Eminem REAL NAME: Marshall Mathers Alter Ego: Slim Shady Shady's Circle: Wife, Kim; daughter, Hailie Jade Birth date: October 17, 1972 Sign: Libra Hometown: It's complicated: Eminem was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, but traveled back and forth between Detroit and Kansas City until eventually moving to the East Side of Detroit at age 12 with his now-litigious mother, Debbie Information: In a few short months, Eminem has gone from being one of the most heralded emcees in independent hip-hop to one of the most provocative, controversial rappers in contemporary pop music. The overnight success of his debut album, The Slim Shady LP, literally rocked the rap world, making him one of the biggest music success stories of 1999. But Eminem is more than the latest rap artist to blow up. He's spent the last several years paying his dues, and his lyrics, which cover topics such as poverty and single parenthood, reflect a rough upbringing. His unlikely acceptance by the pop mainstream has made some wonder how his popularity will affect the future of hip-hop music. Before he had the world singing along to "My Name Is..," he was Marshall Mathers, a poor kid growing up in Warren, Mich. "It's like the real, stereotypical, trailer park, white trash," Eminem told Rap Pages earlier this year. As a child, he and his mother moved constantly, staying at relatives' homes in places as disparate as Warren and Kansas City, Mo. As a result, Marshall found it difficult to make friends, and he retreated into his comic books and television. "I didn't really start opening up until eighth grade, going into ninth," he said. When Mathers was 12, his mother finally settled down on the east side of Detroit. There, he attended Lincoln Junior High School and Osbourne High School, hanging out with friends and listening to artists like LL Cool J and the 2 Live Crew. He battled against other rappers at his high school, and quickly gained a reputation as a nimble rhymer. But his penchant for skipping school led him to fail the ninth grade. After dropping out of high school, he held down several odd jobs, while continuing to work on his craft. "I tried to go back to school five years ago," he said, "but I couldn't do it. I just wanted to rap and be a star one day."

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