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Eminem and Kim Mathers divorced in 2000 but continued to maintain a tumultuous off-and-on relationship until remarrying in 2006.
Nevertheless, they divorced again several months later and began a protracted, ugly and highly public custody dispute over their daughter Hailie.
He identified with the nihilistic rage of late-1980s and early-1990s rap music, and he was especially taken with N. A., the popular and highly controversial gangster rap crew from Los Angeles.
Although at the time rap music was almost exclusively produced by black people, Eminem, who has pale white skin and bright blue eyes, nevertheless entered into the Detroit rap scene as a frequent competitor in rap "battles"—competitions in which two rappers take turns insulting the other through improvised rap lyrics.
I just felt like I wanna be able to have all of these words at my disposal, in my vocabulary at all times whenever I need to pull 'em out.
You know, somewhere, they'll be stored, like, locked away." As a teenage dropout, Eminem found a way to express his passion for language, as well as to release his youthful anger, through the emerging musical genre of hip-hop.
His songs vary from manically funny ("The Real Slim Shady") to heartbreakingly poignant ("Stan") to explosively violent ("Kim") to disarmingly self-critical ("The Way I Am").
also came under a firestorm of criticism for its excessive profanity, glorification of drugs and violence and its apparent homophobia and misogyny.
"I would change schools two, three times a year," Eminem later recalled.
Eminem proved highly skilled at such verbal sparring and, despite his race, quickly became one of the most respected figures in Detroit's underground rap scene.
He recalled, "I finally found something that yeah, this kid over here, you know, he may have more chicks, and he may, you know, have better clothes, or whatever, but he can't do this like me. He can't write what I'm writing right now.
Eminem released his second studio album, , in May 2000.
The album showed off Eminem's poetic talents as well as his emotional and artistic range.