The Cute Little Guy On The Left Is Marshall Bruce111, And That's His Mom Debbie.....

The Cute Little Guy On The Left Is Marshall Bruce111, And That's His Mom Debbie. Marshall Grew Up To Be The Mean-Looking Guy Who Goes By The Name Of Eminem-The Biggest, Wickedest, Whitest Brother In Hip Hop, A Million- Selling Rapper Who Any Mother Could Be Proud Of. But not Debbie. She says he's been a bad, bad boy, telling the world that she neglected and abused him. And, as every homeboy knows. You don't dis your family. Which is why Debbie's suing little Marshall for $10 million. ..TEXT: Eminem is a bad, bad boy. And that in hip hop circles is about as good as it gets. He's one of the hottest acts in America right now. His first album sold two million copies, his poster adorns the bedroom walls of teenagers across the nation, magazines queue up to interview him. Not bad for a white-trash kid from the wrong side of the tracks - you'd think his mother would be burning with pride.

But not Debbie Mathers-Briggs. She thinks her superstar son is a bad, bad boy too. Not for his musical prowess or his financial acumen, but because he has accused her of some truly nasty things in recent television and magazine interviews - such as beating him and stealing his money while she busily popped pills. And now she wants to get even.

It is Eminem's family saga that has taken him from the style pages of the American media to the news section in the last few weeks. Debbie is suing the 26-year-old she knows as Marshall Bruce Mathers III for $10m, claiming she was libelled in interviews he gave to Rolling Stone magazine and a number of other publications. "Get a fucking job and help me out with these bills or your ass is out," he says she told him. "Then she would fucking kick me out anyway, half the time right after she took most of my pay check."

It is his music, not his mother, that has made him famous. His first album, Slim Shady, was a huge hit; the next is hotly awaited. His tracks are full of the dark life of white trash: a man who kills the mother of his daughter and dumps the body at the beach, tales of rape, of being beaten up in the school toilets, and of death. He is hugely controversial in that part of American society which is convinced that music, not bullets, is what kills teenagers when they are gunned down at school.

Eminem's version of his life story (as told to Rolling Stone and Howard Stern) is, in many respects, a stereotypical tale of white poverty. His father left when he was a baby, and other men circulated through the house: "My mother would move them in, and then she would kick them out and keep their stuff," he recalls.

His descriptions of life with his mother are harsh and unforgiving, and they are, of course, the subject of a lawsuit. But he clearly accuses her of abusing him and his brother; he recalls being forced to testify against her in court after she beat up his half-brother. "My mother never worked, so her income was lawsuits," he said. "My mother was in K-Mart and my brother hit her with a toy, and she said a rack fell on her and she sued K-Mart."

Debbie took the boys and settled in the tough east side of Detroit. Eminem says that he withdrew into comics and TV, and had few friends. "I didn't really start opening up until eighth grade, going into ninth." He dropped out of school, to concentrate on rapping. Then last year, the hip hop magazine The Source picked him up in its "Unsigned Hype" column. His ascent was meteoric. Slim Shady, released earlier this year, sold more than two million copies, and Eminem is now gathering awards like swear words. His music is highly controversial, of course, and includes frequent references to his hatred of women in general, and of his mother in particular.

For her part, Debbie has clearly decided that the time has come to do something about her foul-mouthed son. Her lawsuit states that "she has suffered various forms of emotional distress, including diminished self- esteem, humiliation, sleepless nights, harm to her credit rating, and even loss of her mobile home".

Eminem's lawyer, meanwhile, says that he will defend the lawsuit on the basis that everything the rap star said about his mother was true. "The lawsuit does not come as a surprise to Eminem - his mother has been threatening to sue him since the success of his single," he said. "It is merely the result of a lifelong strained relationship... Regardless, it is still painful to be sued by your mother and therefore the lawsuit will only be responded to through legal channels."

And, he added, "Eminem's life is reflected in his music. Everything he said can be verified as true - the truth is an absolute defence to a claim of defamation." In many ways, that is the key both to this lawsuit and to the way it has been perceived in the tightly knit world of hip hop: that Eminem is telling the truth when he raps, and that - like the black rappers who have created the hip hop nation, he has seen the darker side of life and is now talking about it. "It's like the real, stereotypical, trailer-park, white trash," he told Rap Pages.

Coming from the wrong side of the tracks - and from Detroit, the city of musical mixing par excellence - gives him an authority that other white rappers have lacked. Having a mother whose trailer has been repossessed helps; it underlines that this is a voice of anger from the white community every bit as real as the black voices of New York and Los Angeles.

Rap in America is a massive business. Last year, for the first time, it sold more records than did country music. And it has grown at an exponential pace, much faster than any other musical form; the most eagerly awaited record releases of the year are all in the genre. While rock in America is largely stagnant and regularly pronounced dead, hip hop is on the way up, with no end in sight. But the hip hop world is no longer the exclusive possession of the young, deprived black male.

The music has long had a thriving white middle-class audience, who bought in to the sense of anger and rebellion, for the statement it made about race, but above all for the music. There is even an odd neologism to describe the young white men (and they are mainly men) who wanted to embrace the hip hop nation: wiggaz.

The music began out of New York City street parties in the Seventies, and the music media sought to kill it off as a mere passing phase virtually every year after that. But it would not die; indeed, it kept on growing. MTV leapt on to the bandwagon in 1986 with "Yo! MTV Raps," where "raps" was a synonym for "makes money". By the time Niggaz With Attitude released the gangsta album Straight Outta Compton in 1988, the mass market was there, and the record captured a moment, but also a market. The single "Fuck Tha Police" outraged and infuriated people across America, but in musical terms they had caught something; not just the mood of anger with the police in Los Angeles, or black rage, but a beat that would not, could not stop.

In the early Nineties, Vanilla Ice nearly killed off the idea of the white rapper, becoming perhaps the most execrated man in American popular music. He was seen as the Lena Zavaroni of rap: a record company ploy to annex a vast chunk of black culture. But things have shifted in the last few years, and white faces are creeping back into rap, Wiggaz With Attitude. Many of them are using both rap and rock, dragging together two musical forms that Run DMC and Aerosmith had already shown could co- exist. Now other rappers such as Kid Rock, and groups such as Korn and Limp Bizkit, are cashing in.

Of course, we shouldn't be surprised: it's an old phenomenon in American music. As the record producer Sam Phillips put it, shortly before he discovered Elvis Presley, "If I could find a white man who had the Negro soul and Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars."

Which is not to say that Eminem is the new Elvis, but he is in a long chain of those who have sought their music on the other side of the tracks, and have often been more successful commercially than the people from whom they took their inspiration. And some black hip hop advocates fear that Eminem and the rest, however talented they may be, will siphon the audience away from black music, diluting the idea of the music, snatching the microphone from an authentically black voice.

If that is so, then there is a further irony in Eminem's story. Whereas before it was white businessmen signing up the black talent and squeezing every penny they could out of them, now Eminem's boss, inspiration and muse is Dr Dre, the man behind Niggaz With Attitude, who runs Aftermath, Eminem's label. He is straight outta Compton and straight in to a $5m English country-house-style residence in the San Fernando Valley, thank you very much.

Dr Dre gave his old house to his mother, by the way; which may be another useful piece of advice to hand on to his young white protege.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat

Arts and Entertainment
A sketch of Van Gogh has been discovered in the archives of Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
Arts and Entertainment
Fake Banksy stencil given to artist Alex Jakob-Whitworth

art

Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links