Eminem’s Evolution: The Music, the Controversies and the Comebacks

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“Till I Collapse” 

But as Eminem’s career continued to soar, his personal life continued to crumble. His mother hit him with a $10 million defamation lawsuit. The family members settled it two years later for $25,000. In addition, Eminem married Kim in 1999. They divorced in 2001. 

Their rocky romance is often referenced in his songs. In 1999, he released “Bonnie & Clyde” and rapped about a man killing his wife. He also debuted “Kim” in 2001 and performed lyrics like. “Sit down b-tch. If you move again, I’ll beat the sh-t out of you.”

Eminem’s dark and violent lyrics, along with his alter ego Slim Shady, drew a lot of attention. Being a white rapper in a predominantly black industry also set him apart. Even Dr. Dre admitted people questioned his decision to bring Eminem onto his label Aftermath.

“I got a couple of questions from people around me,” Dre told Rolling Stone in 1999. “You know, ‘He’s got blue eyes, he’s a white kid.’ But I don’t give a f–k if you’re purple: If you can kick it, I’m working with you.”

As the years went on, Eminem continued to produce new music and venture into new areas. In 2002, he released The Eminem Show, which contained songs like “Superman”, “Hailie’s Song” and “Without.” That same year he starred in 8 Mile—a film inspired by his life. His song for the film, “Lose Yourself” secured him an Oscar for Best Original Song.

Momentum continued with his 2004 album Encore and his 2005 album Curtain Call: The Hits. However, it was around this time he started to get addicted to prescription drugs.

“I was taking so many pills that I wasn’t even taking them to get high anymore,” he told Rolling Stone in 2011. “I was taking them to feel normal. Not that I didn’t get high. I just had to take a ridiculous amount. I want to say in a day I could consume anywhere from 40 to 60 Valium. And Vicodin… maybe 20, 30? I don’t know. I was taking a lot of sh-t.” 

In 2006, he also re-married and re-divorced Kim. Then, in December 2007, he overdosed and fell in the bathroom of his home.

“If I had gotten to the hospital two hours later, that would have been it,” he told Anderson Cooper during a 2011 interview with CBS News’ 60 Minutes. “Because my organs, everything, my kidneys, everything, were failing. Everything was shutting down.” 

Eminem went to rehab and eventually became sober. 

“Getting clean made me grow up,” he told Elton John in an interview for Interview Magazine. “I feel like all the years that I was using, I wasn’t growing as a person.”

It wasn’t until 2009 that Eminem returned to the limelight with his album Relapse. He then followed with Recovery in 2010. It would be another seven years before he released his latest album Revival.

However, the center of the spotlight isn’t always where he wants to be.

“It might sound weird, given that I’m always trying to get people’s attention with my music, but I’m not an attention-seeker,” he told Rolling Stone in 2011. “When I’m not Eminem, and I’m just Marshall–it’s hard.”

 



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