“Eminem was born Marshall Bruce Mathers III on October 17, 1972, in St. Joseph, Missouri, the only child of Deborah R. (Nelson) Mathers-Briggs (born 1955) and Marshall Bruce Mathers, Jr (born 1947). He is of Scottish, English, German, Swiss, Polish, and Luxembourgian ancestry. His mother was 15 when she had him and nearly died during his 73-hour birth. His father abandoned the family when he was 18 months old, and he was raised solely by his mother. By the age of 12, Mathers and his mother had moved between various cities and towns in Missouri (including Saint Joseph, Savannah, and Kansas City) before they settled in Warren, Michigan, and in Mathers’ teenage years, Detroit.
As a child, Mathers developed an interest in storytelling and aspired to become a comic book artist before discovering hip hop. In 1982 his mother sued his school over the bullying Eminem received from D’Angelo Bailey, the bully Em rapped about on the song “”Brain Damage””. When Mathers was nine years old, his maternal uncle Ronald “”Ronnie”” Polkinghorn (1971-1991) introduced him to the genre after giving him a copy of Ice-T’s single “”Reckless””. After obtaining a copy of the Beastie Boys album Licensed to Ill as a teenager, Mathers became interested in music, performing amateur raps at age 14 under the pseudonym “”M&M”” and joined a local hip hop group called “”Bassmint Productions””. Around this time they released their second EP, Steppin’ onto the Scene. They later changed their name to “”Soul Intent”” and around 1995 they released their first single called “”Fuckin’ Backstabber”” under the record label Mashin’ Duck Records. Although he was enrolled at Lincoln High School in Warren, he frequently participated in freestyle battles at Osborn High School on Detroit’s east side. Despite a well-documented struggle succeeding in a predominantly black industry, he gained the approval of underground hip hop audiences. After repeating the ninth grade three times due to truancy and near-failing grades, he dropped out of high school at age 17.
In 1991, Mathers’ uncle Ronald committed suicide. Mathers has a tattoo reading “”Ronnie R.I.P.”” on his upper left arm. He also mentions his uncle in the songs “”Stan,”” “”Cleanin’ Out My Closet,”” and “”My Dad’s Gone Crazy””.”