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Eminem: Crossing the Line

Eminem: Crossing the Line

4.7 57
by Martin Huxley

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"God sent me to piss the world off," Eminem boasts on his breakthrough hit "My Name Is." A grandiose claim to be sure, but it's hard to imagine another rapper generating as much controversy and outrage as this bleach-blonde Detroit MC outlaw while still selling millions of records and becoming a hero to pop fans and hardcore hip-hop purists alike. The


"God sent me to piss the world off," Eminem boasts on his breakthrough hit "My Name Is." A grandiose claim to be sure, but it's hard to imagine another rapper generating as much controversy and outrage as this bleach-blonde Detroit MC outlaw while still selling millions of records and becoming a hero to pop fans and hardcore hip-hop purists alike. The sharp-tongued product of crushing poverty and an unstable homelife, Eminem is much more than the goofy smartass he usually portrays himself as. Beyond the artist's inventive rhyming skills and appealingly warped lyrical persona, the multi-platinum major-label albums The Slim Shady LP and The Marshall Mathers LP present a dark, psychologically complex character whose vivid, vengeful rhymes embody a timely collision of Midwestern white trash and urban hip-hop cultures, while portraying an unpredictably violent yet absurdly hilarious world. Adopting the cartoonish yet unsettling persona of Slim Shady, Eminem spins colorfully absurd narratives involving sadistic violence while reflecting the tortured psyche of a deeply conflicted character whose real-life pain lurks beneath the surface of his outrageous alter ego.

It's those contradictions that help make Eminem a uniquely compelling artist whose primal appeal transcends boundaries of race and musical genre. Eminem: Crossing the Line, the first biography ever written of this unique pop-culture icon, offers a fascinating peek into the strange and twisted world of Slim Shady.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This is the latest book by Huxley, author of several musician biographies. Skimpy and superficial, it's little more than an attempt to cash in on the popularity of rapper Eminem (n Marshall Mathers). Huxley's tendency to focus on Eminem's rise to fame, leaving the majority of his youth untouched, begs the question of whether this book is really necessary; two major label albums and a few hit singles do not an icon make. Similarly questionable is Huxley's biased prose. While he does mention the uglier, well-publicized side of Eminem's character, these instances are rare and tempered by ridiculous descriptions of him as a "mischievous man-child" and "a sensitive soul whose confidence can still be bruised by a careless callous comment." On the plus side, the discography, which lists every record that Eminem has ever performed on, will be helpful to true "Em" fanatics. Overall, however, this biography is little more than a piece of merchandise to reside next to the CDs, all of which have infinitely more heart and soul invested in their creation.--Vincent Au, "Library Journal" Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\

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Crossing the Line

By Martin Huxley

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2000 Martin Huxley
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-7574-2

