Legendary rap artist and musician, Eminem, is an icon. Over the years, he has managed to make a name for himself as a musician with incredible skills, winning over fans across the world. According to Biography, the rapper is believed to be one of the most successful musicians of the 21st century. Known for delivering several hits such as "Stan," "Lose Yourself," "When I’m Gone," "The Real Slim Shady," and more, it must be said that the artist is also someone who incorporates major parts of his life into his songs and is known to not mince any words while composing music.
Additionally, Eminem has had a rather controversial life. It is fair to say that he has often had to confront scandals that have put him into the spotlight. For example, he’s always shared a rocky relationship with his mother, who has made an appearance in his songs. He’s mentioned in his music that she didn’t take care of him growing up, and he had to deal with physical as well as emotional abuse as a result of her behavior. His mom denied this and said that this was false.
It’s also worth nothing that there are several misconceptions that exist about the rap artist, things that aren’t true at all or simply misunderstood. For example, Eminem is not as intense or immature as he may seem to be and is a rather self-aware man. Additionally, he’s opened up about the things that many people get wrong about him in interviews.
Here is looking at some of the most common misconceptions surrounding Eminem.
Eminem is not that immature
It’s easy to dismiss Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Mathers, as someone who comes across as brash and immature. The star has actually evolved quite a bit over the years and is more mature than most would imagine. For example, in an interview with Vulture, the star spoke at length about being self-aware as far as his fan’s wishes are concerned. Specifically, when asked about how his music has changed or his approach is now slightly different, the musician said that he recognizes the fact that some of his fans miss the fact that he was more raw and real in his earlier days. He said, "The truth is that going from one subject to a completely different one is a balancing act and I’m trying to give something to everyone," before adding that even though he is the same guy, he definitely has changed and mature.
That said, Eminem still doesn’t hesitate to use lines in his music that he thinks are either funny or ridiculous if they fit the scenario. He further explained that he is self aware, saying, "I’m critical of myself and I’m always trying to figure out how to do better. I certainly have not had a perfect career."
Eminem makes music for everyone
As far as Eminem is concerned, one myth that seems to have persisted over the years is that he makes music only for his white fans. The rapper has stepped up on several occasions to clear the air and emphasize that this is far from the truth and that he prefers to make music for everyone. When Eminem was asked in his interview with Vulture about how more than a decade ago, he appealed far more to his white listeners and was even "held up as this scary embodiment of white-working-class alienation," he shot back that he was representing every group. He said, "I was speaking for everybody: white, black, whatever nationality."
As a CNN piece pointed out, Eminem has tried to lend his voice to important issues when necessary instead of staying in the shadows. In 2017, the artist spoke up for his Black fans at the BET Awards. The rapper was rooting for NFL players and their right to peacefully protest against the injustice that American people of color have been subjected to for a long time. As far as that incident was concerned, Eminem didn’t shy away from voicing his support for his fans and expressing solidarity with them.
Eminem is goofy
Looking at his music and intense lyrics, it’s easy to assume that Eminem is someone who is rather serious as a person. Turns out, this is a bit of a myth. Eminem can be as goofy as the rest, even when he’s making music. For example, in his latest album, the singer has come up with dad jokes of all things. As outlined by Variety, Eminem’s music in 2020 has seen him go on a wild ride and use inappropriate and even ridiculous dad jokes for his fans.
As the piece points out, it’s a refreshing change to see the musician do exactly what he wants to do and simply have some fun while making his music instead of trying to please the masses. Plus, one only needs to take a look at the musician’s past work to appreciate his sense of humor, particularly with songs like "Just Lose It" and "The Real Slim Shady."
Eminem is smart
As highlighted by a Forbes piece, Eminem is smarter than he lets on. He once said that he doesn’t really read and has a short attention span. He also said that he feels most comfortable when he’s writing music. He said, "I don’t know how to do anything else. I think they have a word for that — what do they call it? Idiot savant?"
All things considered, the star isn’t dumb, and he has worked very hard to hone his talent and shine among his contemporaries. Even when the rapper was a child, he would teach himself to get better at writing lyrics and work with complicated words like "transcendalistic tendencies" while simultaneously using drills to get better at rhyming. Moreover, he suffered losses early in his journey as he tried to triumph over his competitors in rap battles. Host of the hip-hop radio show, The Wake Up Show, Sway Caloway praised Eminem and the amount of work he put in early in his career. He said, "Eminem stayed on the grind. He just continued to come by our show and drop freestyles…And the thing about him I noticed each time I saw him back then — and it’s still going on — is that he keeps getting better and better."
Eminem comes from a tough background
Even Eminem’s harshest critics cannot deny the fact that the rapper had a tough time growing up. As per Billboard, as a child, the star often found himself being bullied by other children because he was often the new kid as his family often moved to different places, making it tough for Eminem to really connect with other kids. He said, "I was beat up in the bathrooms, in the hallways, shoved in the lockers — for the most part for being the new kid."
What helped Eminem overcome his troubles back then was his love for rap. It was his solace, his escape to a better place. As he tried to make a mark for himself among other kids who sported better outfits, for example, he knew that he was a rapper, an artist, and that made him different. He was aching for a little bit of respect, something that he continued to aspire for even after becoming a legit rap artist. He reflected, "It might sound corny but I felt like a fighter coming up."
Eminem is actually proud of being a dad
As per several accounts, Eminem didn’t have a good childhood. According to Rolling Stone, despite not getting to know his father when he was a kid and being raised without him, the rapper chose to be a good father figure to his daughter, niece and half-brother. Back in 2004, the rapper said that as a dad, he would make sure that he would attend school plays and be there for his children.
