He has ruled the rap planet for several decades and is considered the most popular white rapper on the planet. The interpreter of the cult “Lose Yourself” celebrates his 50th birthday this Monday, October 17, 1972. Thanks to eleven studio albums in a cynical and violent style, the American has even managed the feat of sharpening his flow to become the singer fastest in the world. The proof by five titles that have become legendary.
First business failure
Marshall Bruce Mathers III was only 24 years old when, in 1996, he released his first album “Infinite” produced by Kon Artis and Proof, founders of the D12 collective. Since the age of 14, Marshall tries with his rap to forget his youth marked by poverty, the abandonment of his father, or the constant harassment of his classmates for the sole fact that he continually swings back and forth.
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With “Infinite”, published by FBT Productions, Eminem thus develops his flow by drawing inspiration from Esham or his mentor AZ, a New York rapper who collaborated with the legend Nas. If he sees this record as a demo, the album allows him “to try to find the sound of [son] rap » : “It allowed me to grow, to progress”, as he testifies in his official biography. Here, on thirteen tracks, the Detroit singer looks back on the birth of his daughter Hailie and the difficulties he encounters raising her, he who does odd jobs, from cook to cleaner.
If his comic-violent pen, which will make his success in a few years, is not yet so sharp, he shouts everything that weighs on his heart, in particular on the title “Jealousy Woes II”, carried by the samples “The World Is Yours” by Nas or “Butter” by A Tribe Called Quest, in which he screams his despair of a lost love. The album was a commercial failure. Eminem falls into drugs, alcohol and even tries to end it. But 26 years later, he has become one of the foundations of American rap.
Slim Shady, start of fame
Under a sadistic and aggressive avatar, Marshall became Slim Shady and released a first EP in 1997. Followed two years later by an album of the same name, “The Slim Shady LP”, produced by Dr Dre, founder of the Aftermath Entertainment label. His words are obscene, sometimes defamatory, but his flow captivates.
During its first week of operation, the disc sold 283,000 copies across the Atlantic and ranked second on the Billboard 200. Driven in particular by the first single “My Name Is” and its flow to cut with a knife . Faced with this success, Eminem won his first Grammy Award, in the category of best rap album. A reward that takes him from shadow to light; from depressed underground rapper to beloved international superstar.
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Pop rock flow with Dido
In April 2000, Dido is on tour in New York. For two years, his single “Thank You” has been playing on FM bands around the world. At the end of a concert, his team gives him an anonymous letter accompanied by a CD. Eminem, has just recorded a new title, “Stan”, by sampling the tube of the London singer. It is written : “We liked your album and covered the song “Thank You”. Listen and tell us what you think. »
Third single from the studio chapter “The Marshall Mathers LP”, released in May 2000, “Stan” launches the rapper into the coveted world of pop rock music. He tells the dark fiction of an Eminem fan who kills his pregnant companion and commits suicide, having had no answers to the letters sent to his idol.
With a dark, posed and powerful flow, Eminem confirms his talent on this collaboration. This music becomes so popular that the Oxford English Dictionary, integrates the word “stan” in its pages in 2017 to designate “an overly zealous or obsessed fan of a particular celebrity”.
“Lose Yourself”, Obama’s signature song
In an attempt to find energy and inspiration during his 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama listens to rap. Two titles in particular resonate in his ears, before going on the stage of his meetings: “My 1st Song” by Jay-Z and “Lose Yourself” by Eminem. As if to tempt, like the words, “to defy the odds and take risks”, according to the former American president in his Memoirs published in November 2020, “A Promised Land”.
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Released in 2002, “Lose Yourself” is a song present on the soundtrack of the film “8 Mile”, an autobiographical work in which Eminem plays his own role. A title written in one go, during a free time from filming, and which will become one of the biggest hits of the freestyler from Detroit.
Moreover, for this unique flow, Eminem notably won the Oscar for best original song. Not having made it to the ceremony to collect his prize, it will be necessary to wait for the Oscars 2020 to hear him sing his title, triggering a standing ovation in the Union Station in Los Angeles during this surreal performance.
Eternity with Dr.
Over his eleven studio chapters, Eminem has always been able to evolve his flow. Until becoming, again, on “Music to Be Murdered By”, a record inspired by Alfred Hitchcock, the fastest rapper in history. On “Godzilla”, alongside fire Juice WRLD, in 2020, Eminem manages to chain on his third verse no less than 224 words in 31 seconds. That’s 7.23 words per second. Mind-boggling. A title he managed to keep since in 2013, on “Rap God”, he had already swung 157 syllables in 16.3 seconds. Again, a record.
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Instagram – A post shared by Marshall Mathers (@eminem)
The next few years will certainly smile on the native of St. Joseph, Missouri again. After a stellar performance at the 2022 Super Bowl Halftime Show, Eminem is currently in the studio with longtime buddies Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg to deliver a sequel to the 2001 masterpiece. And, who knows, maybe the trio intends to go out ” Detox “, the album promised by Dr. Dre for nearly two decades?
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Eminem, 50 years old and master of flow
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