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Eminem Still Balancing Art and Parenting at 40
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Remember when 40-years-old used to be considered over-the-hill? But today, rapper Eminem, who turns 40 Wednesday, has 61 million "likes" on Facebook. He was the most popular person on the social networking site until recently, when Rihanna took the lead spot. Not bad.
Hip-hop may be a young guy's sport, but the "Lose Yourself" rapper is still in demand. It's been two years since he released his last album, Recovery, and his fans eagerly anticipate the release of his still-untitled eighth album, due out in 2013.
Em, born Marshall Mathers, has confirmed to multiple radio personalities that he has begun working on his next set. In a June interview with DJ Whoo Kid, he said that his mentor Dr. Dre would be involved with the project.
"I usually get going and kind of start going a certain direction and just record what I'm feeling," Em explained. "Then I'll go see Dre and fill in some of those pieces." Producer No I.D. confirmed in an interview with MTV in September, that he has also been in talks to work on Em's forthcoming effort.
Eminem's social relevance transcends appealing solely to the hip-hop audience. In 2011, car manufacturer Chrysler tapped the Detroit rapper for a successful advertising campaign. In the commercial, Em was simply shown driving past his hometown's landmarks.
Chrysler recently announced its plans to release a special Eminem brand of the Chrysler 200 sedan. The 8 Mile edition, commemorating the 10th anniversary of Em's theatrical debut, is planned for a 2014 release.
Otherwise, musically, Em is spending his time supporting his friends. Recent posts on his Twitter page promote new albums from Dr. Dre protégé Kendrick Lamar, Em's signees' Slaughterhouse, and his friend Atlanta emcee B.o.B.
Music aside, Em's real fans know that fatherhood is his biggest priority. As Eminem approached his 30th birthday, more than 10 years ago, he said he was doing the best he could to raise his daughter. "I truly believe I'm doing the right thing and I do a good job," he told MTV. "I'm a father before anything. I'm a father before I pick up the mic. I'm a father before I'm Eminem. Of course I'm not the perfect parent. There may be things I'm doing wrong and I'll find out in 10, 15 years, but right now I'm doing the best job I can and that's all I can do."
Twice divorced from Kimberly Scott, Eminem has one biological child, Hailie Jade, who will turn 17 on Christmas. But he has also taken in three additional children - Alaina Marie, a niece on his ex-wife's side of the family; Whitney Laine, his ex-wife's child from another relationship; and younger half-brother Nathan.
Eminem has discussed the kids in numerous songs. Hailie, in particular, has been referenced in nearly a dozen tracks, including the eponymous "Hailie's Song" and "My Dad's Gone Crazy." At the age of 6, she actually co-wrote and performed the chorus for the latter.
Em credits his kids with helping him overcome his bout with drugs and even a suicide attempt. On "You're Never Over," a letter to his late best friend Proof, Em thanks the D12 member for discouraging him from taking his own life. Em raps, "You gave me a reason to fight, I was on my way to see you. You told me, 'Nah, Doodi you're not layin' on that table.' I knew I was gonna make it. Soon as you said, 'Think of Hailie.' I knew there wasn't no way that I was gonna ever leave them babies."
Arguably, the most surprising revelation about Eminem's parenting style was revealed during a 2010 interview on 60 Minutes. Despite his excessive use of explicit language in his music, he said his home is a curse-free zone. "I'm a parent. I have daughters," he told Anderson Cooper. "How would I really sound as a person walking around my house, 'B-tch pick this up'? Profanity around my house? No. I'm not saying that there's not glimpses of me in the music. I'm not saying there's not truth in what I say, but this is music. This is my art. This is what I do."