More recently, the rap artist told Insider that he’s really proud of his kids. In a candid confession, the rapper said, "So when I think about my accomplishments like that’s probably the thing that I’m the most proud of, you know, is that — is being able to raise kids." His daughter, Hailie Jade Scott Mathers, has a college degree, which Eminem is extremely happy about. He said, "No babies, she has a boyfriend, but she’s doing good."
Eminem isn’t homophobic
Most people know that Eminem has often fielded accusations of being homophobic in the past, especially because of some problematic lyrics. However, Eminem has insisted that he is not a homophobic man. According to Rolling Stone, the star has categorically stated that he has no problem with gay relationships. He went on record to say that he may have made some controversial references to same-sex relationships, but he doesn’t have an issue with them. He said, "I poke fun at other people, myself. But the real me sitting here right now talking to you has no issues with gay, straight, transgender, at all. I’m glad we live in a time where it’s really starting to feel like people can live their lives and express themselves."
Additionally, according to a piece by the Guardian, the musician lent his support to same-sex marriages in 2010. He said that he didn’t see a problem with that as long as a couple was in love and wanted to tie the knot.
Eminem does have a process
In case you’ve ever been curious about how Eminem makes music, you’d be intrigued to know that the process isn’t as random as you’d think. But it does rely a lot on rhythm and the beat itself. He told Rolling Stone that sometimes it’s relatively easy because the beat speaks to him and helps him find the hook. He explained, "The hook for ‘Just Lose It’ I probably wrote in about thirty seconds as soon as the beat came on… That was a song that doesn’t really mean anything. It’s just what the beat was telling me to do."
He added that his head is often full of beats, lyrics, and of course, rhymes. He also said that as a rapper, it’s likely that you’ll simply find rhymes. He said, "Those words are usually inside that beat, and you gotta find them."
The rapper also said that he experimented with Jay-Z‘s style, namely not writing rhymes on paper and then seeing where the music takes him. He admits that he’s often got a plethora of random musings on paper. He also implied that the one thing that is clear to him is the fact that he’s addicted to music, and it is an integral part of his life, serving as an outlet for him to express his feelings.
Eminem doesn’t shy away from admitting mistakes
Eminem knows he’s not perfect and does apologize when he knows he’s done something wrong. For instance, when he was called out for lyrics that seemed homophobic and directed towards fellow rap artist, Tyler, the Creator, Eminem acknowledged publicly that it was his fault (via the BBC). He said, "In my quest to hurt him, I realize that I was hurting a lot of other people by saying it. It was one of the things that I kept going back to and going ‘I don’t feel right with this.’"
Unfortunately, folks were still not convinced after Eminem apologized. NME’s El Hunt pointed out that if Eminem knew the lyrics were hurtful, he should have never released the song and stayed away from stirring up the controversy. She believed that his explanation wasn’t as genuine as it should have been, and it didn’t quite make sense to her.
Eminem doesn’t despise Relapse
While many of Eminem’s fans seem to think that the star hates his 2009 album, Relapse – something that he made while fighting addiction and working through recovery — this isn’t true. The rapper does think it’s not one of his best albums but knows it’s a part of his journey. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Eminem explained what he thinks about the album. He said, "I don’t hate the record. I want to rap and be able to always try to do my best lyrically, but at the same time find the right balance between that and making the right songs."
He further added that at that point, he was focusing on getting sober and back to stability. Getting sober, according to the artist, was quite a ride because he could finally get his thoughts in order and figure things out. He said, "So I don’t know if that record was particularly my best work as far as songs, writing songs that felt like something, that brought some kind of emotion."
As per the Guardian, the singer knew that some songs from the album were cool, like "My Mom" or "Must Be The Ganja." Interestingly, he actually worked on those songs at the beginning of his recovery process and only felt his thinking get clearer by the time he was getting around to finishing the record.
Eminem isn’t always confident
As incredible as this may seem, Eminem doesn’t feel confident or like he’s at his best every single day. He has his doubts and insecurities that he needs to work though. As illustrated by Rolling Stone, the musician can be a rather harsh critic when it comes to himself. He said, "I don’t know if I ever feel totally great about a record when I put it out. With every record that I put out, someone has literally got to come pry it from me because when I listen to my own music, I just hear flaws in it."
Plus, when Eminem was asked whether he feels like he is a rap god or the opposite, an underdog, he said that it changes every single day. It’s something that does make him feel powerful but isn’t a constant in his life. He also remembered a notable Kendrick Lamar verse in the interview and said that every rap artist shares a simple philosophy. He said, "If you don’t want to be the best, then why are you rapping?"
Eminem made a conscious decision about his dad
One of the most well-known facts about Eminem is that he’s always been estranged from his father. And yet, what fans may miss out on is the fact that the decision to avoid his father after the rap artist became famous wasn’t a reckless move. According to Cheatsheet, the rap artist never got a chance to bond with his father because he didn’t want to make an effort or be a part of Eminem’s life. The rapper did attempt to reach out to his father by sending him letters, but he never got a response. He reflected on his childhood once and said, "A lot of times he’d call, and I’d be there — maybe I’d be on the floor coloring or watching TV — and it wouldn’t have been nothing for him to say, ‘Put him on the phone.’ He could talk to me, let me know something."
Things changed when Eminem achieved fame. His father wrote an open letter to him and insisted that he was misunderstood. He also said that because Eminem and his mom often moved to different places, it had been impossible for him to track his son down. However, Eminem remained unmoved by the letter and chose to not reconcile with his dad. His explanation was heartfelt. He said, "If my kids moved to the edge of the earth I would find them, no doubt in my mind."
Eminem’s father passed away in 2019.