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Ten Things You Never Knew About Eminem

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Ten Things You Never Knew About Eminem
The most notorious and popular hip-hop star of the decade, Eminem returns with his first studio album in five years this week. Em's Relapse LP promises to reveal all about his battles with drugs and alcohol, while no doubt taking some swipes at no-good D-rate celebs at the same time. Keep reading to find out ten fascinating facts about the infamous Detroit rapper that you probably didn't know.

1. Eminem, real name Marshall Bruce Mathers III, was born on October 17, 1972 in Kansas City. His mother Deborah Mathers-Briggs was 15 years old and his father Marshall Bruce Mathers Jr ditched the family six months later.

2. Eminem established himself as a credible hip-hop artist at the 1997 Rap Olympics. The young rapper finished second behind a chap called Otherwize, but he attracted the attention of producer Jimmy Iovine, who would help launch his career.

3. Em's only major movie role to date came with his semi-autobiographical Eight Mile. However, the rapper nearly landed another blockbuster part in Doug Liman's action adventure Jumper. Liman eventually plumped for Hayden Christensen instead, because of fears over Em's acting credentials.

4. How does the Detroit rapper excuse some of his more foul-mouthed, violent and crude lyrics? "Saving Private Ryan was probably the illest, sickest movie I've ever watched," he argues. "And I didn't see anybody criticising that one for violence!"

5. The only act Eminem says that he would never insult in one of his songs are his musical heroes the Beastie Boys. The hip-hop legends' Licensed To Ill LP inspired a young Mathers to take up rapping. "I would never f**king put them in a rhyme," he says. "I don't even want them wondering if I was trying to diss them. I got a lot of love for them. I grew up on that sh*t."

6. What has Eminem got in common with Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, Angelina Jolie and Kurt Cobain? No, they haven't all collaborated with Elton John. The real link is that they are all left-handed like the bad-boy rapper.

7. Critics have often praised Em for his smart lyrics, but the rapper didn't fare so well at school. He failed 9th Grade three times and then finally dropped out altogether. He insists that he was just bored, rather than stupid. We believe you, Marshall.

8. Eminem is one of the few musicians to ever have the CIA and United States Secret Service investigate him as a threat to national security. His George Bush-baiting hit 'Mosh' put him high on their hitlist in 2004.

9. Canadian actor Devon Sawa starred alongside Dido in the video for Eminem's monster-hit 'Stan'. However, Sawa was not the rapper's first pick. Dre and Em initially wanted Home Alone's Macaulay Culkin to play the obsessive fan. Sadly, Culkin withdrew from the project due to prior West End commitments.

10. What would Eminem's dream spring break holiday consist of? "A bunch of girls, swinging from a nice chandelier, landing on top of me naked," he says. "While I lay in a pool of steaming hot water!"

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