And the answer: Elton John.
Will the Real Slim Shady please stand up? Elton John purportedly calls Eminem once a week to check up on him. The rapper does not tour as much because touring has the potential to trigger a relapse. He and Elton John have been friends since they performed a duet of his song, "Stan" at the 2001 Grammy awards.
Since 1992, American rapper, songwriter, producer and actor Slim Shady—I mean, Marshall Bruce Mathers III—has been transforming the world of rap. After a turbulent and often unhappy childhood traveling from home to home with his single mother, Eminem found himself inspired by the 1986 Beastie Boys hit, “Licensed to Ill.” He took up rap in high school, which is also when he transformed his name to Eminem (no, not like the candy—like his initials, M & M). The young rapper began attending open mic nights in downtown Detroit, slowly honing his skill and building a reputation in the underground rap scene.
Finally, the opportunity for Eminem to level up his career came in 1997, when he traveled to LA to compete in the Rap Olympics. Eminem took second place, however, his performance was impressive enough to turn the heads of Interscope Records representatives, who then introduced Eminem to Dr. Dre. In 1998, Eminem signed onto Dre’s label. However, Eminem faced instant scrutiny from Dr. Dre fans, as his reputation transformed from that of a well-respected underground MC out of Detroit to a small white rapper on a legend’s label. 24 years, eight award-winning albums and millions of sales later, though, it’s safe to say Eminem was a safe bet.
Did you know?
Yesterday, October 18, was Eminem’s birthday! Celebrate Slim Shady’s 50th birthday by brushing up on his classic hits like “Rap God,” “Lose Yourself,” and “Without Me.”
Learn more about Eminem’s impact and career here.