I imagine we find inspiration in the most peculiar places. Some people find inspiration in nature and how God has created us and everything around us, paying close attention to such intricate details that no other artist could ever capture completely. Inspiration could come in the form of a piece of work done by somebody; be it a painting, sculpture, or a piece of literature: they all give messages in their own ways. For most people however, inspiration is in what they can relate to the most, and connect completely with: Another human being.
I have been in love with music for as long as I can remember. Having a family who indulged it is probably the best present God could have given me. The beauty about music is that it lives in everybody; No matter who or where you are, there is a beat running within you. My personal strategy is to follow that beat and I believe it will lead me through the thick jungle we call ‘Life’. It was no surprise when music led me to a person who completely shook me up from head to toe.
When I think about Eminem, the most incredible rapper I have ever come across, a man who has managed to rise from the ashes of inner conflict and conquered unimaginable demons along the way comes to mind. Some people say that Eminem is not someone who should be a role model to millions of people around the world; He is after all an ex-dug addict, almost went to jail and has some of the most controversial music albums in the industry. So how did he gain the respect of millions around the world, including me? How did he manage to capture and leash the inner demon he had let loose on a rampage all those years ago? And how did the name ‘EMINEM’ move from a simple pack of colored chocolate, to also being the stage name of a legend of the 21st century? Let’s start at the same point as every great story ever told: The beginning.
Marshall Bruce Mathers III, also known as Eminem, was born on the 17th of October 1972, into a family on the verge of poverty. He was raised single-handedly by his mother after his father abandoned them when Eminem was just 18 months old. He actually wrote a song called ‘Cleaning Out My Closet’, outlining the pain he and his mother went through. It’s safe to say that Eminem had an extremely unstable childhood, hopping from city to city with his mother to try to find a more permanent home, a place they could actually find their ground and start a new life, because his mother never worked and they were evicted from every place they stayed. They finally settled in Detroit, Michigan. He became interested in rapping in his early teens and found solace only while rapping freestyle in battles between local amateurs. Freestyle rapping is not an easy thing to do. The sheer speed at which Eminem can formulate word after rhyming word, while keeping in tune with the beat, is astounding. Though he dropped out of school at the age of 17, it was a quick climb to the top. It wasn’t long before he was snapped up by music producers and releasing his first major music album in 1999, ‘The Slim Shady’, which went on to sell more than three million copies, hurling him immediately into superstardom.
To some people fame and money comes naturally. They know what to do with, they know where to invest it and to make sure it doesn’t leak into detrimental or hazardous lifestyles. Others, however, are left in a puddle of elation and fright when their empty bank accounts are suddenly brimming with ridiculously large digits, and the entire world is practically handed to them on a silver platter. Eminem, being of the latter, was riding a treacherous rollercoaster. His relationship with his wife Kim, who he would physically and verbally abuse, was at the breaking point and he was constantly guilty about not being a better father to his daughters, Hailie, Alaina and Whitney. He loves his daughters more than anything on earth and says he can ‘never imagine leaving [their] side’ like his father left his, and was in pain while struggling about the fact that he was always touring and never around. He was on drugs and alcohol and his temper was on the much shorter fuse than ever before.
As the years passed he churned out hit after hit album, each one growing increasingly angry and bitter, speaking about things that were happening in his own life, and his relationships and inner feelings. He lashed out at everybody, but most of all at his wife, Kim, which led to divorce in 2006. The amount of bad language and direct references to particular individuals in the lyrics of his songs were at their peak, and controversies were an everyday occurrence, including his unsuccessful suicide attempt and his grief over the violent death of his best friend. Angry at the world but even more so with himself, Eminem was soon on heavy medication and drugs to try to stifle his rage, depression, and his violence, which led to a major addiction to prescription drugs.
The inner anguish in Eminem made him realize he was breaking down. He said in an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine in 2010, that he had completely let himself sink into depression and physically took to gorging himself with junk food and thus gaining weight till he couldn’t recognize himself anymore; but the real shock came when his fans didn’t recognize him anymore. He said one day, all those years ago, he was out somewhere and he overheard a couple of kids talking, where one of them said, ‘That’s Eminem’ and the other argued by saying, ‘No its not, man- Eminem ain’t fat.’ He said that scared him because it was when he realized he had really gone astray and had been labeled as an angry and frightening person. A following drug overdose which almost killed him was what finally led Eminem to enter rehabilitation in 2008.
