Not Just Another Student

Posted by M ws On Monday, August 1, 2011 0 comments
It is not easy to coach students. In fact, it can be quite a gruelling affair for both parties. However, in time, the rewards are satisfying and long-lasting. Jean-Pierre, my friend's son, came to me last November. Through the months, he has been gaining momentum and has made progress in many areas. I have known him since he was three days old :-). Today, I had to tighten the screws and he diligently sent me three assignments. Here's one that he completed for me today on Eminem. Am very proud of him and hope that he will continue to be improve from one degree to another.


Marshall Bruce Mather lll, more commonly known as Eminem or his alter ego Slim Shady, was born on October 17th, 1972 in a fairly large town of Saint Joseph, Missouri. His father: Marshall Bruce Mathers Jr abandoned his family when Marshall was only 18 months of age. From then on his mother, Deborah R. Nelson Mathers-Briggs, raised Marshall single-handedly. The family was nomadic, moving to different states across America from Savannah to Kansas City until they settled down in Warren, Michigan a suburb of Detroit. By the time Marshall and his mom settled in Warren, he was already 12 years of age.

His childhood was far from pleasant, having received bullying in the form of physical abuse by DeAngelo Bailey. The shocking abuse commenced on October 15th, 1981 when Marshall was 9 years-old. The abuse hospitalized Marshall and made his mother file a lawsuit against the Detroit school system for failing to protect her son from this horrific abuse. Bailey first started by splitting Marshall’s lip and knocking-the-wind out of him. This escalated to more violent beatings which articles from newspapers stated that he sustained injuries to his head, face, back and legs until the point where Bailey threw a snowball encasing a heavy object before he claimed another beating.

Marshall was always on the move because of his family’s meager financial status landing themselves into public housing, mobile homes, or under the care of relatives. This is where he witnessed his mother taking prescribed drugs, such as: Vicodin and Valium. Only later in his life, when confronted with interviews, he stated that his mother was abusing the drugs; which was further enforced with a lawsuit from his mother pressing charges of defamation. Not only did he make an assumption about her drug addiction but also accused her of having Munchausen syndrome (a factitious disorders where the “patients” feign diseases, illness, or psychological trauma to attract attention or sympathy). Although never justified, Marshall brought up her disorder in his song "Cleaning Out My Closet" (The Eminem Show, 2002) by singing: "my whole life I was made to believe I was sick when I wasn't... it makes you sick to your stomach, doesn't it?"

Even though faced with many obstacles, rap was an outlet for his frustration. At the age of 14 Marshall joined a group called “Bassmint Productions” under the name of “M and M” procuring the approval of the predominant African-American industry. Marshall repeated the ninth grade twice before finally dropping out of college. At the age of 17, he dedicated his time and effort to becoming a professional rapper. He began by recording his first album Infinite by Bassmint recording studio. This burning passion to succeed was fueled by the announcement that Marshall was going to be a father. Critics claimed that his style of rapping echoed that of Nas and AZ. After the failure of the album, Kim ended their relationship, did not allow Marshall, to see his newborn child. He attempted suicide with a drug overdose of Tylenol, but luckily failed. Once their daughter, Hailie Jade Scott, was born she went on to be an important part his life. Marshall wanted her to have the childhood he never had - having a fatherly figure and no financial worries.

Marshall’s stage name “M&M” then was changed to what we current know as Eminem. He participated in rapping competitions placing runner up in freestyle Rap Olympics 1997. Founder of Interscope Records, Jimmy Iovine witnessed Eminem’s achievement during the Rap Olympics and was impressed by Eminem’s fresh and bold style of rapping. Soon after Iovine asked Eminem for a demo tape and played it for their super-producer Dr. Dre who instantly fell in love with what he heard. This sparked a creative partnership between the two rappers, Dr. Dre and Eminem, which last till to date. Interscope rapidly signed Eminem, soon after The Slim Shady EP was released, February 1999. This was Eminem’s debut album with Dr. Dre being his producer. Slim Shady was Eminem’s Hyde, an alter ego. "Slim Shady is the evil side of me, the sarcastic, foul-mouthed side of me," he said during an interview with the Source.

Eminem expresses his gratitude towards Dr. Dre in the platinum single I Need a Doctor released on February 1st 2011. Eminem mentions a great deal about Dr. Dre being a mentor and how he came to Eminem’s side at his lowest point in life. Eminem wrote: “You picked me up, breathing life in me, I owe my life to you.”

The Slim Shady EP was praised as “light years ahead of the material he had been writing beforehand” by Billboard. The album contains various songs relating to violence, deceit and murder.

A year later, Eminem released a new album: The Marshall Mathers LP selling over 1.76 million copies in its first week, surpassing Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle. This album was similar and yet different to its predecessor The Slim Shady EP. The song “The Real Slim Shady” sparked controversy among celebrities, insulting them by making claims about Christina Aguilera performing oral sex with Fred Durst and Carson Daly. “Stan” another song on this album shows Eminem showing the pressure and stress being placed on him by his record company which mirroring the song “97 Bonnie and Clyde” from the album The Slim Shady EP. Although this album reached platinum status ten times, there was still the GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) which condemned Eminem’s lyrics to be homophobic. They took to the streets at the Staples Centre where the Grammy awards were being hosted.

Although Eminem’s rise to stardom, he never forgot his roots and what he truly believes in and what he raps about. His third major alum The Eminem Show topping the chart as well as selling over a million copies in its first week. This rapper speaks his mind and how he feels. This album reflects upon the stress stardom has put on the relationship he has with his wife and daughter as well as releasing the tension he has about a bouncer, he found kissing his wife. This album again reached ten times platinum.

Encore! Eminem never stops as he released yet another album named Encore which was released on December 2003. It featured the songs: “Just Lose It” and “Mockingbird”. “Just Lose It” defamed and insulted Michael Jackson, retaliating by reporting to a Los-Angeles radio show Steve Harvey about his displeasure towards video. “Mockingbird” was one of his timeless songs where he reminisces about is daughter and he depicts her life from her eyes. He also has a song that went against war: “Mosh”

Truly Eminem is rap legend worthy to be deemed best Rapper of the 21st century. His impact on the hip hop community has set alight many flames. His bravery can be seen throughout his life from the suburbs of Detroit to the limelight he has achieved. Till date he will be an inspiration for many generations to come. Eminem went on to produce more award winning album’s such as Relapse, Relapse: Refill as well as his latest Recovery.

*Jean-Pierre is taking the IB Course at an international school. He hopes to be an engineer. 

*Note: I told JP that he did not need to complete this assignment as he still owes me the work I gave him on Metamorphosis (Kafka) and The Stranger (Albert Camus) and three poems by Blake not forgetting other stuff as well.

*The purpose of this task : development of writing skills, topic sentences and other aspects of the syllabus.

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