There is a theory they always believed to be true for the US state of Missouri. It was widely believed that the world renowned State in the United States of America had produced luminaries from all walks of life, notably Literature, Poetry and even Human Rights, but there wasn’t anyone from the field of music that would scale up the ever popular central east located land. Literary icons of the like of Mark Twain, the greatest America has ever produced alongside Henry David Thoreau and eminent wordsmiths such as the Beat Generation literary icon William S. Burroughs have long found their name sitting atop the rooftop of greats hailing from Missouri. Even Tennessee Williams was born here. So what happened to the world of art and music?
Akin to the world of evangelism where your faith and karma are transformed with a healing power that gravitates you to the plusses life has to offer, Missouri got is first ever evangelical icon who glorified the rocky terrain of the state that hitherto had no musical prodigy till 1973. Karma is a bitch they say and the 42 year old blonde haired icon couldn’t care a damn. For this joie- de-vivre talent has stimulated the numbest nerve in the human body to stoke energy enough to make the body gyrate to the sound of his pulsating music in a manner that none have seen before and none have matched to this day. Marshal Mathers, double M, popularly known, berated, mocked, loved and deeply adored as Eminem has risen to musical providence and scintillating success in a style of his own, on that broke stereotypes but not stereo’s or music players whilst sky rocketing his way to worldwide musical fame and not just here in the United States of America.
Come October 17th and this rap icon from the United States of America would turn 42, adding another year to his feathered life’s trajectory, a path walking on which has made the lesser understood musical genius mature and sordid at the same time to- life’s challenges, the least of them being professional and most being personal. But, must he remember that apart from the ever changing vagaries of life that often sift and scuttle, drift and navigate through the rocky lows and the eccentric highs, Eminem must stick to the one constant factor in his life that has given him the much needed stability he’s always craved for and it’s no longer a secret- deserved.
We look at the man behind the enigma, the cult, the rapper’ do it all- shove your guts and spill the spit on them faces’ figure to tread deeper into the triumphs, tragedies and the kick of being one of music’s great adjectives.
The King of Rap
We have had some sterling all round musical talents that cringe our heart and give us something exemplary unexpected on a less than ordinary day. There’s the Beatles who have made us Jive and even more so long after the group disbanded since Lennon’s demise. Then we have the King of Soul, James Brown himself. His music more often than not makes us “Feel good”. Elvis, the undisputed King of Rock and Roll still looms large in the minds of those fans and music worshippers who crave for Rock n Rolla to fill their music hungry pangs. Then there’s the king of them all, Michael Joseph Jackson who even in his death continues to moonwalk in the fancy imagination of fans who can’t see their idol rest in peace.
But away from the soft undertones and mushy lyrical world of these outstanding talents, lies Marshal Mather’s god gifted talent. Some call him eccentric but they have themselves and their mediocre minds to blame. Those who call him rebel fail to warrant a musical icon’s quest for self perfection that lies away from the conforming norms to the ways of the society. But those who hit the button sublime in the ecstatic high that Eminem’s down to the gut honest rap music gives them, surely know a thing or two about this ill-perceived legend.
It isn’t always that an American rap artist gets to break away from the usual satirical, society hating, popular culture mocking mould. Eminem since his prolific rise in the 2000s, ever since he rose above the good old glorious days of doing little gigs in Detriot, Michigan’s hotels and bars has made the most of his gargantuan talent. For someone who started rapping at the age of 14 with good friend Mike Ruby and broke into lunch break’s at school to thrive at lunchtime rap battles at the popular Osborn High School, monumental success has been only a daft narrative of his otherwise tragic and lonely life.
A committed man with exemplary character
42 year old Eminem is today more than just a successful and powerful name in the global music industry. A loving father to 3 children and a devout husband who has loved and lost the love of his life, Kimberly Anne Scott through both a loving marriage and a painful divorce on not one but two separate occasions, has shied away from cozying up to the theme of love in his astutely commanding narratives on life, its problems, bouncing back and shaking up that “arse” while finding his way to globe-trotting musical triumphs.
