15 Facts About Eminem Before “The Slim Shady LP”

The saying that an artist spends a lifetime making their first album might be cliché, but it still doesn’t make it any less true.  And exactly fifteen years ago today, Eminem released his proper debut, The Slim Shady LP – an album that superbly showcased years of struggle, a razor sharp wit, and rap skills worthy of Dr. Dre’s beats and midas touch.

In honor of The Slim Shady LP’s 15th anniversary, has come up with a list of 15 things about Eminem from before and during the creation of it that not only turned the project into one of the 90’s last great rap albums, but also helped shape Eminem into the icon that he is today.

Respect due to one of the most successful artists ever for the album which started that ascent and the lifelong journey which went into it.

15). During grade school, Eminem was beaten up so badly once by a school bully, D’Angelo Bailey, that he fell into a coma.  On “Brain Damage,” Eminem got his revenge for that beating and others by hitting him over the head with a broomstick til he broke the wood.  In 2001, Bailey sued Eminem for $1 million dollars for invasion of privacy and slander.  Two years later, the case was thrown out of court by a Judge who delivered that ruling in the form of a rap.

14). Eminem was first introduced to Hip-Hop at age nine when his Uncle Ronnie played him “Reckless” by Ice-T.

13). Kid Rock released his debut, Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast, in 1990, and he was doing an in-store in Detroit not long after when he was approached by Eminem who challenged him to a rap battle.  Rock encouraged him to slow down his flow.  Years later, but before The Slim Shady LP, the two collaborated on “F**k Off” from Kid Rock’s breakthrough album, Devil Without a Cause.

12). When Eminem heard Treach rhyme, he wanted to stop rapping.  Eminem once said, “Proof (Em’s friend and fellow Detroit rapper) brought over the Naughty by Nature tape and played it for me.  When I heard “Yoke the Joker” and then “Wickedest Man Alive” came next, I was like, ‘Okay, I don’t want to do this anymore.  I ain’t that good.’”

11). One of Eminem’s first crews, Soul Intent, released a single called “F***in’ Backstabber.”  The song also featured Proof.  Around that same time, the all-star collective, D12, was put together.  The group included Proof, Mr. Porter, Bizarre, Kon Artis, Swift, and Bugz – while Eminem was just a transitional member.  But after Bugz’s untimely passing in 1999, Em officially joined D12.

10). Mr. Porter produced all of Eminem’s 1996 release, Infinite, and Proof did the drum programming.

9). Infinite put Eminem in a position where he was being compared to Nas and AZ.  However, that should come as no surprise since, as Eminem once pointed out when discussing his beginnings as a rapper, “I was making raps to other people’s songs.  I remember especially writing a lot to Nas’ first album.”

8). After Infinite was not a success, Eminem hit a really rough patch.  He was broke, had been evicted, his girlfriend, Kim, also left him and took their daughter, Hailie, with her.  And in December 1996, he attempted suicide.  The event was even commented on (albeit playfully) in “Cum on Everybody” at the beginning of the second verse.  “I tried suicide once and I’ll try it again / That’s why I write songs where I die at the end.”

7). According to Eminem, he thought of the name Slim Shady while on the toilet.  “”Boom, the name hit me, and right away I thought of all these words to rhyme with it,” he explained in a 1999 interview with Rolling Stone. “So I wiped my ass, got up off the pot and, ah, went and called everybody I knew.”  And while “Just Don’t Give a F**k” is certainly a standout on The Slim Shady LP, it first appeared on The Slim Shady EP.  It was there that Em’s new alter-ego really emerged.

6). Eminem was invited to The Rap Olympics in 1997, a nationwide Hip-Hop battle in Los Angeles.  He didn’t win, but did come in second.

5). In the March 1998 issue of The Source, Eminem appeared in the magazine’s “Unsigned Hype” column.  As Riggs Morales put it in the article, “Point blank, this ain’t your average cat.  This Motor City kid is a one-of-a-kind talent and he’s about to blow past the competition, leaving many melted microphones in the dust.”

4). Dr. Dre became aware of Eminem when Jimmy Iovine played him Em’s tape after receiving it from an Interscope intern.  In 1999, Dre told the press, “In my entire career in the music industry, I have never found anything from a demo tape or a CD. When Jimmy played this, I said, ‘Find him. Now.'”

