"I wanted the fame but not the cover of Newsweek, Oh well, guess beggars can't be choosey." In 1972, a genius was born. Back when Eminem was first on the scene, the world wasn't seeing much. The underground rap battles in the 8 Mile district of Detroit had a future Rap God. Marshall Bruce Mathers III is arguably the biggest superstar the world never saw coming. A bonafide lyrical genius who has out-sold every other rapper on the planet, Eminem remains the best-selling artist of the 2000s. The Real Slim Shady has sold 220 million records. Ten number-one albums, 15 Grammy Awards, and one reminder that Khloe is "the ugly Kardashian" later, the kid who got pushed around by other kids on the block has earned his comeuppance.
There are two kinds of Eminem fans. Those who "totally started worshipping him" when he collaborated with Rihanna in 2010. Then there's the other half – the huge Eminem fans. The ones who have followed this quick-witted, tongue-twisting loudmouth from the minute "My Name Is" dropped. Everyone who clicked on this is either one or the other.
From Em's dressing room foods to the lyrics we never knew existed, fans have come to the right place. For all who "post pin-up pictures on their walls all day long... idolize their favorite rappers and know all their songs," know this. Here are 16 amazing facts about Eminem that even his biggest fans forgot.
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16 HE CAN RHYME "ORANGE" IN FOUR WAYS
Seriously, name one word that rhymes with "orange." According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the only word that rhymes with "orange" is "sporange." Since "sporange" is an uncommon botanical name for a part of a fern, that's basically a polite way of saying "zero." Eminem's rhyming abilities make Drake look like a pre-schooler. "Dumb enough to walk in a store and steal, so I'm dumb enough to ask for a date with Lauryn Hill." Eminem has been dishing out the rhymes with the same lighting speed that saw him shut down the competition in 8 Mile. Anderson Cooper was interviewing Eminem on 60 Minutes, because seriously, what rhymes with orange?
"I can think of a lot of things that rhyme with orange. I put my orange, four-inch door hinge in storage and ate porridge with George."
Think he stopped there? In his "Brainless" song, Em rhymes 24 out of 36 words with "orange." Fans will remember the "oranges, peaches, pears, plums, syringes," from the song "Business." Then again, there are two types of fans. Those who think they know Eminem from the minute he was born, and those who don't.
15 EMINEM WASN'T BORN IN DETROIT
If you're an Eminem fan, you'll know the lyrics – and this guy doesn't hide. We know that Eminem was "born to brew up storms." We know what he was "witnessin' his momma poppin'" in the kitchen. You'd need to be living under a rock not to know that Eminem didn't have two dimes to rub together, growing up. Those Detroit trailer parks? They didn't come decked out in luxuries. But this rapper wasn't born in Detroit. In fact, Eminem wasn't even born in the state of Michigan. On October 17, 1972, Eminem was born in St. Joseph, Missouri – the birthplace of the American outlaw, Jesse James.
Eminem's mom nearly lost her life during the 73-hour labor, although the real Eminem fans will know that Deborah "Debbie" Nelson never really topped Eminem's "most-liked" list. Eminem's childhood was basically one giant shuttle back and forth between Michigan and Missouri (which you'll hear about in "Groundhog Day.") His father abandoned the family when the rapper was just a baby– something that many fans feel Em never really got over. "A corny-looking white boy, scrawny and always ornery, cause I was sick of brawny bullies picking on me," Eminem didn't have it easy. "Why am I so differently wired?" he asks himself in the song, "Legacy." The answer is right there in the title.
14 EMINEM RAP BATTLED FALCON FROM AVENGERS (AND WON)
If something about Falcon in Avengers looks familiar, it's because it is. Anthony Mackie has been playing the MCU character since 2014 – Captain America: The Winter Soldier was where Falcon made his landing. Way back in 2002, though, a young Anthony was cast as Papa Doc in the movie, 8 Mile. The movie's rap battles are easily the most re-watched parts on YouTube (and if you're a real fan, that's probably where you'll be headed once you're done reading this). Em was barely done tearing Lotto to shreds in the epic rap battle scene before he did the exact same thing to Papa Doc.
Anthony actually gave an interview to Red Carpet News TV on what it was like to work with Eminem. Anthony joked that being alongside Eminem would give him some cred, before sarcastically saying, "Well, then the movie came out, and we all know how that ended." Anthony is hilarious. He said that he "wouldn't rank Eminem as his top five rappers," then laughed, saying that he would never say it to Em's face.
13 THE LYRICS YOU NEVER KNEW EXISTED
Most fans can quote Eminem pretty easily. If it isn't a lyric from "Till I Collapse," it might be something more recent. Like his collaborations with Ed Sheeran or Beyonce. That's actually a side of Eminem that fans have really warmed to. The aggressive, rebellious, angry kid has mellowed out. It's hard to believe that Eminem is now 45 years old, but that only means one thing for fans – 45 years of hidden history to dig up. You didn't click on this to hear us quote from "Lose Yourself." Chances are, you're probably fully aware of all the ways Eminem knew how to "Forget About Dre." It's time to check out the freestyles.
