Eminem is undoubtedly one of the household names in hip-hop. His rapid flow, hypnotizing storytelling techniques, and ability to deliver double to quadruple entendre make him one of the top tier lyricists of all time. He has a massive impact on the culture by being the first solo white rapper to break in an industry.
Twenty years have passed since the Detroit native's troublesome major label debut album, Slim Shady LP dropped. What has changed since then? Let's take a look and capture the high and the low of Eminem's 20 year-career from 1999 to 2019, in pictures.
21 1999: A staggering success with Slim Shady LP
1999 was the year that catapulted Eminem's career. It was Jimmy Iovine, CEO of Interscope and Dr. Dre, the founder of Aftermath who listened to Eminem's demo tape, gave Eminem his one shot, and the rest is history. The LP sold 283,000 copies within the first week. Later, he established Shady Records with his manager, Paul Rosenberg.
20 2000: Marshall Mathers LP, a twisted morbid fantasy
Then, came the Marshall Mathers LP album. The MMLP shattered the previous record with over 1.7 billion sales worldwide in the first week. It's consistently noted as one of the best hip-hop albums of all time and inspired other musicians like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Ed Sheeran. Classics like Stan, The Way I Am, and The Real Slim Shady also came from this masterpiece.
19 2001: Divorce with Kimberly Scott & iconic Grammy performance with Elton John
Sadly, his skyrocketing success in the rap game doesn't go with him to his personal life. He divorced his long-time high school sweetheart Kimberly Anne Scott, after two years of marriage. The pair had a daughter named Hailie who was born on 1995's Christmas.
He also shocked the critics accusing him of homophobia by performing Stan with Sir Elton John, a gay icon on the Grammy stage.
18 2002: The Eminem Show & 8 Mile biopic movie
In contrary, The Eminem Show captured more personal subjects like his political stand (Square Dance), love for his daughter (Hailie's Song), and his unhealed childhood scars (Cleanin' Out My Closet). It became his third album to win Grammy's Best Rap Album.
He also starred on 8 Mile, a movie about B-Rabbit, a working-class Detroit citizen who struggles to break into battle rap scenes.
17 2003: Oscar for Lose Yourself, and 50 Cent's debut
Eminem became the first rapper to win an Oscar. He won the Best Original Song for 'Lose Yourself', an 8 Mile official soundtrack.
Later on that year, his hot-and-coming protege of Shady Records, 50 Cent, released his debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin' and changed the mixtape game forever. Eminem laid his vocals and contributed to the album as a producer & guest appearance.
16 2004: Encore, a satirical album and more anti-war critics
Encore's critical reception was pretty disastrous. Even though the album generated a couple of hits like Like Toy Soldiers, Just Lose It, and Mockingbird, the rest of the album was entirely forgettable.
"Not what I would consider one of my better albums", Eminem expressed his thought in an interview with Sway Calloway in 2018.
15 2005: Curtain Call: The Hits. A sabbatical or the end?
Curtain Call is a compilation of Eminem's greatest hits from 1999 to 2005, with an addition of 4 tracks: Fack, When I'm Gone, Shake That, and Stan remix featuring Elton John during their 2001 Grammy performance.
Not long after the release, he appeared on Mojo in the Morning claiming that he is taking a break as an artist.
Is this a sabbatical or the end?
14 2006: Re-married Kim & the death of Proof
DeShaun Dupree Holton, known as Proof, was a long-time best friend of Eminem since they were 14. He passed away in 2006. The loss of a best friend eventually led Eminem to a deep hole of depression.
That year, he also re-married Kim but re-divorced her just three months after.
13 2007: Overdosed on methadone
As depression took over, Eminem consumed more pills and napped during the daytime. At some point, he weighed over 230 pounds due to massive eating.
One night in December 2007, he overdosed on methadone and collapsed in his bathroom.
"I want to say in a day I could consume anywhere from 40 to 60 Valium. And Vicodin… maybe 20, 30?", Eminem described his drug addiction in 2010 interview with Rolling Stone.
12 2008: Recording of Relapse, & a journey back from hell
Eminem sobered up, and he started re-learning basic motor skills, writing, and ultimately, rapping. He started recording for Relapse to re-establish his dominance in the hip-hop world.
"Me and Dre are back in the lab like the old days, man", as he told Billboard in December 2008.
He later described his struggle of depression and addiction in a 2010 track, Going Through Changes.
11 2009: Relapse & Relapse: Refill. Accents to the ground?
