Whether you know the rapper Eminem through his music (he just recently released his 10th album, “Kamikaze”) or his memorable role in the semi-autobiographical “8 Mile,” chances are you know he was able to overcome a tough upbringing thanks in part to his rapping skills.
But there’s more to the real Slim Shady you may not know. From the origins of his rap moniker to his beverage of choice, keep reading to find out tons of interesting facts about Eminem.
He Prefers To Use Pen And Paper When Working
Eminem says he prefers to brainstorm and jot down lyrics with pen and paper.
“I keep a book and write my ideas down in that,” he said in an interview. “Because I’ll at least remember, was it at the beginning of the book or was it towards the middle, and I remember what side of the page it’s on.”
He’s also been known to keep boxes filled with scrap paper on which he’s scrawled ideas.
Eminem’s Stage Name Comes From His Birth Name
Let’s start this out with an easy one. Eminem, the rap artist’s stage name, is the phonetic spelling of his real name’s initials: M-and-M. Marshall Bruce Mathers III is his full name. He originally went by the moniker M&M, but it’s probably a good thing copyright-wise that he switched up the spelling.
He’s Been Drug-Free For 10 Years
He’s Compulsive About His Workouts
People get pumped to Eminem’s music. So it’s fitting that the rapper himself is a workout fanatic. He told Men’s Journal in 2015 that, in a way, he replaced his drug addiction with an exercise addiction.
He’s Buds With Elton John
Eminem and Elton John made headlines performing together at the 2001 Grammys, and they’ve kept in touch since. Eminem credits John with helping him during his drug recovery, and he still talks to him on the phone regularly. Elton recently interviewed Eminem for Interview magazine, and calls him “an amazing guy.”
He’s Appeared On Public Access TV
Evidence of Eminem’s lefthandedness can be seen in “8 Mile,” in the way he holds his mic, and in photographs of him signing autographs. He is among the left-handed celebrities club that also includes former President Barack Obama and Lady Gaga.
His Daughter Is All Grown Up
Eminem’s only biological child, daughter Hailie, has been featured in many of his songs over the years. He has said she was a primary motivator for him wanting to be a success in the music business. But she’s not a little girl anymore. Hailie is now a 22-year-old college graduate, and her Instagram account depicts a confident young woman. And in a Daily Mail interview, she says she remains close with her dad.
He Also Has Two Adopted Daughters
Besides his biological daughter, Hailie, Eminem also adopted Whitney — his ex-wife Kim’s daughter from another relationship — and Alaina, the daughter of Kim’s twin sister. He told Rolling Stone back in 2011 that being a good father for him meant, “Just being there. Not missing things. If there’s anything important going on, regardless of what it is, I’m there. Helping them with homework when you can.”
His Brother Is A Rapper, Too
His half-brother, Nathan Kane Mathers, is working on a rap and acting career as well. He’s gone by the moniker Nate Kane.
He Loves Comic Books
Eminem has written comic book references into many of his songs. He reportedly owns an extensive collection that collectors are salivating to know more about. Plus he’s even been featured as a character in a number of comics! Here he is on the cover of a graphic novel titled, “Eminem: In My Skin.”
He Used To Read The Dictionary
He had to repeat ninth grade three times, and then he dropped out of high school. But he’s a voracious word consumer who actually used to read the dictionary.
“I just felt like I wanna be able to have all of these words at my disposal, in my vocabulary at all times whenever I need to pull ’em out. You know, somewhere, they’ll be stored, like, locked away,” Eminem told Anderson Cooper.
English Was His Favorite Subject In School
Eminem may have struggled in school, but he still had a favorite subject.
“I found that no matter how bad I was at school, like, and no matter how low my grades might have been at sometimes, I always was good at English,” Eminem said.
LL Cool J Was His Idol
As a kid, Eminem idolized LL Cool J. In an August 2018 radio interview with LL Cool J, he also cited Run-DMC, Beastie Boys and Ice-T as big influences on his musical taste as a child.
“It was so new and different and refreshing,” Eminem said of that era of music. “I wanted to be like you. I absolutely wanted to be like you.”
He Loves Donkey Kong
In a recent Vulture interview, Eminem bragged about being halfway to a Donkey Kong world record. He also admitted to getting frustrated during a game and breaking part of the arcade machine.
“The game cheats, you know?” he said.
Eminem is an old-school arcade game fan in general. A 2011 Rolling Stone interview at his Detroit studio reported that the “studio lobby is filled with arcade classics: Donkey Kong, Frogger, Space Invaders.”
A Political Party Likes His Music, Too
In 2017, New Zealand’s National Party lost a lawsuit brought against it by Eminem’s publishing company. The political party had used a song that closely imitated Eminem’s hit song “Lose Yourself” for a campaign ad. The National Party was ordered to pay $600,000 in New Zealand dollars ($415,000 U.S.) for the copyright infringement, though the case is currently in the appeals process.