Yup. Eminem was referencing ScarJo all the way back in 2002. Free-styling at a BBC studio for a mind-blowing 8 minutes, 29 seconds, this YouTube video is some of the most-impressive and close-up footage around. 100% in his prime, he's throwing it out as only Eminem does.
12 HE FAILED 9TH GRADE THREE TIMES
This, from the man who CNN reported as having the "widest vocabulary in music history." Eminem actually failed 9th grade three times, causing him to drop out of high school completely. His Rolling Stone biography documents it, but true fans will know where to look. Hint: The answers are always in the same place – the lyrics. "I changed high schools every three months until the third time that I failed 9th grade." By the time Eminem was writing "White America," though, the spirit had changed.
"I ain't have to graduate from Lincoln High School to know that. But I could rap, so [forget] school, I'm too cool to back. Give me the mic! Show me where the [...] studio's at."
Eminem was the perfect target for being picked on. Why? "I'm outside chalkin' up drawings on the sidewalk and in the front drive talkin' to myself, either that or inside hidin' off in the corner somewhere quiet, tryin' not to be noticed because I'm cryin' and sobbing." The opening to "Legacy" is just heartbreaking. "Shoved in lockers" was how Em spent his school days. At the age of nine, someone put Eminem in a coma for a week, according to ClashMusic.
11 A RECORD-BREAKING 6.5 WORDS PER SECOND
It took you longer than a second to read that. Now imagine squeezing in 4.28 words in just one second – and that's just the average. In 2013, Eminem broke a new record. "Rap God" averages more than four words per second across its six-minute running time. The track runs for 6 minutes and 4 seconds – 1,560 words is what Eminem managed to fit into that time. The record-breaking part? 97 words in 15 seconds, which works out to 6.5 words per second.
"I write and write 'til my brain hurts," Eminem told ePRO Team in a 2018 interview. "I write every day." Eminem scribbles his ideas on pieces of paper – anything that comes to his mind. Then he plays around with the sounds and the rhymes. "I've got a rhyming disease in my head," he added. "Everything rhymes." The man who is worth $190 million still walks around with scraps of paper, scrawly handwriting, and the one thing that money can't buy: a genius brain.
Of course, it wouldn't be Eminem without him managing to voice his rather opinionated views on well-known celebrities. You came here for the facts, so here they are. The biggest celebs Eminem has shown the cold shoulder to in his lyrics? Moby, Mariah Carey, Jessica Alba, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Jackson, Pamela Anderson, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga.
10 HE IS VERY PARTICULAR ABOUT HIS SODA
Eminem is a pretty easy-going guy. You'll get that with the few stars whose fame hasn't gone to their head. Eminem doesn't roll around in a Lamborghini. Nor does he take selfies with an entourage of Versace wallets and diamond-encrusted headphones. Eminem is, however, very particular about his Diet Coke. Rolling Stone definitely noticed it when they interviewed him. The magazine described the rapper as guzzling it "obsessively" from a soda fountain in the lobby. Eminem actually prefers his Diet Coke from soda fountains. He isn't a fan of the sweetener, aspartame, which is used in canned Diet Coke. There has been growing concern over the health risks of certain sweeteners. According to Em, soda fountains don't contain aspartame, so he drinks from those.
Mountain Dew comes in at a close second for Eminem's favorite drink. Food-wise, Eminem loves Taco Bell and Wendy's. Of course, fans will be more than familiar with the various fast-food outlets mentioned in his lyrics. Whoever it was who spat on Eminem's onion rings is likely regretting it. In 2018, Eminem even served Mom's Spaghetti at a Coachella pop-up.
9 EMINEM IS AFRAID OF GIRAFFES
"Fearless" is a word that seems pretty fitting for Eminem. If you saw his rap battles in the movie, 8 Mile, you'll remember that face. You'll remember those lyrics. You'll remember an entire underground community falling completely silent when Em systematically ripped his opponents apart, one mocking lyric at a time. They were all up that creek. Eminem was affectionately called "Rabbit" by his friends. Giraffes are one of Eminem's biggest fears. In a 2014 interview, Eminem said:
"I have a weird thing with giraffes, man. I don't like their necks." In his Facebook Q&A, Eminem said he hasn't overcome it. "Just sick of sticking my neck out for people."
And we're back to the classic Eminem wit. When an interviewer asked Eminem: "People are saying that Lil Wayne was sent by God to teach people how to rap," Eminem replied, "I don't remember sending anybody." Right there. That's why fans adore this guy. Unlike Kanye (who actually proclaims himself to be a "God"), Eminem does it jokingly. "Why be a king when you can be a god." That's the tongue-in-cheek ending to "Rap God."
