Episode 504: Eminem: Drugs, Detroit, and Detox

Released Tuesday, 4th August 2020
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On this episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the life, career, addiction, and rap battles of the one and only Eminem. Call him Marshal Mathers or Slim Shady, but he’s one of the biggest selling musical artists of all time and still has the bestselling rap album of all time. He was born poor to a father who ditched him and a mother who he claimed was abusive and strung on out on pills. This critical figure in the hip hop game went from the streets of 8 Mile to the top of the charts in spite of being a white drug addict and underage father. If he can do it, so can you (if, you know, you’re one of the best rappers to ever live…).

Though Detroit is his spiritual home, Marshal Mathers was born in Missouri. He had a rough childhood with an absentee father and a mother who couldn’t land steady work. They traveled a lot trying to stay with family or get a job and ultimately landed in Detroit when he was very young. Marshal hated school, repeated the 9th grade 3 times before dropping out. The one thing he did love was the English language and word play, and he came to life after hearing his first rap songs. In a matter of no time, he was one of the best underground rappers in the brutal Detroit rap battle scene.

This landed him a spot in at the 1997 Rap Olympics in LA. While there, he took second in the nation, and was able to get a copy of his Slim Shady EP into the hands of Jimmy Iovene who promptly gave the tape to Dr. Dre. They signed him immediately. His Slim Shady character appealed to the violent but socially conscious music background of Dr. Dre. They released his first major album in 1999, and the rest is history.

His second album, the Marshal Mathers LP sold 22 million copies and broke records. Eminem started to land Grammy Awards and get the praise he deserved as a rapper and criticism he earned for his violent, sexist, homophobic lyrics.

With success came the dangers of success. While he was working 16 hour days on the set of 8 Mile, he got addicted to prescription medication. Eventually, he almost died for doing enough methadone to equal 4 bags of heroin. He went to rehab, left, fell back to drugs, and went back a second time. With the help of Elton John. It’s a strange world.

Eminem’s album, Revival was a failure both critically and financially, and it got him attacked by a new generation of rappers trying to take him down. However, a few months later, he released Kamikaze, which most people claimed had him win a rap beef against an entire generation of mumble rappers. You might love him, and you have grounds to. You might hate him, and you have grounds to. But you can’t deny the success and appeal of this once in a life time musician.

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Episode Details

1h 41m 48s

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