Eminem came out quiet and at peace with himself, a very different man from the sadistic rapper he once was. He finally learned to draw the boundary between Marshall and the furious ‘Eminem’, and the second was once again a stage persona. However his post-rehab release in 2009, ‘Relapse’, was again rather controversial because of the songs which parodied political and celebrity figures and was a release of his long pent-up angst about drugs and loss. Though the album was a success, the songs did not a have a destination and once the anger was gone, Eminem did not know where he was heading. He decided to work on an album named ‘Relapse 2’, so as to get an idea on how he would proceed. As the album developed however, he realized its music was far beyond anything he had imagined it to be. He decided to call it ‘Recovery’ because the album was more “emotionally driven” than ‘Relapse’. When the album was released on June 18, 2010, the world was thunderstruck. Filled with strong, confident and optimistic beats, ‘Recovery’ paved its way into people’s hearts, each song pulsing with a whole new fury: HOPE. The first single ‘Not Afraid’, is a heartfelt apology to his fans for all the disappointment he had put them through and a promise of being a better, more responsible and caring father and all around person, ‘no more drama from now on, I promise/To focus solely on handling my responsibilities as a father/ So I solemnly swear to always treat this roof like my daughters/ and raise it’.
The second single on which he collaborated with R&B artist Rihanna, and probably the most famous one, is about domestic abuse and the love-hate relationship between a couple, ‘Just gonna stand there and watch me burn, but that’s alright because I like the way it hurts’. ‘Love the Way You Lie’ swirls with a conflict of emotions and what comes through to you at the end is pure pain, the relatable and very real pain of heartbreak and a troubled relationship. The other songs are all similar in their abilities to awaken emotions within their listeners and mould themselves into something relatable with ordinary people like you and me. I think one of the most amazing thing I’ve heard someone say about Eminem was “Eminem’s different because he doesn’t rap about girls, cars and money; he raps about life.”
So while there is no ‘happy ending’ to a work in progress, Eminem’s story so far seems to be elevating to a new level. Because of its down to earth and powerful music and lyrics, ‘Recovery’ became Eminem’s sixth consecutive number-one album in the US and topped the chart for seven weeks. It received TEN nominations in the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. It also became the best-selling album of 2010, with over 5,700,000 albums sold worldwide as of 29th December.
In 2010, Eminem was ranked as the 7th biggest icon in pop music history by MTV and was named ‘Artist of the Decade’. Till date, Eminem has sold a whopping total over 80,000,000 albums, making him one of the highest selling artists in music history. With his life back in control, Eminem is sober, sincere and ready to work hard for his fans, having turned his back on the road of ruin. He is a better father to Hailie and his adopted daughters Alaina and Whitney, and a better idol to look up to. I’m not saying he’s completely guiltless and has no more faults; it is his faults that appeal to his fans, because they are proof he is human. It is in fact the very reason I chose to write about him. It is the reason he is my HERO. Coming back from the bottom of the stack isn’t easy. It was inspirational how Eminem rebuilt his life. It takes a hell of a lot of pluck for someone in the spotlight to say they are ‘not afraid to take a stand’.
Sometimes you ‘Lose Yourself’. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find the right path again.
Video of ‘Cleaning Out My Closet’—->http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ9_TKayu9s
Video of ‘Love The Way You Lie’ Feat. Rihanna—>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uelHwf8o7_U
Video or ‘Not Afraid’—>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5-yKhDd64s&feature=relmfu
Video of ‘We Made You’ (Relapse)—>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSdKmX2BH7o
‘I Need A Doctor’ by Dr. Dre Feat Eminem and Skylar Grey.. THIS IS INCREDIBLE. THE RETURN OF DR. DRE….—->http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VA770wpLX-Q
Do post you opinions on the Shady…. :)