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How Did Eminem Get His Iconic Stage Name?

Jess Hardiman

| Last updated 

How Did Eminem Get His Iconic Stage Name?

It will come as no surprise whatsoever to learn that Eminem’s name isn’t actually Eminem - in fact, he makes no secret of it, having given frequent nods to his real name in his material, including the title 2000 studio album The Marshall Mathers LP and its 2013 follow-up. 

So if he’s really called Marshall Mathers, where does the Eminem part come in? The prevailing explanation is a pretty simple one, as it’s all down to his initials: M and M.  

Yup, say them out loud and you’ll begin to recognise the word – although the rapper didn’t go straight to the name he now goes by.  

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

According to music journalist Stephen Thomas Erlewine, his stage name originally began as M&M, only morphing it into Eminem later.  

In Eminem’s biography entry on AllMusic, Erlewine explains: “Born Marshall Mathers in the Kansas City, Missouri suburb of St. Joseph, Eminem spent his childhood between Missouri and Michigan, settling in Detroit in his teens.  

“At the age of 14, he began rapping with a high school friend, the two adopting the names ‘Manix’ and ‘M&M,’ which soon morphed into Eminem.  

“Under this name, Mathers entered battle rapping, a struggle dramatized in the fictionalized 8 Mile.” 

Of course, die-hard fans will have known about this ever since they popped down to HMV to pick up his early albums on CD.

But it's only in recent years that the penny seems to have dropped for others:

And it turns out there’s also story behind another of his pseudonyms – and that this time it originates not from his own name, but from the toilet. 

Eminem, who is also sometimes known as Slim Shady, appears to have found a lot of inspiration while sitting on the loo, having managed to drum up a second nickname - among other things - while in the little boys' room.

Back in 2008, he told BBC's Newsbeat: "I was sitting on the toilet and a lot of good material came out of that. This name popped into my head. I was kind of skinny and I thought maybe it should be something slim. 

"And then for some reason Slim Shady popped into my mind and I just thought of 20 things to rhyme with it. 

"I just thought, 'This is it'. I went back in the room and just kept writing."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Music, Eminem

Jess Hardiman
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