8 HE WAS INVESTIGATED BY THE SECRET SERVICE
The most a high-profile celebrity will have following them is the paparazzi. If they're lucky, 40 or 50 million Instagram followers. Then again, you'll be hard-pressed to find an artist who pushes the boundaries quite like Eminem. It's no secret that Eminem has managed to offend just about everyone on the planet. In the early days, the rapper was slammed by feminist groups for his outlandish rhymes. A significant chunk of his fanbase was able to differentiate the real Eminem from The Real Slim Shady, though. There's a really good guy underneath that hoodie.
In 2003, though, the probe turned a little more serious. CNN reported that The Secret Service had begun investigating Eminem after lyrics from "We Are American" were deemed a threat to the president. This one left fans a bit stumped. If Eminem is anything, it's a joker above a threat. Every line he writes has some humorous undertone– except the incredibly painful ones (that fans often miss). Behind the "crazy" persona, fans could see that Eminem was referring to his broken home upbringing. The investigation came to a close when a spokesperson for the Secret Service ascertained that the lyric did not specify the president of the United States.
7 THE CHART YOU NEVER KNEW HE TOPPED
Yes, Em's face is at the top. Not many rappers have actual scientific studies done on them. When CNN reported that Eminem has the "biggest music vocabulary" in history, no-one was surprised. What is slightly jarring, though, is this pic. Slide your eye to the right for the "Shakespeare would be here." Not only did Eminem make history with 8,818 unique words, he outshone Jay-Z by nearly 2000 words. Tupac Shakur came in way lower at 6,569. With 5,069 unique words, Kanye West's capabilities are nearly half what Eminem's are.
Eminem's vocabulary outshines Shakespeare. "See, I'm a poet to some, a regular modern-day Shakespeare."
That's from Eminem's 2001 "Renegade" track with Jay-Z. FYI, impressing Jay-Z is no easy feat. In a 2018 interview with NME, Jay-Z chose his words carefully. For him, it's Eminem's "amazing cadence" that shines. "It's almost like a syncopation." Eminem has always had this dual side to him – and we're not talking about his alter ego, The Real Slim Shady. 50% of Eminem is the humble underdog who only wanted his daughter, Hailie to "have the life he never had." Eminem always had confidence, though. "Cause in my heart of hearts I know nothing could ever be worse... that's why I'm clever when I put together every verse."
6 EMINEM IS OBSESSED WITH COMIC BOOKS
In 2009, an executive for Shady Records called Eminem's comic book collection "otherworldly." According to MTV, Eminem has items that "aren't even on display at stores." The rarest collector's item that Eminem owns is "Amazing Fantasy" #15, marking Peter Parker and Spider-Man's first appearance. Eminem loved comic book superheroes long before the MCU existed. Eminem has written hundreds of songs, but he has also mentioned comic book characters dozens of times.
"Kneel before General Zox this planet's Krypton No Asgard, Asgard. So you be Thor and I'll be Odin, you rodent, I'm omnipotent." Eminem is a giant comic-book collector.
"I've always been into comic books. Spiderman, Hulk, old Batmans, Supermans – mostly vintage Marvel [stuff] before I was born," Em told Comicbook.com. Eminem has featured alongside The Punisher, plus a variant cover of Mighty Avengers #3, where he features hanging out with Iron Man in front of his childhood home. Eminem confessed that he prefers Marvel to DC. If you're wondering about the "spite her man" lyric in Em's "River" track (with Ed Sheeran), it's all there. "Spite her man" is a Spider-Man reference to the superhero's first love, Gwen Stacy.
5 HE LIED ABOUT GOING TO CHUCK E. CHEESE WITH HAILIE
Eminem is a driven guy. You only have to listen to "Lose Yourself" to know that. "You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime (yo)." Sometimes, though, you need to tell a white lie to get what you want. When Em wanted to take his daughter, Hailie to the recording studio for the song "97 Bonnie & Clyde," he had to lie to his ex-wife about where he was going.
"I lied to Kim and told her I was taking Hailie to Chuck E. Cheese that day," Em told Rolling Stone in 1999. "But I took her to the studio. When she found out I used our daughter to write a song about [harming] her, she [was mad]. We had just got back together for a couple of weeks." Hailie was still a kid back then, although it has meant the world to Eminem to watch his beautiful daughter grow up and actually succeed.
Considering that Hailie was raised in total poverty by teen parents (who weren't getting along), it's pretty amazing to see where she is now. Hailie is now 22 years old. Not only did she graduate from Michigan State University to become a social media influencer, she is still super close to her dad. If you want to hear how much Em loves Hailie, listen to "When I'm Gone."
