Born Marshall Mathers, Eminem rose from the public housing works of Missouri and Detroit to become, for a time, the most successful rapper in the world. From his 1999 major-label debut, "The Slim Shady LP," Eminem became a magnet for massive adoration and vitriol, dragging the rap industry into mainstream recognition with diamond-selling albums, Grammy nominations, and even Oscars while at the same time drawing outrage from politicians and suburban parents alike for the subversive and violent lyrics that he filled speakers across America with.
Regardless of your stance on his music, Eminem's massive success remains undeniable. It may not be what it once was, but Marshall Mathers still holds the highest-selling rap album of all time, "The Marshall Mathers LP," and continues to fill out arenas even well after his critical and commercial peak. So with that in mind, what is Slim Shady really worth today?
What Is Eminem's Net Worth in 2019?
According to the financial site Wealthy Gorilla, Eminem's net worth in 2019 is $210 million, making him the seventh most wealthy rapper.
Notably, unlike other wealthier rappers such as Kanye West, Jay-Z, and his friend, mentor, and longtime collaborator, Dr. Dre, Eminem acquired his wealth without straying far from music into ventures like clothing lines, audiogear, or investment portfolios.
Marshall Mathers was born in St. Joseph, Mo. on October 17, 1972. His father (who recently died) abandoned his family while Mathers was still an infant. Eminem has claimed in interviews that he frequently wrote letters to his estranged father, who had moved to California where he had two more kids, though each came back addressed, "return to sender."
Without a father, he was left to the care of his mother, whose struggles with mental illness and substance abuse kept her from holding down any long-term jobs. Consequently, Mathers' childhood found him moving back and forth between Detroit and Missouri, often being taken care of by other family members including his aunt, uncle, and half-brother.
With a childhood of being always on the move, Mathers couldn't make friends at the 30 different schools he attended. In Detroit, where he lived and went to school in a majority-black neighborhood, classmates frequently bullied him, the most serious incident involving students flipping him on his head, putting the young Mathers in the hospital with a cerebral hemorrhage that put him in and out of consciousness for five days.
While he struggled in school, failing the ninth grade three times, Mathers had a passion for comic books and storytelling prior to rap, a passion that translated into studying the dictionary and developing his own command of language. His love of the music already existed though, dating back to when he was 9 and his uncle played the track "Reckless" featuring Ice-T. His own work didn't start till he was 14 and started competing at rap battles around Detroit. By 17, Mathers dropped out of Lincoln High school in Michigan and worked odd jobs to support himself and his mother while pursuing rap on the side.
It took a long windup for Eminem to reach the heights of global success. After dropping out of school, he held odd jobs as a cook, dishwasher, and factory-worker while desperately trying to land a record deal. On top of that, he had begun a relationship with a runaway, Kim Scott, who had moved in with him and his mother when she was 13 and Mathers was 15. The two had an on-and-off relationship, and eventually, they had an unplanned child, Hailie Scott, in 1995.
After making a name in the Detroit underground rap scene, he released the album "Infinite" on an independent label. It was a commercial flop and garnered little attention even within the Detroit rap scene. The album focused on Mathers' struggles raising his daughter and lacked the dark comic violence that later became the rapper's trademark style.
Mathers had made his first major musical endeavor, and it was a flop. Fueled by disappointment and the doubt of others, he used the time outside his 60 hours a week cooking and washing dishes to mold a harsher, more aggressive, and above all, angry style, culminating in the creation of his nihilistic alter-ego, Slim Shady.
Then, without warning, Mathers was fired from his job. At 25, with no income, his girlfriend Kim leaving him with their daughter, and a growing dependency on painkillers, Eminem almost took his life through an overdose of Tylenol. It didn't work, and soon after, with a call from emerging rap artist advocate Wendy Day and hopes for a prize of $500 and a Rolex, Mathers decided to enter the 1997 Rap Olympics in L.A.
The night before the event, Eminem found an eviction notice at his home, but with nowhere else to go, broke in to sleep on the unheated floor of his former residence. Once he arrived at the Rap Olympics, he breezed through the early rounds of the competition with one purportedly legendary battle performance after another. He ultimately lost to an established local battle rapper, Otherwize. Eminem left the stage empty handed, but before leaving, he ran into an employee of Jimmy Iovine's label, Interstate Records, who asked for a copy of his latest CD, "The Marshall Mathers LP."
The CD eventually found its way to Interstate Record member, platinum-selling rapper, and N.W.A. veteran, Dr. Dre. Immediately impressed, Dre overlooked doubts around working with a white rapper and demanded Slim Shady be flown in. Mathers got into Dr. Dre's studio and started rhyming his future hit-single "My Name Is." Convinced enough, Dr. Dre gave Mathers the tools to go from living in a trailer home with his mother to working on "The Slim Shady LP," and what happened from there is history.
"The Marshall Mathers LP" (2000)
"The Slim Shady LP" made Eminem an instant success, selling over three million albums, scoring a Grammy for best rap album, and inciting a firestorm of controversy over its violent lyrics. "The Marshall Mathers LP" would shoot him into the stratosphere.