Relapse received mixed reaction from the critics and the fans. It is mostly praised for his apt portrayal of a darker, gloomier version of the Slim Shady alter-ego, but also faced brutal criticism for his experiments in accents.
Songs like 3 AM, Beautiful, We Made You, and Crack the Bottle was pointed as the album's lead single. He also released Relapse: Refill with seven bonus tracks.
10 2010: Career recovery with Recovery
After a substantial critique on Relapse, he scrapped the idea of Relapse 2 and wrote a completely different album: Recovery. He downplayed the Slim Shady alter-ego, and solely focused on emotion-driven topics.
"Hailie, this one is for you, Whitney and Alaina too / I still love your mother, that'll never change / Think about her every day, we just could never get it together", he rapped on Going Through Changes.
9 2011: Bad Meets Evil first EP, Hell: The Sequel came out
Eminem teamed up with an old friend and a fellow Detroit emcee, Royce da 5'9', to form a hip-hop duo: Bad Meets Evil. The two released a 37 minutes long EP titled Hell: The Sequel and went on FB live to promote the album.
Bruno Mars was the only principal act to appear on the EP, but it successfully nailed mostly positive reviews from critics. The pair went berserk, consistently completing each other in rhymes.
8 2012: I Need A Doctor
The most iconic mentor-protege in hip-hop is back in the lab for one more time. I Need A Doctor describes a close relationship between Eminem and Dr. Dre, how Dre influenced him, and how they always have each other's back. Skylar Grey provided the hook for the song.
"You saved my life, now maybe it's my turn to save yours", Eminem rapped the second verse.
7 2013: Rap God, and Mathers LP 2
Eminem was back in blonde for one more time in 2013 to promote his upcoming album, The Marshall Mathers LP2. Though it didn't sell better than its successor, it was a commercial success.
One of the best records of the album is Rap God, a six minutes-fast-paced braggadocious song that holds the Guinness World Record as the hit with the most words: 1,560 words.
6 2014: The Interview cameo & Shady XV
Eminem has always been a funny person, and he made it evident by appearing in the 2014 parody movie: The Interview, where he satirically parodies himself being a gay.
To commemorate 15 years of Shady Record's reign in the hip-hop industry, Eminem dropped a compilation album, Shady XV. It featured current label's members at that time: Yelawolf, Slaughterhouse, BME, & D12 as well as former members.
5 2015: Southpaw
Eminem was supposed to star in a 2015 drama boxing movie, Southpaw. But due to focusing on his music, he dropped the role and produced music for the motion picture instead. Jake Gyllenhall later replaced Eminem and joined by Rachel McAdams, 50 Cent, Forest Whitaker, and Oona Laurence.
For the music, Eminem dropped Phenomenal & Kings Never Die featuring Gwen Stefani.
4 2016: Kill for You & Campaign Speech
Eminem appeared as a guest in 2016's Skylar Grey song, Kill for You. It's a ballad Bonnie-and-Clyde-alike story about lovers who are toxically in love with each other to the point where they'd murder someone for them.
Also that year, Eminem dropped Campaign Speech, an eight minutes political hip-hop just 19 days before the presidential election. Though, this wasn't the first time he got political.
3 2017: BET Freestyle & Revival
He didn't stop at Campaign Speech. In 2017, during the BET Awards Cypher, he dropped a four-minute, nerve-wracking freestyle where he criticized Trump's policies. Later on that year, he released his long-awaited ninth album, Revival. Even though it features A-list pop stars like Ed Sheeran, Beyonce, and Alicia Keys, the album didn't live much to the expectation.
2 2018: Kamikaze
Eminem's gonna Eminem. He is always at his best when he's being doubted. The poor reception from fans & critics over Revival led him to surprise-drop Kamikaze.
Unlike his previous poppy album, this only featured Royce, rapper Joyner Lucas, and singer Jessie Reyez. It contains aggressive verbal attacks against his rap rivals; Joe Budden, MGK, Charlamagne Tha God, Lil Pump, etc.
1 2019: Homicide, Bang, and more album to come?
Eminem's been touring in 2019. Not only that, but he's also featured in Logic & Conway The Machine's albums.
Numerous sources have stated that Eminem's back in the studio lately. He tweeted on August 28th, "People think they want this problem 'til they get it". Many fans believed it was directed towards Lord Jamar.
The bitter, angry, hotheaded blonde Slim Shady might be dead in the ashes, but Marshall is now 47, sober, happy, and it's all that Mathers.
Source: Rolling Stone, Rap Basement, Apple Music.