sold more than 170 million albums worldwide. That’s enough to make him the ninth best-selling musical artist of all time behind Pink Floyd, Rihanna, Led Zepellin, Madonna, Elton John, Michal Jackson, Elvis, and The Beatles.
Shady Records/50 Cent
In 1999, Eminem founded his own imprint under Aftermath Records that he called Shady Records. The first act to sign with the company was D12, a group of rappers Eminem knew from Detroit.
In 2002, while he was filming the movie “8 Mile” Eminem was introduced to an underground New York rapper named 50 Cent. Eminem had already heard several of 50’s mixtapes and was eager to sign him to the label. 50 Cent soon became the first solo artist signed to Shady Records. In that same year, Shady Records released the soundtrack to 8 Mile which would go on to sell more than 11 million copies worldwide.
50 Cent’s debut album, which was released in February 2003, would go on to sell 14 million albums worldwide. During his career to date, 50 Cent has sold 30 million albums.
|Eminem Earnings By Year:|
As you can see, the above table does not include the peak record-selling years of Eminem’s career, 2000 to 2003, as data was not reported back then. He sold more than 50 million records during those years and performed 88 solo concerts as part of the Anger Management Tour.
During those years Eminem earned at least $100 million personally from record sales, touring, and merchandise. That brings his total career earnings as of this writing to $380 million, conservatively.