Marshall Bruce Mathers III, better known as rapper extraordinaire Eminem, has sold almost 40 million albums and more than 30 million track downloads, founded his own record label and his own radio channel, and moved into acting, with one movie appearance in the wraps and three more scheduled for 2013. In The Way I Am he tells his story in a way that will appeal and amuse. I found the book easy to read, not loaded down with too much rap talk, but written in a straightforward conversational style. A white rapper is enough of a novelty all in itself (Eminem is a mixed bag of European ancestry without a single African admixture) but there’s real talent here and he deserves all of his success. Raised in a single-mother household, Mathers became interested in rap as a teenager and started performing on the amateur circuit under the pseudonym “M&M” which he simply respelled later on. His professional career started in 1992 with the release of Infinite, but he still had a number of personal hurdles to get over before he could achieve serious success.
Like a long conversation with a great artist
The experience of reading The Way I Am is sort of like sitting across from Eminem in a living room and taking a long interview. It’s conversational and he tries to convey how it felt to go from his origins to fame and success, with all the good and bad consequences. He goes into his professional relationships, such as with Proof, more than his personal ones, such as with his twice-married wife Kimberly Scott, his difficulties with prescription drugs, and the libel lawsuit by his mother. The need to have an entourage whenever he appears in public comes out here, and the questions about where his career is going to go in the future. I got the impression of a man who is a little confused yet with what to do with his abilities, but I feel confident he’ll figure it out. This Eminem Biography is a good insight into the character and attitudes of a great artist, like having an extended conversation.