Eminem was merely 15 when he bounced on top of his classroom’s table in High School and broke into a completely random gig in front of all classroom kids who were awestruck with his brilliant impersonation of LL Cool J’s ” I am Bad”. Turns out, he was only proposing to his then childhood sweetheart and later, love of his life- Kim Anne Scott. From moving in with her when he was just 16 in 1989 to fathering his first child, daughter Hailie when he was just 22, this “rapster” has used his personal pain profusely toward combating poverty, drug abuse, bitter stints with love and depression and emerged strong if not unscathed.
A committed family man who often cringes and cries over the streak of many unsuccessful personal relationships, Eminem has adopted two daughters, including one from his ex Kimberly’s marriage to another soul. Almost 2 decades since he first became a dad, Eminem continues to be the best friend to all 3 women who are largely responsible for giving him the love that he so needed during his struggle with economic disparity and drug abuse and the many painful hurts his own mother and former wife inflicted upon him.
A friend to friends and an arch enemy who doesn’t care a rat’s pudding for his naysayers, Eminem mastered some amazing beats with D12, an all Black band of rappers and hipsters where this blonde crew cut lean shaped man was the star of the stable. His iconic I’ll be damned and My Band truly stand out as the biggest hits with his collaboration with the group since 2002. Chances are if you “Shit on You” on “Purple Hills”, even the most sadistic lunatics in an America thriving with organized crime will hit the floor with you.
A frequent collaborator
A stupendously successful solo artist, Eminem powers his creativity to boost that of others with notable associations with renowned stars from the world of rock, hip hop and R&B. The man who commands a rather eccentric alter-ego, ‘slim shady’ the simple two letter moniker that Eminem created at the height of his fame in 2000s has helped him walk a long mile which measures more than 8 Mile in the distance covered from obscurity to fame.
The Academy Award winning singer who struck popular chord with global fans of rap and not just here in America started a lasting collaboration and one that would augur well for his want to constantly innovate and break the clutter that often threatens the monotonous life of a rap artist. After his “Loose Yourself” days, Eminem realized he could contribute more to bolster the success of other aspiring and shining young talents in a bit to lend them a priceless association of his highly recognized and pumped voice. His collaborations with Shady Record rappers such as Dr. Dre, 50 cent, Obie Trice, Yelawolf has struck a chord even with the ladies such as Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Missy Elliot.
An outstandingly successful artist
He has come a long way since the prominence of 2000s where he was rated by Rolling Stone’s as on 83 on their list of top 100 artists of all time. With his engaging verbal ‘lyricals’ that command respect and awe instead of cajoling fans to earn some, Eminem commands respect from not just fans but contemporaries such as 50 cent himself, Lil Wayne, DMX and Kid Rock, just to quote a few.
His talent needs no introduction and it isn’t a surprise that he has honed his rapping technique by following and studiously examining that of prominent successes such as DMX, LL Cool J, to evolve his own. After spending nearly three exemplary decades in the immensely competitive music industry, Eminem has sold 175 million albums and even established the Marshal Mathers Foundation, that helps the underprivileged and poor youth in Detroit to find their meaning.
From capturing a humungous slice of public imagination with the 1999 release of his The Slim Shady LP to making fun of none other than Michael Jackson in 2004’s Just loose it where he did more than mock MJ in what he called a funny harmless rendition of 1982’s sky rocketing hit Beat It, Eminem has moved fans, made girls’ heart swell for his style and exuberance, commanded hate headlines that bay for his blood and even all this infinite highs and lows emerged stronger and better in his desire to resurrect an already recognized career.
Truth still is that despite releasing a personal best album dedicated to all his record breaking rap hits, it isn’t “Curtain’s Call” for Eminem. Not yet.