"I was poor white trash, no glitter, no glamour, but I'm not ashamed of anything."
Those words couldn't ring truer for Marshall Bruce Mathers III
, or Eminem
to his many fans. Growing up in Michigan, Eminem never knew his father, who abandoned the family when Eminem was just an infant. Trying to raise a family on her own, his mother Debbie held odd jobs here and there, leading to an itinerant existence where the family moved from Missouri to Detroit and back again.
Switching schools, sometimes two or three times a year, left Eminem
with no close friends and he was often beaten up, bullied and ostracized. He failed the ninth grade three times and finally dropped out at the age of 17. Though he didn't have a high school diploma to show for it, he did have a gift for language. He began to express his anger through hip-hop and then gangster rap.
His lyrics often talk about his growing up poor white trash, accusing his mother in his songs of child and drug abuse. Breaking into the music business as a white kid performing then predominantly black music looked like an uphill battle, but his self-produced album ended up in Dr. Dre's
hands, who produced his first record, the chart topping Slim Shady. He has since gone on to become a major force in the music business and even tried his hand in the movies, starring in 8 Mile, a biopic about his life.