His Mother Has Sued Him
Eminem has a famously complicated relationship with his mother, Deborah Mathers. He had a rough childhood. He’s rapped about wanting to kill her and, at one point, she sued her son for defamation. It was settled for $25,000. A 2014 apology video Eminem made seemed to make amends, but it’s unclear if mother and son are back in touch.
His Mother Almost Died In Childbirth
Deborah Mathers has said she was in labor for 73 hours and nearly died while delivering Eminem. Mathers was also just 18 when she had the “small, sickly baby.”
He’s A Detroit Lions Fan But Also Loves The Dallas Cowboys
Although he mostly grew up in the Detroit area and has loyalties to the Detroit Lions, Eminem is also a big Dallas Cowboys fan.
“I am a Lions fan first and foremost,” he told GQ. “But growing up as a kid, the Lions were so bad for so long, that I picked up another team in the Cowboys.”
He also says he’s a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
He Can Be A Sore Loser When It Comes To Football
Eminem’s longtime manager Paul Rosenberg told GQ that his rapper friend doesn’t like it when his team loses.
“The most incredible thing about him is that he talks more sh– when his team loses than when his team wins,” Rosenberg said. “For instance, he’s a Cowboys fan, right? So, the Giants beat Dallas twice this year. And each time we beat them, he talked more sh– about reasons the Giants aren’t any good than he would have had the Cowboys won. It’s ridiculous.”
He Loves Fantasy Football
Alabama rapper Yelawolf reported that Eminem is a big fantasy football player, and good at it.
“Marshall [Mathers] loves that shit, though,” he said. “He’s great at it. He’s got a trophy for fantasy football, dude. I saw it and said, ‘Yo, what is that?’ It was this huge trophy, you know? And he’s like, ‘What? It’s fantasy football. I kill it.’ I’m like, ‘Umm, okay.'”
He Was Born In Missouri, Not Michigan
Despite being known as a famous Detroit native, Eminem was born in St. Joseph, Missouri. His mother moved him around a lot as a child, often between the St. Louis, Missouri, area and the Detroit area.
He Got Beaten Up A Lot As A Kid
Young Marshall Mathers wasn’t exactly the most popular kid on his block or in school. He and others who knew him as a child have gone on record saying he got beaten up regularly. Court records were filed in one case where Mathers received a severe concussion. Eminem later rapped about that incident in his song “Brain Damage.”
He Used To Be A Line Cook
After he dropped out of high school, Marshall Mathers worked as a cook at Michigan restaurant Gilbert’s Lodge. A 2000 Salon magazine story said of his time as a cook, “Although Eminem had been fired a few times for tardiness and other minor offenses — he was once canned shortly before Christmas — Mazur says he became a model employee. He recalls a six-month period shortly after Hailie’s birth when Eminem worked 60 hours a week.”
He Loves Tacos
He proclaimed his love of tacos on a Facebook Live Q&A. And he often has Taco Bell around backstage. He’s also talked about how his Taco Bell and McDonald’s addictions contributed to his weight gain after his friend Proof’s death. But his manager Paul Rosenberg once clarified that Eminem does not have a Taco Bell in his house.
He’s A Fan Of ‘The Wire’
Eminem is a hardcore fan of “The Wire.”
He’s watched the five-season show four times over according to Dominic West, who played lead actor Jimmy McNulty on the classic Baltimore cop drama. Eminem was such a big fan of the HBO series that he got West to do an intro to his album “Relapse.” He also met up with West and fellow “Wire” actor Clarke Peters in person, and the three spent hours talking about the show. West also said in a 2011 interview that on another occasion, he spent an evening drinking Diet Coke and watching TV with the rapper.
“He’s the sweetest, nicest guy,” West reported.
He Drinks A Lot Of Diet Coke
He Hates Public Speaking
It wasn’t just Eminem’s alter ego in “8 Mile” who had stage fright. His rapper personality allows Eminem to hide his sometimes shy, awkward and more retiring nature. At a 2014 WSJ Innovator Awards show honoring his friends and mentors Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, Eminem gave a speech where he said, “As an example of how powerful they are, they had me fly here all the way from Detroit to speak publicly, and I really hate public speaking.”
His Former Detroit Home Is Unlucky
Eminem sold his sprawling Detroit mansion in fall 2017 for less than half of what he bought it for in 2003. But apparently, he didn’t stay there much. He actually lived in another home in the area. Maybe that’s because the house has a bit of bad homeowner karma. Both the former Kmart chairman and the tool manufacturer who owned the large property before Eminem had run-ins with the law. Eminem had his own legal issues after he bought the house as well.
He’s A Saver
Eminem told the New York Times in 2010 that he saves most of his money.
“I save a lot of money by not buying drugs anymore. I invest. I always try to be smart. I try to treat all the money I’m making like it’s the last time I’m going to make it,” he said.