4 HE WAS FIRED FROM HIS $5.50 AN HOUR JOB
It's figures like these that show just how much of a luxury Chuck E. Cheese even was for Eminem. We've heard it all before – celebs ranting on about how poor they were growing up. Very few of them grew up as dirt poor as Eminem. This guy actually knows what poverty is like.
Eminem was fired from his $5.50-an-hour restaurant job on Hailie's birthday. "I'm sick of workin' dead-end jobs with lame pay. I'm tired of being hired and fired the same day."
To help support his mom, Em worked as a short-order cook at a Michigan family restaurant called Gilbert's Lodge, where his wage was $5.50 an hour. Five days before Christmas (and shortly after the release of Infinite in 1996), Em was fired from the restaurant. That day was Hailie's birthday. The pain drove him to do what he did best. Eminem wrote "Rock Bottom" right after being fired. In fact, Eminem was still making payments on his trailer home when The Slim Shady LP dropped. Eminem may be worth millions now, but this guy never forgot his humble beginnings.
3 THE ONLY RAP SONG TO HAVE WON AN OSCAR
Leonardo DiCaprio waited over 40 years to win his Oscar. In 2003, Eminem won an Oscar for his song "Lose Yourself" in the movie, 8 Mile. It is the only rap track to have ever been awarded an Oscar. Amazingly, Eminem didn't even show up to the ceremony, as he didn't think the song would ever win. Speaking to South Pawer in a rare tape, Em explained his thought process. "Actually, I was sleeping that night. I just felt like I had no chance of winning because, you know, when I heard I was nominated, I thought that was for actors." Eminem even admitted that he "wasn't sure exactly what Grammy or Oscar meant." His long-time friend and producer, Luis Resto accepted the Academy Award on Eminem's behalf.
Awards are something this guy knows. Em has won 14 of his 23 American Music Award nominations. He has also won a staggering 17 Billboard Music Awards. In 2010 (the year he collaborated with Rihanna for "Love The Way You Lie"), Eminem generated 94 million streams – more than any other music artist. Of course, those figures are now much higher– for everyone. Eminem may rap about questionable behavior towards women, but let's just remember that when Em collaborated with Rihanna, he treated her with more respect than Chris Brown. Just saying...
2 DRESSING ROOM MUST-HAVES THAT COULDN'T BE MORE EMINEM
If you know anything about celebrities, you'll know that their diva demands are nothing short of extortionate. Beyonce demands $900 titanium straws and hand-carved ice balls to "soothe her throat." Jennifer Lopez reportedly "freaks out" if her M&MS aren't plain. When Business Insider posted a list of celeb dressing room demands, fans saw for themselves just how real Eminem is. Em doesn't ask for a 78-degree chilled room or Archipelago Black Forest scented candles, like Mariah Carey or Rihanna.
Eminem asks for ginger ale soda and Diet Coke. He also asks for 1 loaf of white bread and 1 loaf of wheat bread. 6 Lunchables (3 turkey and 3 ham with cheese) are also on the list. The Red Bull and Poland Spring water are hardly diva-like. His only specific requests are 1 jar of banana pepper rings and large fresh jumbo shrimps with cocktail sauce and plenty of lemons. Em also requests 25-pound dumbbells so he can work out on the move.
Notice how none of it is gluten-free or organic. None of it has to be heated to specific temperatures or served on silver platters. For his 2010 tour, Em just requested "sandwich stuff." Most of it was for his crew.
1 HE IS BASICALLY SUPPORTING THE WHOLE OF MICHIGAN
There's a reason you won't find any pics of Eminem posing with sick children. This isn't to say that other celebrities are doing it for the publicity – many of them aren't. For Eminem, though, it's all about staying away from the cameras. In 2015, The Daily Mail reported that Em had visited a terminally-ill teen. Em rushed from Atlanta to Detroit to be with Gage Garmo, a cancer patient whose final wish was to meet his idol. Although Eminem did tweet about it, he arrived amid "tight secrecy" to avoid publicity. Gage passed away just hours later.
When Em visited a sick teen, he insisted on doing it away from the publicity. The Marshall Mathers Foundation? You probably never knew it existed.
Not many people hear about Em's charity work. Again, that's because it's not his style to publicize writing a million-dollar check. In 2002, Eminem founded the Marshall Mathers Foundation. The charity helps disadvantaged kids in Michigan. Inside Philanthropy reported that the charity "keeps a low profile." Em also supports Save The Children and the Eight Mile Boulevard Association. $150,000 of Em's cash went to #Change4Change in 2017. His proceeds from his lawsuits? They went to Hurricane Relief, according to Variety.
You clicked on this because you're a giant Eminem fan. This guy deserves way more respect than he gets. If you want the world to learn 16 things about Eminem they'd never otherwise know, hit share. The Real Slim Shady is bowing out now, but he isn't going anywhere.
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