Fueled by pop-culture, resentment over new-found fame, and a drug-fueled stint in Amsterdam (a city which Mathers originally intended to name the album after), "The Marshall Mathers LP" dropped and, within a week, became the fastest-selling rap album of all time with 1.7 million copies sold. It remains the highest selling rap album of all time with 35 million copies sold worldwide.
Along with being a commercial blockbuster, the album garnered critical praise and strong improvement on his "Slim Shady" debut. Today, it's looked back on as an essential within hip-hop's canon, with inclusion in greatest albums of all time lists by Rolling Stones, Times, and Q, and greatest albums of the 2000s by Complex and Pitchfork. Despite lyrics bristling with contempt for the music industry, including "You think I give a damn about a Grammy?" Eminem was in fact, nominated by the Grammys for Album of the Year and won Best Rap Album of the Year. He performed a duet at the ceremony with Elton John, a response to those who criticized the homophobic content of his lyrics.
These sort of criticisms came to a fever pitch following the release of the "Mathers LP." Lynne Cheney, former chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Humanities and wife of Dick Cheney, testified before a Senate committee investigating the effects of violent imagery on young people. She used Eminem as the prime example, saying, "I want to focus on one company, Seagram, that is currently marketing Eminem, a rap singer who advocates murder and rape."
Nothing came of the committee, though. Eminem then and now has adamantly denied that the homophobia and misogyny present in his lyrics reflect his actual views, typically insisting they be read as outrage for the sake of outrage rather than literal reflections of his beliefs.
"8 Mile" (2002)
In 2002, as Eminem was at the peak of his career, with "The Eminem Show" marking his third blockbuster album, the rapper went in an unexpected direction: acting. Teaming up with "LA Confidential" director Curtis Hanson, the film "8 Mile" was a semi-autobiographical account of Eminem's early life, following the story of Jimmy Smith, aka 'B-Rabbit,' as he struggled to make a name for himself in the Detroit rap scene while surviving the poverty and violence of his neighborhood.
Mathers took the new role very seriously, going through an intense acting boot camp, and reportedly working 16 hours a day during shooting. The hard work paid off as the film became a critical and commercial hit, netting an impressive $242 million with a minimal budget of $41 million, and even scoring an Oscar for Best Original Song--the first rap song to win or even be nominated for such an accolade, and something so unexpected Eminem didn't even show up for the ceremony.
Still, all the success had taken a toll on Mathers. His music had made him the subject of numerous defamation lawsuits (including one from his own mother), he'd gone through a whirlwind marriage and divorce with Kim Scott (though his numerous songs about murdering her may have contributed to their quick falling out), and his longtime pill addiction had reached its peak during the intense filming sessions for "8 Mile."
Following his less-successful follow up to "The Eminem Show" in 2004, "Encore," Eminem withdrew from music for a time, still touring but writing very little. Consumed by personal problems with Kim Mathers, who he remarried and re-divorced in 2006, and custody battles over his daughter Hallie, he continued to lean on pills for support, leading to a near-fatal overdose in 2007. A quick delivery to the hospital saved his life, but it had become clear to Mathers that his life was spiraling out of control.
Help came from a one-time collaborator and unexpected friend, Sir Elton John. The knight and pop star royalty had undergone his own addiction struggles decades earlier and had helped many other celebrities exercise their personal demons. With a bit of his help, Eminem finally managed to kick his addictions in early 2008. He documented his struggles with this in his highly-autobiographical 2010 album, "Recovery." The album sold well, featuring hit singles like "Not Afraid" and the Rhianna-featuring "Love the Way You Lie." It marked a notable shift in Eminem's artistic direction, taking a more upbeat and inspirational tone than his prior works and leaning further into pop motifs that a younger Mathers may have sneered at.
Following Eminem's tepidly received 2017 album "Revival," the latest in a string of commercially-successful but critically-mixed works, Eminem surprise released the album "Kamikaze" less than a year after his last album had dropped. It received many of the criticisms that his prior albums had, namely that Eminem continues to display an inability to update his style to match the changing norms of the rap industry. Still, many noted it as a return to form in regards to the dark but comedic tone that made people love Eminem in the first place, escaping from the somber, anthemic pop that had dogged his writing since 2008's "Relapse."
Regardless of critical reception, the album became another commercial hit in Eminem's career, topping the charts with better sales than "Revival" and becoming one of the best-selling albums of the year.
The criticism following Eminem since "Guilty Conscience" first invaded the airwaves in 1999 is that his lyrics display unrepentant homophobia and misogyny, frequently advocating violence against women and LGBTQ people. Eminem has repeatedly defended this by claiming the distinction between his own views and his artistic persona and during the 2001 Grammys, performed with Elton John to show support for the gay community, but that hasn't stopped people from questioning the effect his violent and directed lyrics could have on impressionable young listeners.
There was, of course, the congressional investigation led by Lynne Cheney in 2000, with aims to curtail the marketing of Eminem's music, who she labeled as a "violent misogynist." This was by and large written off as sensationalism, and the post-9/11 war on terror quickly washed away any serious political focus on violent media content.