1Though he’s sometimes described as an overnight success, Eminem—who was just twenty-four years old whenThe Slim ShadyLP went platinum—spent nearly a decade honing his rhyming skills, building a reputation as one of the finest freestyle rappers in the Midwest prior to his ascent to mainstream stardom.While certain details of his past are disputed by some witnesses, the established facts make it clear that the childhood of Marshall Bruce Mathers III was no bed of roses. Indeed, his turbulent youth was a seemingly endless series of soul-crushing hard knocks that would shape his personality in strange and unexpected ways.Eminem’s rebellious, contradictionladen character was forged through such early challenges as the desertion of an absentee father, conflicts with a mother whom he now portrays as an emotionally unstable drug user, and numerous encounters with neighborhood violence.Marshall Bruce Mathers III was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on October 17, 1975. He says that his mother, Debbie, was only fifteen when she and his father were married; his father, Marshall II, was seven years older. When Marshall III was born two years later, both parents were members of Daddy Warbucks, a cover band that worked in hotel lounges around the Dakota-Montana border.Marshall II left the family six months after his son’s birth and moved to California. Eminem has still never met him.As a teen, Marshall would try sending letters to his dad, which were returned, unopened. But, in time-honored showbiz fashion, Em’s father would eventually come out of the woodwork to attempt a reconciliation once his son had become famous.The fatherless boy’s self-described “stereotypical, trailer park, white trash upbringing” gave him an early taste of what it’s like to be an outsider. He spent his early years shuttling with his mother between Missouri and Michigan, living with various relatives.“We just kept moving back and forth because my mother never had a job,” he now says. “We kept getting kicked out of every house we were in. I believe six months was the longest we ever lived in a house.“I was born in Kansas City. I moved to Detroit when I was five. From five to nine, I lived in Kansas City again. We moved back for five years. Then we moved to Detroit permanently.”Changing schools frequently made it difficult for Marshall to form attachments and make friends. He became increasingly sensitive and introverted, retreating into comic books and television. “I didn’t really start opening up until eighth grade, going into ninth.”The insecurities engendered by his unsettled home life were further fueled by frequent encounters with neighborhood gangs and local bullies. One of the most harrowing of these incidents later inspired him to write “Brain Damage,” which namechecks D’Angelo Bailey, a grade-school classmate who administered a savage assault that left the future star in the hospital with a near-fatal cerebral hemorrhage.The beating that nearly robbed the world of Slim Shady occurred at lunchtime recess one winter afternoon in 1983 while Marshall was in the fourth grade. After Marshall hassled a friend of Bailey’s, Bailey “came running from across the yard and hit me so hard into this snowbank that I blacked out.” The disoriented youngster was sent home from school. After his ear started bleeding, he was sent to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a cerebral hemorrhage and spent much of the next ten days in a coma.The alienated kid tapped into a much-needed source of personal validation and emotional release when he discovered rap music. He now says that his passion for hip-hop was sparked at the age of nine, at the moment he heard the Ice-T track “Reckless,” from the soundtrack album of the eighties breakdancing-exploitation flick Breakin’.He quickly became a devoted convert to the still-emerging new genre, eagerly absorbing the inventively boisterous verbal outbursts of such groundbreaking artists as Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys and LL Cool J. “From LL to the Fat Boys, and all that shit, I was fascinated,” he says. “When LL first came out with ‘I’m Bad,’ I wanted to do it, to rhyme. Standing in front of the mirror, I wanted to be like LL.”Marshall had received the Breakin’ album from his uncle, Ronnie Polkinghorn, his mother’s kid brother and an avid hip-hop fan. Though Ronnie was just a few months older than Marshall, he became a crucial influence on him, particularly when Ronnie began making primitive home recordings of his own raps.When Ronnie committed suicide in 1993, Marshall was devastated.In 1987, Marshall, his mom and his half-brother Nathan (who was born in 1986) returned to Michigan for good, settling in a poor, predominantly black neighborhood on the east side of Detroit.Growing up in an economically disadvantaged area brought Marshall face-to-face with the randomness of urban violence, much of which carried racial undertones.Attending Lincoln High School in Warren, Michigan, the troubled teen found solace from his bleak everyday existence—and found a much-needed source of self-esteem—in rap. He began writing and recording his own raps at the age of thirteen, and his budding rhyme abilities boosted his confidence, helping him to come out of his shell and make new friends. Adopting the stage name Eminem from his alliterative initials, Marshall would regularly compete in lunch-hour rhyme jousts, stacking up his already-impressive freestyling skills against those of his classmates.At fifteen, Em formed his first rap group, Bassmint Productions. Two years later, he dropped out of high school after failing the ninth grade three times in a row. “I don’t think it was necessarily ’cause I’m stupid,” he says. “I didn’t go to school. I couldn’t deal.”He soon became immersed in Detroit’s local rap scene, putting together homemade cassettes of his rhymes and hustling them around town. He and a close pal, a young black MC named Proof, would compete at Saturday-night open-mike freestyle contests at the Hip-Hop Shop on Detroit’s West 7 Mile, the epicenter of the local rap community. “As soon as I grabbed the mike, I’d get booed,” he later recalled. “Once the motherfuckers heard me rhyme, though, they shut up.”Early on, Em’s talents were noticed by Marky and Jeff Bass, a pair of Detroit hip-hop producers collectively known as the Funky Bass Team, or FBT Productions for short. The duo first heard the teenage Eminem on a late-night radio show on influential local station WHYT, and were so impressed that they called him at the station and invited him to record at their studio.Eminem also paid some early dues performing with such local groups as Champtown, the New Jacks and Soul Intent. The latter act, a duo with DJ Buttafingas, released a single, “Fucking Backstabber”/ “Biterphobia,” in 1996. Em subsequently launched an all-star rap crew, the Dirty Dozen (aka D-12), with Proof and four other locally prominent rappers.While attempting to make his mark musically, Em drifted through a series of frustrating minimum-wage jobs, including an extended stint at Gilbert’s Lounge, a family restaurant in suburban St. Clair Shores. But his real goals were never far from his mind.“I like to throw my ideas just scattered onto paper,” he told The Source. “When I was busing tables I’d write ‘em on my hand or on receipts. I wrote rhymes on the wall in my old house right above my bed. I did it in pencil but one time when I went to wipe it off, it wiped off the paint. My mom fuckin’ flipped.”On Christmas Day of 1995, Em’s longtime girlfriend Kim Scott gave birth to the couple’s daughter, Hailie Jade. His new parenthood motivated him to get more serious about pursuing his musical career. “I wanted to be a father to her, and not do what my father did to me. When Hailie was born, it was kind of a wake-up call to me. It was like, I have to do this shit, and really get up and go for it.”

Excerpted from Eminem by Martin Huxley. Copyright © 2000 Martin Huxley. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Martin Huxley is the author of Nine Inch Nails, Aerosmith, and AC/DC, all for St. Martin's Press. He lives in New York City.

Martin Huxley is the author of Nine Inch Nails, Aerosmith, and AC/DC, all for St. Martin's Press. He lives in New York City.

