Marshall Bruce Mathers Jr. — the father of rapper Eminem — has died at the age of 67.
It’s unclear if hitmaker Eminem (real name: Marshall Bruce Mathers III) had any relationship with his father at his time of death. He had famously painted him in a negative light in his songs. For instance, in 2009’s “Beautiful,” he rapped about how he “never sat on the porch and hoped and prayed / For a dad to show up who never did.”
Others lyrics were much worse. In “Cleanin’ Out My Closet, Eminem, 46, sang, “I was a baby, maybe I was just a couple of months / My f***** father must have had his panties up in a bunch / ‘Cause he split, I wonder if he even kissed me goodbye / No I don’t. On second thought I just f****** wished he would die.” And in “My Name Is” he said, “When you see my dad? / Yeah? / Tell him that I slit his throat, in this dream I had.”
In a 1999 interview with Rolling Stone, Eminem said he had never met his father as he grew up poor in Detroit. His mother, Debbie, who is also not one of his favorite people, said she was 15 when she married Mathers Jr., who was 22 at the time. Eminem was born two years later, but their relationship had soured and they split. Mathers Jr. moved to California and when young Eminem sent him letters they came back stamped “return to sender.
“I heard he’s trying to get in touch with me now,” the rapper said at the time.
Talking with the Detroit Free Press around that time, Eminem said, “My father? I never knew him. I’ve never even seen a picture of him. I don’t even know what he looks like. … He lives out here in California. He’s tried to get in contact with me, now that I’m on TV. Now that I’m doing all these things here and there — now he’s trying to get in touch with me.
It’s true, amid the performer’s rise to stardom, his father, who went by Bruce, reached out — in the press.
“I desperately want to meet my son and tell him that I love him,” Eminem’s father told the U.K.’s Mirror in 1999. “I’m not interested in his money. I just want to talk to him. I want him to know that I’m here for him if he lets me back into his life.”
Mathers Jr., who was paid for the interviews, said in another one with a different tabloid blamed his ex-wife, Debbie, for making Eminem hate him.
In 2001, Mathers Jr. sent an open letter to his son in 2001 begging for contact. He also posed holding a magazine featuring his superstar offspring.
Eminem went on to have his own daughter, Hailie Jade Mathers, and by all accounts doted on her. He also raised two non-biological daughters — one belonging to his ex-wife Kim and one from Kim’s sister.