Eminem is the best-selling rapper in history, having sold over 200 million records worldwide since his debut in 1999. He was endorsed by hip hop heavyweight Dr. Dre, who helped executive produce his first album, The Slim Shady LP, and was a respected emcee on the battle rap scene.
Looking back on his decades-long career, the Detroit lyricist penned a candid article for XXL, where he discussed his battle with drug addiction, music, and addressed the criticism he faced in the genre. Regarding the flak he received, he wrote, “When things started happening for me, I was getting a lot of heat, being a white rapper.” He noted that several hip hop publications, such as XXL, ran stories dissing him.
“I was used to reading things like that about me, but it hurt because I felt they [XXL] didn’t know me to make that kind of judgment. Coming up, I had to deal with that a lot. I wanted to be respectful because what I do is Black music. I knew I was coming into it as a guest in the house,” wrote the “Lose Yourself” rapper in the article published on Sept. 14.
Eminem acknowledged that to some, it may have seemed as though his career skyrocketed in part because he is white. “I understood, at the same time, everybody’s perception of a white guy coming into hip hop and all of a sudden things start happening for him… Obviously, I was upset, and it wasn’t just magazines. I had rappers left and right taking shots at me. I was used to that, too. Coming up through the battle scene, that didn’t mean s**t to me, you know? I would go head-to-head with whoever,” he added.
He currently has the most gold and platinum-selling singles, as well as six RIAA Diamond Awards. It is a feat that no other rapper has come close to achieving. This month, he also became the first hip hop artist to win Grammys, an Oscar, and an Emmy. If he earns a Tony award, he will make history again by becoming the first rapper to reach EGOT status.
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