RAP, an acronym for Rhythm And Poetry, provided Eminem with an outlet for his dysfunction, his pain and his genius! Another dark and dismal start in life used to light a fire of extraordinary, genius, talent and determination to succeed.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as I headed to Twickenham Stadium for the final date of his Revival Tour. Now at 45, one of the most successful performers of all time. I last saw Eminem 16 years ago, when he was still an angry young man.
Eminem translated his angry, pained hits of the past 20 years into a spiritual force. 80,000 people in tune, on side and giving back felt incredible. We were tearful, moved and inspired by his phenomenal energy and the pure alchemy. When he brought up 3d screens of the universe, brought out Ed Sheeran and added 50 Cent, he brought us to our knees.
Eminem, born 1972, to be different, an outsider. Struggling to find his identity, or a true home base, he was a target for bullies, at school and on the mean streets of St. Josephs, Missouri. A tormented existence turned him into a reclusive child, alone in his bedroom he would sketch his heroes and create his own relatively peaceful reality.
He and his mother survived on welfare, plus the odd pay out from lawsuits she’d dream up over minor, or imaginary, incidents. She went on to sue Eminem himself, in 1999, claiming $10m for Defamation of Character. She eventually received $1,600 and withdrew the case.
Em brought up his younger brother Nathan, trying to protect him from abusive behaviours of his mother and her various, often violent, partners. The boys were regularly made ill by Mum, Debbie, who was diagnosed with Münchausen Syndrome By Proxy. A complex illness, MSP’s lie about a child’s symptoms to get attention. Creating symptoms by poisoning/withholding food, or causing an infection. Some even have their child undergo painful or risky tests and procedures in an attempt to gain sympathy from their family members or community. His childhood recollections are heart wrenching. Eminem often recalls being drugged by his mother at an early age, taken to hospital and undergoing endless needless tests, to satisfy her MSP.
Passion, purpose and practice…. The young Eminem was tunnel-focus and let nothing get in the way of his dream. He practiced freestyle rapping relentlessly and applied his full intensity to the dream of becoming a ‘Rap God’ – the title of his 2013 album.
Now middle aged, with a net worth of around $200,000,000 – the boy has done good. A shining example of turning adversity into advantage, pain into purpose and darkness into light.
This long time fan was deeply humbled and inspired.