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17th Oct 2017

One horrific moment in Eminem’s life made him the rapper that he is today

"You can do anything you set your mind to, man."

Darragh Berry

Happy 45th birthday, Marshall Mathers.

If you could pick any opponent to go into a staring competition with, Eminem would be one of the last names on paper that you would want to square up to.

He has a death stare that’s similar to Roy Keane, the white of his eyes pop out of his head and in his mind, you can only imagine that he has already thought about three different ways of killing you.


You don’t even need to be looking at his face to know that he has a lot of built-up anger. His songs fire people up.

You simply don’t listen to Eminem while you’re relaxing in the house, you stick him on while you’re running or when you’re angry, upset, frustrated.

“This kind of music, use it, and you get amped to do shit.
Whenever you hear some shit and you can’t refuse it.”

These are the opening lyrics to his song, ‘Fight Music’. Eminem has been fighting all his life, whether it’s a lawsuit or a public feud, but his biggest fight came when he was just a kid, a moment that shaped his career not only as a rapper but as a person.

He was bullied badly as a child and one incident even saw the man known as Slim Shady put in a coma for almost a week.

According to MTV, it all started just two days before his 9th birthday when a bully named D’Angelo Bailey split his lip and knocked the wind out of him and from there, the beatings got worse and worse.

A couple of months later, Bailey rolled up a snowball which contained a “heavy object or a piece of ice” and hurled it in Eminem’s direction, breaking his nose before subsequently beating him up.

However, the worst incident came when Eminem was at his most vulnerable. His back was turned, he was urinating and thought he had escaped from the bad world, albeit, for a minute or two.

Bailey came in and beat young Mathers to within an inch of his life, leaving him with “sustained injuries to his head, face, back and legs”.

His mother sued the Detroit school system for failing to protect him – her son had suffered a concussion and temporary loss of vision in one eye – but her lawsuit for $10,000 in damage was eventually dismissed on the grounds of “governmental immunity”.

Eminem left the school but that moment never left him and he noted the whole ordeal on a song called ‘Brain Damage’.

It featured on his breakthrough album, The Slim Shady LP, but he didn’t want sympathy, he wanted people to know that all those things had to happen for him to get to where he was.

Clip via Notorious HipHop

“Way before my baby daughter Hailey/I was harassed daily by this fat kid named D’Angelo Bailey/An eighth grader who acted obnoxious, cause his father boxes/so everyday he’d shove me in the lockers/One day he came in the bathroom while I was pissin’/And had me in the position to beat me into submission/He banged my head against the urinal til he broke my nose/Soaked my clothes in blood, grabbed me and choked my throat.”

He never spoke much about his time of being bullied, in fact, Bailey sued Eminem for violation of privacy but was happy to admit in interviews that he had actually bullied Eminem.

The case was thrown out and the judge even rapped the ruling: “Bailey thinks he’s entitled to some monetary gain/Because Eminem used his name in vain.”

In an interview with Billboard, Eminem opened up about the beatings in depth and explained how he used the hurt to build a rap career.

“I think the message will resonate with many kids contemplating an easy way out. Even the biggest of stars have gone through bullying and survived it and, furthermore, have come out on top – so can you.

“I was beat up in the bathrooms, in the hallways, shoved in the lockers – for the most part for being the new kid. What got me through this phase of my life was rapping. I found something. ‘Yeah, this kid over here may have more chicks or better clothes, but he can’t do this like me,’ I started to feel like I was getting a little respect.

“I felt like a fighter coming up.”

Now, that up-and-coming fighter is one of the greatest of all time and this week doesn’t only celebrate his birthday, it also remembers the moment that changed his life 36 years ago.