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Eminem 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
EMINEM is a total hottie. even thought parents dont like what he says, i think his lyrics are the best. But would you want him to go out and do what he says in his lyrics,I DIDNT THINK SOOOOO!!! also he's not afraid of saying what he thinks about someone. im a big fan of eminem!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eminem this book was good i will soon read more about him
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Skinny Shady is my nickname i luv eminem i mean i want to marry him his daughters name is Hallie Jade Mathers not Hallie Jane get it right people me im planning to be a rapper i mean i am bad like rappers i curse off anyone who gets in my way
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got to talk to the REAL eminem!!!! It was so cool. So suck it hard!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hes my fav rapper.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love It
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great rap. You should get a record label.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eminem is the most coolest white rapper ever.I am a rapper my self and I enjoy it.Eminem is my rapping go get er'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Me too im a big fan of eminem too! I grew up listening to eminem when i little with my mom & sister but as i got older i just grew away from his music but now im back listening to him(: Prob my fav song by eminem would be hmm..idkk i love them all!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yo! This isnt a katy pery autobio its eminem so go write yor katy pery lyrics somewhere else bish
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cpass book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Hello." I say walking in silnetly. "I joined the Ac camp finally." I say my cat ear twitching.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in. He touches the marble wall and his atoms slowly turn to it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well i can rap mocking bird. How old are you and are you a boy or a girl?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Y'all know what it is! Katy Perry, Juicy J, uh huh, Lets go! I knew you were, you were gonna come to me, and here you are but you better chose carefully. Cause I, i'm capable of anything, of anything and everything. Make me your Aphrodite, make me your one and only. But dont make your enemy. Your enemy, your enemy. So you wanna play with magic, boy you should what you're falling for, baby do you dare to do this cause I'm coming at you like a Dark horse! Hey! Are you ready for ready for, hey! A perfect storm, perfect storm! Hey! Cause once your mine, your mine! There's no going back! Mark my words! This love will make you levitate, like a bird. Like a bird without a cage. But times urge, if you choose to walk away, dont walk away. It's in the palm of your hand now, baby. It's a yes or a no, no maybe. So just be sure before you give it all to me, all to me, give it all to me! So you wanna play with magic? Boy, you should know what your falling for. Baby, do you dare to do this cause I'm coming at you like a dark horse! Hey! Are you ready for, ready for, hey! A perfect storm, perfect storm, hey! Cause once your mine, once your mine. There's no going back. She's a beast. I call her karma. She'll eat your heart out like Jeffery dama. Be careful, try not to lead her wrong. Shorty hearts on streoids cause her love is so strong. You might fall in love when you meet her. If you get the chance, you better keep her. She is sweet as fire but if you break your heart she turns as cold as a freezer. A fairy tale. Come on. I am her night in shing armour. She will be my sleeping beuaty. I am gonna put her in a coma. Didnt think I love her shorty so bad. Her love is like a drug. I try to hit and quit but little mama so doppa, messed around and got addicted. So you wanna play with magic, boy you should know what your falling for! You should know! Baby do you dare to do this! Cause I am coming at you like a dark hore! Hey! Are you ready for?! Ready for! Hey! A perfect storm! Perfect storm! Hey! Cause once your mine! Once your mine! There's no going back!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
(Sung i very stong british accent)And now were far far away from the boys in the blue<br>And my car smells like chocolate<br> Now think about what you say<br> think about what you do<br> Poison play, Poison Play<br>Poison! <p>Hey oh, nobody know<br>guns hidden under our petty coats<br> and were never going to quit, no were never going to quit no!<p>and your never going to quit(repeat 3X) if you dont stop smoking it!<br>Thats what she said. <br> She said were dressed in black from head to toe<br>guns hidden under our pettycoats, and were never going to quit and were never going to quit no!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
~Days of Summer~ <p>We got these days of summer <br> To remind us of each other.<p>And all the time we spend apart<br> Will keep us in each other's hearts..<p>I'm hoping that the good old days are something that I'll dream about at night <p> Don't matter if it's sooner or later, I know that it's gonna be alright <p>I don't wanna see you go, but it's not forever, it's not forever! <p> Even if it was you know that I would never let it get me down!<p> You're the part of me that makes me better, wherever I go! <p>So I will try... Not to cry.. But no one needs to say goodbye.<p>[many variations of, "Ooh!" "Whoop!" "Whoot!" and "Yeah!"]<p>I don't wanna see you go<br>But it's not forever, it's not forever! <p>Even if it was you know that I would never let it get me down! <p>You're the part of me<br>That makes me better, wherever I go!<p>So i will try...<p>Not to cry..<p>'Cause no one needs to say goodbyye!! <p>(I cry whenever I hear this song. It's so sad but happy at the same time..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi, my name is-huh My name is-wha My name is chika-chika SLIM SHADY! LONG LIVE SLIM SHADY
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I know every single song he's made, every single song he's featured in and what he's talking about in every single song