Missouri or Michigan: Who Gets to Lay Claim to Eminem?
Although we here in the Mitten feel a close connection to the 8 Mile star and claim him as our own, did you know Eminem was actually born in St. Joseph? And no, not St. Joseph, Michigan--St. Joseph, Missouri!
Growing up in Michigan, I was an adolescent in the 2000s so I watched Eminem's career take off from the start. Once the Slim Shady LP dropped, it was like all the boys in my class suddenly dyed their hair platinum blonde overnight.
To us here in Michigan, Eminem is synonymous with Detroit. That's just how it is and always will be. However, once I became an adult and my career to me out to Springfield, Missouri my eyes were opened. I was surprised to learn the entire state of Missouri claimed to tout Eminem as being one of their own! Wait...what?
Marshall Mathers was born in St. Joseph, Missouri in October 1972. His mother was just 15 when she gave birth and his father abandoned the family when Eminem was just 6 months old. Eminem's childhood was full of instability and throughout his early years the family made multiple moves between St. Joseph, Savannah, MO, and Kansas City. Wait, does that mean Eminem should be a Chiefs fan?!
Move to Michigan
The moving continued for years; for a time the family shuffled between both Missouri and suburban Detroit, before finally settling on the eastside of Detroit when he was 12 years old.
Although he'd always had an interest in rap, it wasn't until Em was 14 years old that he began to participate in rap battles and attend open mics at clubs along 7 Mile Road. At first he went by the name "M&M" but that eventually evolved into "Eminem."
Career in Detroit
Though initially an outcast in the Detroit rap scene, he soon gained a reputation and was recruited by several rap groups, joining the group New Jacks in 1988. After recording several albums with various groups, Eminem recorded his debut album Infinite in 1996. It was mostly ignored by Detroit radio stations and was declared a commercial failure.
It wasn't until Eminem recorded his Slim Shady EP that he got his big break. A rep. from Interscope Records happened to be in the audience the night Em won 2nd place in the 1997 Rap Olympics. The rep forwarded the EP to CEO Jimmy Iovine, who then played the EP for Dr. Dre. Dre loved it so much he immediately signed Eminem to his Aftermath label. The rest is pretty much history!
Missouri vs. Michigan
Although he was born in Missouri, it seems that Eminem spent his most crucial and pivotal years here in the Mitten. That's got to count for something, right? I wonder if you ask the man himself, where would Eminem say he's from? The answer will always be Michigan for me!