3). The very first time that Dre and Em worked together in the studio, the majority of the material that they recorded made it on to The Slim Shady LP.  In a VH1 documentary series, Dre said, “I met with Eminem up at Interscope, we talked for a little while, and then went to my house and started recording.  I think that night we recorded like four songs and three of them went to the album, so we just clicked.”  Eminem also commented too by saying, “I had never done that before, making that many songs in that limited time frame that were actually good.”

2). Eminem asked Marilyn Manson to collaborate on “97’ Bonnie & Clyde,” but Manson declined.  “He asked me to sing on his first record, and I would have, except that the song he asked me to sing was… too misogynistic.  It was the [song] about killing his girlfriend and putting her in a trunk,” the shock rocker told Spin in 2007.  “It was on a record I could listen to, but it was too over-the-top for me to associate with. It didn’t represent where I was at.”

1). About a month before The Slim Shady LP hit shelves, the video for “My Name Is” was released and got into heavy rotation on MTV.

And the rest is history.

What do you think of The Slim Shady LP?  Where do you think it ranks in Eminem’s discography?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

  • Othniel Lambert

    He’s top 4 and that includes biggie and pac, and he’s got an evil twin so who you think that 3rd and 4th spot for? lol

  • jubileeshine


  • jubileeshine

    wheres the redman page

  • Shad Reed

    Please note that due to an unforeseen delay in the publishing of this piece, the phrase “And exactly fifteen years ago today” is incorrect. The album was released on February 23, 1999, not February 26, 1999. As the author of this article, I thank you for taking time to read it and I hope it is something you enjoyed.

    • Terrance

      Article was entertaining. The parts about recording 4 songs and hearing Naughty x Nature were dope.


      • Shad Reed

        You’re welcome and thank you for the kind words.

      • reg joe

        I remember coming back from Desert Storm when I first heard Naughty and Treach. That album killed it. Especially with OPP! Damn!

      • Terrance


  • iamwhoiam

    I bet $100 this comment section is gonna turn into a black and white rapper debate, stay tuned…..

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  • Black Jay

    Some dope facts sh*t…..Kinda like the article they had about Kanye not too long ago. AHH needs to continue doing sh*t like this.

    Sidebar…. WTF is Dre wearing in that photo? Lol!

    • Heart of a Slave, Blood of a k

      I would upvote this a 100 times if I could. I was thinking the same thing. I was wondering, is he wearing coveralls and a random head wrap? Definitely not one of those wrecking crew outfits but it looks crazy.

  • David Gonz

    hw was a great rapper. and for that he fell off harder than anyone.

    • T Raf

      He never fell off MMLP2 is a great album 8-9 / 10 easily (with a couple of misses, yes) for anyone with ears.

      • David Gonz

        it sucks bro. youre a stan is all.

      • Michael Saylor

        MMLP2 is his 3rd best album, way better then recovery,relapse,encore, and i have to say its a tad bit better then the eminem show

      • David Gonz

        there is no 3rd best album. he has one classic and one good album. the rest suck.

  • RichFromBX

    it’s when you read shit like that you realize that he didn’t blow up the way he did because he’s white – did it help with fans, sure, but look at all of the other white rappers who haven’t come close to Em’s status.

    Like it or not, Top 5…even the cats that tried to diss Em on songs never said he was wack – they just talked about him being white trash.

  • Freezamon

    What about his time he spent in Newark with the Outsiders….AHH need better historians.

    • Shad Reed

      Just a friendly fyi, I’m aware of his affiliation with The Outsidaz. There were a lot of things to pick from when putting this article together. However, I could only use fifteen events and so that would not be able to include everything pre-SSLP. Thank you for your comment, and it simply strengthens the consensus that Eminem went through a lot and worked extremely hard to make it as a professional emcee.

  • Cindy Mayweather

    I like Eminem..The Ice T Track Reminds Me Of That Break Dance Movie lol. .bac to
    Sponla . c0m

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  • Astritt Gashi

    those time will never come again i just i am proud that i live in same time as slim shady

  • Jessica Moulin

    I love the article and the album- and besides infinite, which in my opinion was extremely under rated, SSLP is my favorite album that made it really big. Its crazy how different the edited version of “My Name Is…” !!

    • Shad Reed

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I had a lot of fun writing it too.