While direct political focus may have faltered, the press hasn't let up on Eminem, with everyone from Pitchfork to the New York Times to NME pointing out that while Eminem has tried to present a more mature version of himself, he's failed to wean off his old habits of using violence, homophobia, and misogyny to carry his lyrics. As of late, he dropped a diss track aimed at Tyler, the Creator, in which one of his lines dug at the gay rapper's sexuality. It was generally received as being in bad taste and in recent interviews, Eminem himself admitted it went too far, saying "In my quest to hurt him, I realize I was hurting a lot of other people as well."
Eminem's relationship with his family has been contentious to say the least. Even before he became a world-famous star, his girlfriend, Kim, had left him and attempted to keep sole custody of their daughter, Hailie.
They patched up their relationship while Eminem was working on the "The Slim Shady LP." However, during their separation, Eminem had secretly brought in their daughter to the recording studio to help record a track "97 Bonnie and Clyde." The song was a murder-fantasy were Eminem raps about killing Kim and disposing her body in a lake with their daughter nearby. Once "The Slim Shady LP" dropped and Kim heard the track, it placed an understandable strain on the their relationship.
Despite this, they married in 1999. The honeymoon phase was destined to be brief though, as in Eminem's 2000 follow-up "The Marshall Mathers LP," he wrote the track "Kim," another murder fantasy in which Eminem talked about how he killed Eminem prior to bringing her to the lake in "97 Bonnie and Clyde." As producer Dr. Dre said, "If I was her, I would have ran when I heard that s***. It's over the top - the whole song is him screaming. It's good, though."
While the public didn't hear any official comment from Kim on the song, her thoughts became apparent after a suicide attempt in 2000, triggered by an Eminem performance she attended. Before the show, Kim had specifically asked Mathers not to play "Kim" since she'd be in the audience, but ignoring her request, he brought a blow-up doll resembling Kim on stage and beat it while performing the song. "Seeing the crowd's response and everybody cheering, singing the words and laughing and it just felt like everyone was staring at me. I knew that it was about me and that night I went home and I tried to commit suicide."
The two filed for divorce a month later, with the process finalized in 2001. Little surfaced about their relationship until in 2006, the two suddenly became remarried. Again, the marriage was a brief one as divorce followed in less than three months, with Kim citing Eminem's lingering drug addiction as the root cause. A contentious fight over custody of their daughter followed, with Eminem eventually winning the right to joint-custody.
Following Eminem's sobriety, it appears animosity between the two has cooled. Eminem has claimed to be on good-terms with his ex-wife and Kim has said, "We're really close friends, we're just trying to raise our kids together and make it as normal for them as possible."
Beyond his wife, Eminem's relations with his parents have also been highly strained. In 1999, his mother sued him for $10 million over supposed defamation in the song "My Name Is," where Mathers portrayed her as a drug addict. The judge largely dismissed the case, and Debbie Mathers received a settlement of only $1,600.
The two maintained a distant relationship after that, with Eminem frequently using her as the subject of hatred fueling his tracks. In 2014 though, Eminem released the song "Headlights," where he apologized to his mother for any pain his music may have caused her. On Mother's Day, he released a Spike Lee directed music video for the song in which the two reunite.
Eminem hasn't been shy about voicing his distaste for the latest president. In October, 2017 he dropped a video of him freestyling for the BET award in which he took aim at the Trump administration, with lines like "But we better give Obama props; Cause what we got in office now's a kamikaze; That'll probably cause a nuclear holocaust." The move was particularly notable because of the common perception that a significant overlap exists between Eminem fans and Trump supporters. Eminem address this explicitly in the freestyle, saying, "And any fan of mine who's a supporter of his; I'm drawing in the sand a line: you're either for or against."
Following the freestyle, Eminem claims members of Trump's secret service came to his studio and questioned him in an attempt to discern whether the rapper was making a genuine threat on the president's life.
Eminem has had a number of successful endorsements over the years, netting him a good bit of cash along the way. One of his most publicized has been with Chrysler, the struggling auto company based near his hometown of Detroit. In the 2011 Super Bowl, an acclaimed ad for the company dropped with the beat to Eminem's "Lose Yourself" playing over the rapper's narration interspersed with footage of Detroit. In the same Super Bowl, Mathers was also featured in Brisk Iced Tea's first foray into mainstream advertising in nine years.
The rapper has also had lucrative endorsements with his mentor Dr. Dre's audiowear company, Beats by Dre, along with the Carhartt clothing line and Casio (CSIOY) watches.
Eminem has come a long way from the run-down home near 8 Mile Road featured on "The Marshall Mathers LP." Today, he lives in an 8,900 square foot home in Clinton Township, Michigan, which he purchased in 2000 for $1.5 million.
He used to own a second home, a 17,000 square foot mansion in the Rochester neighborhood of Detroit. He bought the home in 2003 for $4.75 million and sold it in August of 2017 for a huge loss at just under $2 million.